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Old 07-10-2014, 06:22 PM
Il Pizzaiolo
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: Australia
Posts: 1,092
Default Re: How bad did I screw up? Used the wrong mortar

Some of us don't have the time or patience that the johns, Russell's, kd etc had.
Or funds. I followed these builds and more and used the best took my time, but that is just who I am. We aren't all that meticulous but that is what makes up the world.
Cheers Colin

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Old 07-14-2014, 10:24 AM
Join Date: Jul 2014
Location: Des plaines, il
Posts: 2
Default Re: How bad did I screw up? Used the wrong mortar


Thank you all for offering to help. That's really comforting. Here are a few more details:

The hearth is 5" reinforced concrete. On top of that I set a sheet of Durock after seeing that the components in the Durock were similar to those in heat resistant mortar. I did buy refractory mortar(white stuff good to 2500 F) but I mixed it with Type S mortar, 50/50 ratio. This made the resulting mix to harden up really fast. I did manage to set the hearth bricks with it(I found out afterwards that I should've layed them with no mortar in the joints). I also layed the base of the dome with the mix. I then completed the dome with Type S. The side of the joints exposed to the fire is minimal as I canted the bricks so I m hoping there won't be an immediate problem.
I mixed some yellow dirt with the Type S mortar and plastered the dome on the outside. I did try to find fireclay here N of Chicago but none of the Home Depos had it. Not even the brick yard I went to. So I gave up on it and used yellow dirt...

So this is a short list of my screw ups. I enclosed the dome in a brick house and after about a week of letting it dry I fired it up with a small fie yesterday. Everything seemed well but its premature to determine how well it'll hold up. I noticed the hearth built up heat fast while underneath it was only slightly warm.
The dome got only slightly hot on the outside. I intend to cover it with 4" insulation good to 2000F.

Can you suggest a roof that will provide access to the dome in case of a problem? I wanted to pour a thinner slab as a roof but that may not work well for easy access.
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Old 07-22-2014, 03:11 PM
Join Date: Dec 2013
Location: Wisconsin
Posts: 135
Default Re: How bad did I screw up? Used the wrong mortar

And yes Stonecutter is a valuable asset to this forum. If you " one build wonders" have got everything figured out, good for you. If you want professional advice then you can also get that.
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Old 08-21-2014, 06:45 AM
stonecutter's Avatar
Il Pizzaiolo
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: NY
Posts: 1,978
Default Re: How bad did I screw up? Used the wrong mortar

I'm not interested in resurrecting the topic of using red commons in ovens, if that's what someone wants to do, that's their decision. I only wanted to show an example of what can happen if you use reds that are not compatible.

How bad did I screw up? Used the wrong mortar-image.jpg

This picture was posted by a friend in a professional forum. As you can see, the box was built using the same red commons as the surround. It is badly spalled and it was totally replaced with firebrick -click for close up. A firebox doesn't receive the same thermal exposure as an oven...and it wrecked the brick. I've seen this before ( never took pics ) in fireplaces and in a couple cases, some of the historic beehives I have restored. Interestingly, none of the beehives are 'reds' but resemble salmon brick, which are fired at a lower temp. They are closer to what was use in the ancient brick ovens in Europe. But those bricks with the same qualities are not readily available today, and 9 out of 10 times, 'Red' brick is designed for cavity wall veneer...vitrified to enhance resistance to water intrusion.

How do you know if the reds you choose are compatible with oven building? You don't, or can't by observation in most cases. It was said that an oven is an investment in time and resources. That is true. It is understood that reds may be the only option for some. It is also true that some reds may survive for years in an oven application. But it is not optimal ( and this is different than 'best practice' too) if you do not know what the reds are comprised of and how they are fired, then you should not use them if at all possible.

That is the point of my earlier comments...not if you should use them or if they will possibly work.

That is all......
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Last edited by stonecutter; 08-21-2014 at 12:05 PM. Reason: Spelling
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