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Dagored154 07-15-2012 03:07 AM

soapstone use
I have a good supply of 3" thick soapstone bricks in good condition. what would be a good use for them? Under the FB Board? on top of the FB Board? Use in the facade only? any ideas would be helpful.....:confused:

UtahBeehiver 07-15-2012 06:34 AM

Re: soapstone use
Check out GianniFocacia's build, he used it for his floor surface. I wanted to use for my build but too cost prohibited. Good luck and lucky you,

Dagored154 07-15-2012 08:55 AM

Re: soapstone use
thanks. that is one beautiful job. I think I will go ahead and put the soapstone bricks on the FB board. I have splits to put on the soapstone as a cooking surface per a friend's instruction.

SCChris 07-15-2012 09:39 AM

Re: soapstone use
Also take a look at
Windage has a spectacular oven and is using it daily. It's my understanding that some of the oldest ovens in NYC were using Soapstone floors, I can't confirm that this is or was so. Send a message off to windage, or my bet is that you'd be able to find a phone number with a bit of detective work, and ask him about it. The more homogenious and darker the stone the better. The reason is that soapstone is really Talc, and Serpentine not a single mineral and the different minerals have slightly different expansion under heat.


scott123 07-15-2012 09:44 AM

Re: soapstone use
Dagored154, here are my thoughts on soapstone:

While the bricks probably would stand up pretty well under firebrick, why hide them? Soapstone may be inferior to firebrick when it comes to high temp use, but it's very appealing visually. Firebricks will cheaply and easily add thermal mass to the hearth- if that's your goal. Save the far more expensive soapstone for cosmetic applications.

scott123 07-15-2012 10:06 AM

Re: soapstone use

Originally Posted by SCChris (Post 134995)
The more homogenious and darker the stone the better.

For stones that actually are pure soapstone, it's the lighter colored talc that provides the baking properties/conductivity. It's because of this conductivity, that, when the flame hits it, the heat spreads, rather than heating only one area, so you don't get a hotter, expanding area next to a cooler one.

And that's if you're lucky enough to get pure soapstone. Marble is frequently misidentified as soapstone. If you're building a counter, that's not a huge deal, but, in an oven, marble can be dangerous. You can also have lighter veins in soapstone that aren't talc, but quartz or some other light colored rock. This is really bad as well.

That's the problem with natural rock- it can contain just about anything. Soapstone, slate and even granite have a long history of oven use, but then, so does asbestos. Our forefathers didn't have firebricks at their disposal, so they made do with less than ideal materials. We don't have to settle for these less than ideal materials, especially when they're considerably more expensive.

Chris, you got lucky with your soapstone baking stone. I got lucky with mine. Windage got lucky with their oven. GianniFocacia got lucky with his. For every four people that works with high temp suitable soapstone, there's at least one that ends up with issues. Soapstone has 'odds,' ranging from cracking to, if misidentified or containing high quantities of other elements, a remote possibility of danger. Firebrick has no odds. You're not gambling when you purchase firebrick. Every time you take a stone out of the ground and expose it to heat, you're throwing the dice.

Dagored154 07-15-2012 11:31 AM

Re: soapstone use
I like your thoughts. I was thinking of setting the dome on top of the soapstone bricks instead of cutting all those bricks and then cut the firebrick splits and lay them inside as a cooking surface.
The second amendment protects the first admendment. there is a good reason they are 1 and 2. based on what I see here I am going to put my 3.5" soapstone bricks on top of FB Board and put splits on top of the soapstone in order to have a layer that I can cut to fit inside the dome and will be easy to replace. However, more second guessing, i doubt I will ever hurt the soapstone.

GianniFocaccia 07-15-2012 04:11 PM

Re: soapstone use
I would go the opposite. Firebrick subfloor (that you can build the dome on top of) topped by the attractive soapstone. With 3.5"-thick SS bricks, you don't really need the firebrick at all.

Dagored154 07-15-2012 06:56 PM

Re: soapstone use
Wow. so many great thoughts. I do like the thick soapstone bricks. they are really smooth and well made, fitting together very nicely. so if i build the oven on top of the firebrick layer I must assume that the SStone should be cut to fit inside. this would make the heat transfer through the SStone to the brick oven wall and slow down or stop right there. thanks so much for the great feedback, I want to use the soapstone since I got them for a really great deal and they are very nice.

GianniFocaccia 07-15-2012 11:11 PM

Re: soapstone use

so if i build the oven on top of the firebrick layer I must assume that the SStone should be cut to fit inside
Yes. Regardless of the pattern you choose, ensure a good quarter-inch gap between the circumference of your floor bricks and the dome to allow for floor expansion.

You are on the brink of building what promises to be the neatest floor ever. What size are the SS bricks?

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