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woodhead 11-18-2008 04:54 PM

Woodheads WFO 42"
I finally jumped in. I am building a 42" Pompeii in Jacksonville Beach Florida as part of an outdoor kitchen. I have poured my slab, built the block stand, poured my slab across the blockstand as well as poured the 4" vermiculite insulation layer. This is absolutely insane, its addicting. I have scoured the forum and all of you do great work. I am a neophyte to brick work but it has been fun so far. I layed the floor this past weekend and now I am building my first ring of 1/2 soldiers. I downloaded the plans and have searched the forums and "borrowed" ideas from all of you. For my refractory mortar I chose to make my own. The place i purchased my firebrick gave me a recipe of 3 parts portland, 2 parts fireclay, 1 part sand. This differs from the downloaded plans which calls for lime. Question, am i okay with what the brickyard gave me as a recipe? I have a million other questions but they will have to wait. But i do have one more, the cladding that everyone adds around the exterior of firebrick, is that the 6/1 vermiculite mixture or is that refractory mortar. I promise to start posting pics. Thanks....Woodhead

Les 11-18-2008 05:38 PM

Re: Woodheads WFO 42"
Wood + head - I'm not going there.

I would follow the recommend receipt - it does work. 3 parts Portland sounds WAY out of line to me. 5 sack concrete calls for 3 gravel, 2 sand, and 1 Portland. The lime gives it a "plastic" touch - makes it easier to work. In regard to the cladding, I highly recommend you use the blanket (at a minimum). It will make life easier. When you get to that point, you are just looking for insulation - not mass.

Welcome, and bring the questions on - we have all been there.


Jed 11-18-2008 06:20 PM

Re: Woodheads WFO 42"
Hi Woodhead,

Welcome to the group...

I used the "mix your own" high temp mortar with the receipt from the FB Plans, and know that it works; the bricks hold together, and it doesn't leak smoke...

I would be leery of the formula with so much Portland... sounds way to rich to me.. The way I understand it, it is the Portland that fails at high temperature. One of the benefits of the Pompeii design is the bricks in the oven will hold themselves together as a function of the oven shape, so the mortar is in place to keep the smoke in the oven as much as to hold the bricks together.

If you can talk yourself into affording the good refractory insulation, it is the best investment you can make in 'improved' function of your oven. The oven will heat up faster and hold the heat better.

Folks will only add the extra mortar on the outside of the fire brick if they want to increase the 'thermal mass' of the oven. The oven does not need a layer of mortar on the outside of the bricks for any other reason.

Good luck with your build. It is great fun, and learning to cook in the oven just keeps the 'fun meter pegged!"


Bandrasco 11-18-2008 06:24 PM

Re: Woodheads WFO 42"
Hey Woodhead,

Congratulations on starting your build. I agree; it's very addicting. I don't know what I'm going to do when I'm finished... Probably start another project.

I love Jax; lived there for many many years and still have a ton of business relationships there. Moved to Tampa 5 years ago. I lived out in Lake Asbury.

I'd listen to the folks in this forum as they have been through many, many builds and have seen so much. The knowledge here gives you a great advantage over others that built in the past. I scour this site daily for ideas, lessons, etc.

Good luck and don't forget to post some pics.


woodhead 11-19-2008 03:28 PM

Re: Woodheads WFO 42"
2 Attachment(s)

thanks for the advice and the words of encouragement. On the blanket insulation, Jacksonville happens to have a FireBrick "boiler material" store here in town and i will see if they have that material. On that question, what specifically is the material i am looking for? As far as the refractory mortar, specifically the lime, can i get that at Home Depot or Lowes. I always see lime in the plant fertilizer area, that wouldnt be the lime you are referring to is it?
Now i am going to try and post a couple of pictures. Just took them so it was dark out. I have not set the first ring in that i am still playing with my landing. Just a snap shot. Any advice would be appreciated if you see a rookie mistake!!

woodhead 11-24-2008 04:38 PM

Re: Woodheads WFO 42"
Hey guys,

Ok, i have figured out that the lime i am looking for to make my own mortar is not in the fertilizer section at home depot. I know from my plans that the mix consists of 1 part portland, 3 parts sand, 1 part fireclay, 1 part lime....where the heck do you get lime. I thought i read on a thread by James that you can substitute type n mortar???? Where have you guys found lime. I asked the lady at the brick yard and she said go to Home Depot...They aint got no lime!!! Help!!

woodhead 11-24-2008 04:51 PM

Re: Woodheads WFO 42"
2 Attachment(s)
Forgot the pic from working over the weekend. I framed and poured the area for under the landing and finished laying the firebrick for the floor. You guys would crack up watching me double cut every brick with my 7" wet tile saw. But it works!!! Just playing with the arch for right now and I am cutting every brick on the first level at about 15 degrees..bout half way done. More to come!!

exceloven 11-24-2008 05:14 PM

Re: Woodheads WFO 42"
Home Depot definitely has lime it is in the section with all the cement products (building materials). Ask at the pro desk.

Bandrasco 11-24-2008 05:45 PM

Re: Woodheads WFO 42"
I tried to find some as well but HD nor Lowes had any. They told me the same thing...Garden section. Thats Dolomite, lime, yes, but is it the right thing?

I went to a few brick yards but they didn't have any knew where to get some. This is harder to find than vermiculite:eek:

I still need to find some.

nissanneill 11-25-2008 02:36 AM

Re: Woodheads WFO 42"
Hi Woodhead,
now you're on track with the mortar mix. I built my 40"Pompeii with that very mix and no problems in the past 18 months or so and had some great fires and cooking. The lime I used was hydrated lime which is used by plasterers and should be available from sand and metal merchants (well at least it is here in Australia). Be careful with it as when you mix it with water and it gets onto tender parts of your body, it burns, so treat it with care!


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