#41  
Old 03-16-2012, 07:17 PM
Laborer
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Northern NJ
Posts: 85
Default Re: Soapstone vs Firebrick ??

Chris, I, too, have a soapstone slab in my oven that I've been using for four years that has served me well, but the environment of a home oven is not the same as the direct flame environment of a WFO. While I think there are better materials for a home oven stone than soapstone, my comment above only relates to WFOs.

With the additional thermal stress from a direct flame, the cracks you might see in home oven will be fractures in a WFO.

Regarding using a cracked or a fractured stone, I think that is an especially bad idea. Veins are rarely perfectly straight faults, and when a stone cracks/fractures, there's no guarantee that the remaining edges of the stone will still be unharmed or that all damage will be visible. Any kind of crack/fracture introduces a high potential for shards/chips. If a chip of stone ever made it's way into an undercrust and you/your guest bit into it, it would wreak havoc on teeth.

I think the odds are highly in your favor that a shard won't make into your bread/pizza, but do you really want to take that chance?

Natural materials have too many potential variables to be viable in ovens. I'm well aware that some of these stones have a long history in this regard, but, thankfully, we no longer live in the dark ages and have modern materials whose consistency can be thoroughly engineered.

If you want to roll the dice, go for it, but I value my money, the quality of my pizza, my safety, my teeth and my piece of mind.
Reply With Quote
  #42  
Old 03-17-2012, 07:01 AM
Il Pizzaiolo
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: So. Orange County, CA. USA
Posts: 1,155
Default Re: Soapstone vs Firebrick ??

Anyone interested in a soapstone oven floor might want to connect with windage in the commercial area and ask about his experience with his WFO oven floor.

Chris
Reply With Quote
  #43  
Old 03-17-2012, 07:05 AM
Apprentice
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Ohio
Posts: 152
Default Re: Soapstone vs Firebrick ??

The cost is making me think twice.
Is there a supplier for larger slabs of Firebrick? My main reason for wanting Soapstone is the seamless floor.
Reply With Quote
  #44  
Old 03-17-2012, 07:19 AM
Il Pizzaiolo
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: So. Orange County, CA. USA
Posts: 1,155
Default Re: Soapstone vs Firebrick ??

The single seamless floor seems to be the major motivation for looking at Soapstone. I have a brick floor and don't find the seams a problem. I used 2" of CalSil rigid insulation board and used Whitaker firebricks directly on top of this so the floor is dead flat. Of the three varities of bricks available Whitaker seemed to be the most consistent at my brickyard. I replaced my brick entry with granite and like that this area resists staining and cleans up easly. This change allowed me to incorporate a heat break in the floor between the oven and entry.

Chris
Reply With Quote
  #45  
Old 03-17-2012, 11:29 AM
GianniFocaccia's Avatar
Il Pizzaiolo
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Disneyland, CA
Posts: 1,312
Default Re: Soapstone vs Firebrick ??

Buckeye,

Harbison-Walker (anhrefractories.com) sells 1'x2' firebrick tiles. They have distribution centers (might be open to the public like their Los Angeles facility) in Cleveland and Cincinnati.

Chris, I know you experienced an improved heat loss when you switched your entryway soapstone for granite. How is your thermal break configured and did you have this in place with the soapstone? The reason I ask is I have sourced a piece of 10-gauge stainless steel for the entryway floor but am afraid it will leak too much heat without a proper break. Still trying to figure this one out.
John
Reply With Quote
  #46  
Old 03-17-2012, 01:19 PM
Il Pizzaiolo
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: So. Orange County, CA. USA
Posts: 1,155
Default Re: Soapstone vs Firebrick ??

John,
Re. the thermal break;

I did try the break with the soapstone and could have kept the SS in the entry area. The break made a substantial difference with the entry stone temps and the overall duration of heat retention. The only reason I swapped to granite was the warmer color of the granite was more in step with the overall area not for any functional reason. I was more comfortable with the soapstone at 3cm and that SS is not porous granite is more porous and needs to be sealed in a kitchen setting. I understand that oil and wine can stain and be noticeable in certain types.

