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Old 05-14-2014, 10:23 AM
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Location: New Hope, MN
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Default limestone vs. brick construction

I am planning to build a dry-stack pizza oven in my back yard as a first inexpensive step toward something a little more permanent. This link shows the general level of complexity / design of my oven:

http://www.westernexplorers.us/A_sim..._bake_oven.pdf

I am just starting to research my project, and have a fundamental question. I have access to a pretty decent quantity of modular limestone (similar size as brick) that was originally used as cladding on a home. The actual floor of the oven will be firebrick, but assuming I can get the joints tight, would limestone be an appropriate material for the walls and roof?

I don't see a lot of dry-stack ovens on this blog, so if there is another more appropriate site, feel free to point me in the right direction.

As for actually using the oven, I find some resources that say to remove the embers and all coals/soot before baking, while others leave them in. When is one appropriate vs. the other?


Thanks in advance for your help!

Mike
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Old 05-14-2014, 02:11 PM
Laborer
 
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Location: Queensland Australia
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Default Re: limestone vs. brick construction

Looking forward to the responses as I thought you burnt limestone and wood in a kiln to make lime but don't know the temps involved
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Old 05-14-2014, 04:38 PM
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Default Re: limestone vs. brick construction

Quote:
Originally Posted by Toomulla View Post
Looking forward to the responses as I thought you burnt limestone and wood in a kiln to make lime but don't know the temps involved
You need a minimum of 900 Centigrade to decompose the carbonate. Unlikely (but not impossible) to achieve this in a wood oven. In a dry stacked oven where expense is a concern, I'd certainly be trying it. If it doesn't work nothing much is lost.
I reckon you'd need real bricks for the floor. The coals sit on that, and wherever there is a localised hot-spot you may damage that area if it's just limestone. Marble floors fail, apparently, and marble is recrystallised carbonates.
So floor no, dome maybe, if it's a dry stacked oven where little is lost if it fails. I'm all in favour of experiments that further the knowledge, as long as the loss on failure is low for the experimenter.

Quote:
Originally Posted by newhopeclan View Post
As for actually using the oven, I find some resources that say to remove the embers and all coals/soot before baking, while others leave them in. When is one appropriate vs. the other?


Thanks in advance for your help!

Mike
One tends to leave the fire in (swept to one side) to maintain high temps when cooking pizzas, and clear it out when baking bread. For roasts, a small fire might help, or might not be necessary, depending on how much thermal mass you have and how much you loaded it with heat.
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Old 05-14-2014, 04:42 PM
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Default Re: limestone vs. brick construction

A postscript - I just read the linked PDF. I would say that oven will probably not acheive temperatures high enough to decompose limestone. I'd certainly give that a try - especially if those limestone blocks are free

Last edited by wotavidone; 05-14-2014 at 04:51 PM.
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Old 05-14-2014, 04:47 PM
Master Builder
 
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Default Re: limestone vs. brick construction

PPS, that oven is a little too simple. You should at least overlap the bricks in the corners so the side walls are tied to the back wall.
Wouldn't be good if the whole lot fell over while you had the fire going.
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Old 05-14-2014, 07:18 PM
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Default Re: limestone vs. brick construction

Trust me, limestone will not last long in a fireplace/firepit, much less an oven.
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Old 05-14-2014, 07:42 PM
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Default Re: limestone vs. brick construction

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Originally Posted by Tscarborough View Post
Trust me, limestone will not last long in a fireplace/firepit, much less an oven.
Sounds like it ain't such a good idea. Maybe just settle for any fired clay bricks you can get hold of.
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Old 05-15-2014, 02:44 PM
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Smile Re: limestone vs. brick construction

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tscarborough View Post
Trust me, limestone will not last long in a fireplace/firepit, much less an oven.
You could use the lime to mix grog for the replacement brick oven
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Old 05-15-2014, 03:23 PM
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Default Re: limestone vs. brick construction

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tscarborough View Post
Trust me, limestone will not last long in a fireplace/firepit, much less an oven.
It's all very confusing.

On the one hand, we put lime in the mortar, expecting the lime (calcium hydroxide) will carbonate and turn back into limestone (calcium carbonate), thus providing the strength after the Portland Cement breaks down.

On the other hand, we say don't use limestone (calcium carbonate) for the oven as the heat will break it down.

It's all too hard, think I'll go light the oven and cook something to take my mind off this conundrum.
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Old 05-15-2014, 07:13 PM
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Default Re: limestone vs. brick construction

Limestone is not lime.
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