#1  
Old 05-17-2009, 03:28 PM
Journeyman
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Detroit
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Default Newbie needs feedback

Hello all,

I've been wanting to build a brick oven for a while now and for one reason or another have put it off, but I finally think the time is here. I am the type of person who does lots of reading, lots of thinking, and lots of research before I build. I am also the type of person who like to do things a little bit different. So as a result of those two things, I have a basic idea of what I want to build, and am looking for some feedback on problems I may run into.

I'm thinking a small dome shaped oven, only about 24" inside diameter. I wanted to build a earth oven, but I'm a heat freak(I grill at about 1200 F) and they just don't seem to get hot enough for me, so I decided to go a bit different route. I want to follow the basic procedure for an earth oven, but only make the dense layer 1" thick. Once it dries I then want to empty the sand, apply a low temperature glaze, and then attempt to fire it into a ceramic using the basic ideas Nader Khalili created to make ceramic houses in the middle east.

I then want to put a layer of castable refractory cement on for thermal mass, and then a layer of perlite/cement mixture for an insulating layer. Obviously this would all be on a insulated base with a standard fire brick hearth.

Anybody see major issues in this crazy idea? If I could make it work I think having a ceramic interior would be great.
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  #2  
Old 05-17-2009, 05:39 PM
mfiore's Avatar
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Default Re: Newbie needs feedback

I have no experience with any of these products. But, as a former Detroiter, good luck with the project, and post a lot of photos.
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Old 05-17-2009, 09:27 PM
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Default Re: Newbie needs feedback

Quote:
low temperature glaze
Low temperature glazes were lead based in my day. Why would you want a glazed oven?
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Old 05-18-2009, 01:11 AM
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Default Re: Newbie needs feedback

The glaze would go on the inside? I dunno, if you could make it work I think that sounds kinda cool... not that many people actually see the inside of an oven. It's certainly be different... Did you have any particular colour or pattern in mind? And is there any particular reason why you would build it so small?

As dmun points out, you'd have to make sure the glaze is absolutely non-toxic, and also that it could stand the heat and repeated heat up/cooling cycles.

Other than that, and assuming you know a lot more about ceramics than I do, it sounds like a feasable plan to me. You've got the two most important elements, thermal mass and insulation. I've googled a bit but could you provide your favourite link to this Nader Khalili guy?
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Old 05-18-2009, 06:43 AM
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Default Re: Newbie needs feedback

Quote:
Low temperature glazes were lead based in my day. Why would you want a glazed oven?
I thought a thin layer of glazed ceramic would make a nice resilient inner surface. As for glazes, I think I have found some that are suitable.

Quote:
The glaze would go on the inside? I dunno, if you could make it work I think that sounds kinda cool... not that many people actually see the inside of an oven. It's certainly be different... Did you have any particular colour or pattern in mind?
Yes, glaze the inside surface. As for color and pattern, anything simple and non-toxic that can handle the heat, which is what I have been researching, and they do appear to be out there.

Quote:
And is there any particular reason why you would build it so small?
Mainly because I am trying to sell my house, and although the odds of that happening in this market are rare, I would like to build something there is a chance of moving. I have come to the conclusion that I want both a pizza oven and a vaulted bread oven eventually, so a bigger oven could certainly be in the future.

Quote:
I've googled a bit but could you provide your favourite link to this Nader Khalili guy?
All the links on him tend to go into his earth bag houses, and not the ceramic houses as much, which sucks cause the ceramic houses are so cool. I saw a program on TV about him a few years ago, might have been Nova, and that is where I got my first look at his work.
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Old 05-18-2009, 07:47 AM
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Default Re: Newbie needs feedback

I did some research on Nader Khalili a while ago -- you can probably google his "super adobe" process. He was an interesting fellow, he recently passed and the world is a sadder place without him.

Cal-Earth - (The California Institute of Earth Art and Architecture)
Nader Khalili - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

He was a proponent of making natural adobe bricks where possible and then building up dome shaped homes... sometimes with straight walls and then using a stacking method to make a parabolic dome. He also advocated using rice bag type tubes (the plastic material that 50lb bags of rice are shipped in, left in uncut rolls) to make coiled domes where the local soil would not make bricks. These he covered with lime plaster.

The natural adobe bricks are the neat ones... after the home is built, he used a salt glaze and covered the entire interior of the home. Any ceramic cooking vessels for the new household are also covered in glaze and stacked in the home. The whole place is covered in whatever insulating material is available and a burner unit is placed in the doorway. A barrel of oil (!!!) is gravity fed into the burner and the home is fired to white hot. After cooling the house actually rings when stuck -- like a ceramic bell. If at any time any vermin or pests invaded, the home would simply be fired again, not to the same level but it was fireproof, earthquake resistant, sealed against all elements, locally made by unskilled labor and could be made (if dry bricks were available) by four men in a week. An extremely nice wedding present in some rural areas of Iran, Turkey and Iraq -- a new home and a fully stocked kitchen for the newlyweds.

Very neat guy. A great vision for the local populations of rural areas to be housed and safe from the elements.
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Old 05-18-2009, 01:17 PM
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Default Re: Newbie needs feedback

I agree, he is a neat fellow, he even tried to get nasa to colonize the moon with ceramic building build from lunar soil.
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Old 05-18-2009, 01:43 PM
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Default Re: Newbie needs feedback

One thing I'd be concerned about is cracking. You will want some wiggle room between layers to allow for expansion. With my first oven, Pompeii Head, originally I used the insulating concrete. Each time I fired the oven the thermal mass would expand causing the insulating layer, as well as the stucco exterior, to crack. Pompeii Head had a facelift, 3 inches of ceramic blanket and a brand new stucco face. He now looks better, performs better and no embarassing fissures!
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Old 05-20-2009, 02:40 PM
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Default Re: Newbie needs feedback

That's a great point. What about the floor? No need for expansion there?
Quote:
Originally Posted by anduzy View Post
One thing I'd be concerned about is cracking. You will want some wiggle room between layers to allow for expansion. With my first oven, Pompeii Head, originally I used the insulating concrete. Each time I fired the oven the thermal mass would expand causing the insulating layer, as well as the stucco exterior, to crack. Pompeii Head had a facelift, 3 inches of ceramic blanket and a brand new stucco face. He now looks better, performs better and no embarassing fissures!
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Old 05-21-2009, 01:00 PM
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Default Re: Newbie needs feedback

I'm sure the floor expands too.The floor of "Pompeii Head" is fire brick, on top of a thin layer of fire clay, over insulating concrete. The brick dome floats( no mortar) on top of the floor. Laying the brick on clay makes it easy to replace'em if one cracks. My "Dragon Wagon" is the kit, Premio 120. This has the 5 piece floor inside the walls & it's on top of a little mortar, over ridgid insulation boards, in a rectangular metal frame. The mortar that fills the seams in the floor is the only thing that's cracked. When I was curing this oven I placed a halogen work light inside & shut the door for a week before proceeding with small fires. That seems to have saved me from the hairline cracks I hear about. Hope this helps.
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