Chris

PS I know I included a graphic somewhere but don't find it at the moment. What I did was to rip a piece of rigid insulation in a "L". The high end of the L sits against the firebrick floor of the oven, the bottom of the L is a platform for the entry area granite floor. The L provides a 1/2 inch break between the oven and entry stone. The material is slightly resessed to avoid any contact with any food, pans or implements. Wlively uses a inverted V to minimize the gap at the door and I don't remember that he uses anything but ash as the filler material.

Last edited by SCChris; 03-17-2012 at 01:48 PM.
Reply With Quote
  #47  
Old 03-17-2012, 03:44 PM
Laborer
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Northern NJ
Posts: 85
Default Re: Soapstone vs Firebrick ??

Quote:
Originally Posted by SCChris View Post
Anyone interested in a soapstone oven floor might want to connect with windage in the commercial area and ask about his experience with his WFO oven floor.

Chris
I know people successfully using slate in ovens. Jamie Oliver has been known to recommend slate as a baking stone. Slate has a long history in oven use. This doesn't mean that slate is a viable choice for baking. It has a ridiculously low resistance to thermal shock.

Soapstone will always be a gamble. Windage might install a piece that lasts them a few hundred years, while someone in this forum might install a piece that lasts them a week. Mother nature has no quality control.
Reply With Quote
  #48  
Old 06-12-2012, 04:57 PM
Serf
 
Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: Escondido CA
Posts: 1
Default Re: Soapstone vs Firebrick ??

Hi there,

I'm a newbie to the site and pizza ovens,but I have been specializing in Soapstone since 2003 and have been a stone sculptor/tilesetter/stone fabricator since 1987.
I'm not sure if I can name my business, but I would be willing to donate some remnant soapstone pieces( mostly smaller pieces that could be made into bricks but I have a couple larger pieces that would make up a floor) to those sincere in educating themselves with it as long as they share their findings with the group here and dont use the pieces for profit,as I'm interested in building ovens using soapstone in the best capacity, hearth floors,walls or domes etc.

Those of you interested pm me.

Ciao!
Greg
Reply With Quote
  #49  
Old 06-13-2012, 05:14 PM
Apprentice
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Ohio
Posts: 152
Default Re: Soapstone vs Firebrick ??

Too far away for me, but a very kind gesture nonetheless. Thanks.
Reply With Quote
  #50  
Old 10-02-2012, 05:10 PM
Peasant
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Louisville, KY
Posts: 46
Default Re: Soapstone vs Firebrick ??

Interesting discussion! As it turns out, I just finished a barrel vault oven with a 18"x24" soapstone slab in the center of the cooking floor surrounded by firebrick, with an overall cooking surface of 24"x36". This is my 4th-5th cooking experience, and here's how it works; the soapstone slab has an enormous temperature gradient, measuring 868F at the edge of the fire, to 770F about 4 inches away from the fire, all the way down to 540F at the flue. Meanwhile, the firebricks on the edge of the soapstone range from 660F at the fire's edge, to 660 F 4 inches from the fire, to 560F at the flue. This means that I burn the bottom of my pizzas if I put them anywhere near the fire, so I have to cook them under the flue (650F seems to be the ideal floor temp). I have also used a wire grid under the pizza closer to the fire, and this prevents burning and lets the top cook faster, at a higher temp. Also, my soapstone cracked when I left the new fire on its surface, so now I start the fire and immediately move it to the back of the oven to avoid this problem. Since i live in Vermont where soapstone is cheap ($10/sf) I thought I'd try it, but I agree with those of you who point out that firebricks maintain an even temperature and are easier to maintain. I've considered removing the soapstone, but now that I know how to work with it, I'll keep cooking for awhile and see if there are any major benefits. Overall though, I'd advise staying with firebricks!
Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Soapstone Hearth GianniFocaccia Finding Building Materials 12 05-28-2011 11:44 AM
Soapstone floor - Advice Beron Finding Building Materials 15 05-25-2011 11:47 AM
Vent/flue/chimney of pure firebrick kebwi Tools, Tips and Techniques 7 06-08-2010 11:17 AM
Using Soapstone and possible applications fshead325 Pompeii Oven Construction 2 09-26-2009 02:57 AM
Firebrick rating? rtnaw Getting Started 10 08-09-2007 11:10 AM


All times are GMT -7. The time now is 09:27 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Search Engine Friendly URLs by vBSEO 3.6.0
© 2006/10 Forno Bravo, LLC