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PerryPizza 05-10-2009 07:58 AM

Perry's Pizza Oven
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Not one to rush in too quickly I finally made a start on my oven this week.

It is being built and completely enclosed inside a natural stone construction to make use of a space which is totally wasted at the moment - space is limited and this corner of the courtyard could make a nice place to sit with friends during the summer evenings, and it has been crying out to house an oven since I bought the property in 2006. Major restoration of the house has taken place and I now feel I can devote some time to leisurely constructing the oven which will hopefully be cooking pizzas sometime this summer.

The budget is very tight and I'm going to be using as much natural/ reclaimed material as possible, whilst trying to keep the oven (and its construction) efficient and functional, hopefully (that word keeps cropping up!) resulting in an oven which is in keeping with the rustic charm of the region.

I foresee difficulties in constructing the oven in this location which will be difficult to get at, and will also pose problems relating to moisture within the structure (due to the nature of these old buildings they tend to retain a lot of water). I'm confident these problems can be overcome, and the end result will make the extra effort worthwhile, so here we go.....

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wlively 05-10-2009 11:39 AM

Re: Perry's Pizza Oven
Very cool old structure. Welcome aboard!

dmun 05-10-2009 01:45 PM

Re: Perry's Pizza Oven
I'm all in favor or rustic/reclaimed materials, as well as saving money, but money spent on proper refractory insulation for your oven is money well spent.

Since your site is immediately next to a building, you may need a taller chimney to get the smoke up over the roofline.

Looking good, keep us posted

PerryPizza 09-05-2009 07:47 AM

Re: Perry's Pizza Oven
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Well, it's just about finished, a day I sometimes thought would never come!

Here's a step-by-step trip down memory lane....

Firstly I had to excavate the area where the oven was going to go

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then create the insulating hearth using 4" of vermiculite + a piece of insulating board I acquired

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and then using a dry fireclay/ sand mix I created a bed for the fire bricks

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PerryPizza 09-05-2009 07:52 AM

Re: Perry's Pizza Oven
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the first soldier course, comprising of fire bricks angled at one end

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and my improvised tool for setting the angle on each chain*

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PerryPizza 09-05-2009 08:00 AM

Re: Perry's Pizza Oven
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Here's the sketch I made to set the wooden 'angle finder' and the subsequent chains...

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I had some trouble with the opening and knowing it was going to be hidden decided to use angle iron supporting firebricks

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I remember it was starting to get tricky now as the dome was blocking my access, severely hampering my progress and stretching me into yoga positions I hadn't thought possible!

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Still, I was happy with the progress each day

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PerryPizza 09-05-2009 08:08 AM

Re: Perry's Pizza Oven
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The area around the opening was a bit of a bodge, having to use what must be the worst refractory mortar in existence (like damp mud with no sticking quality and the ability to slide off my trowel at every worst moment) I had to move swiftly

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I think I should have started using a form earlier as it was a great help

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PerryPizza 09-05-2009 08:17 AM

Re: Perry's Pizza Oven
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Finishing the dome was an enormous relief! My improvised tool had helped but the chains were beginning to become oval, which meant the tool needed to be adjusted for each brick. At least I was getting the 'rustic' look I had wanted...

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You can see the bodged bricks around the opening, but I'm not too worried as it all felt secure...

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I made a rustic arch from some reclaimed terracotta bricks... looks a bit odd at this point!

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PerryPizza 09-05-2009 08:25 AM

Re: Perry's Pizza Oven
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The dome was covered with a thick layer of rockwool - I made a heavy paste soaking the rockwool in water which makes it easier to 'glue' to the dome, and also makes it much nicer to use

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And then that was covered with as much vermiculite concrete I could manage. Space was very limited and I had to contort myself into unimaginable positions, trying not to damage the work in progress. It was also very hot, cold beers were essential throughout!

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PerryPizza 09-05-2009 08:37 AM

Re: Perry's Pizza Oven
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Then came the re-building of the stonework around the oven. I used a sheet of thick plastic to help guard against water penetrating the dome from the slabs above, not a perfect solution but there you go...

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Aah, the first tiny fire, a big moment for any builder I'm sure...

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Before getting back to the job in hand before the rain set in

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I used a terracotta lintel as a base for the vent which was made from firebricks

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and had to drill trough the large stone slab to form the rough beginnings of the chimney (viewed from above)

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