I've been reading over this site, and keep hearing about the large amounts of masonry and insulation needed for a complete oven project. If I am not concerned about effeciency, burning a bunch of wood, or how much heat my oven has in it the next day, what's the harm in having the floor and dome of an oven only? With no other insulation?
Will the oven not work at all? Will it burn the neighbors' kids when I cook in the driveway? Will I simply burn more wood than normal, and lose all my heat relatively quickly?
Also, what would be the downside(s) to casting or pouring my entire dome with a high temp castable and not bricking it at all?
Re: No insulation
The main argument for insulation is time. An insulated oven heats only the masonry that you want, and heats up quickly. You can start a fire when you get home from the day's activities, and be cooking a couple of hours later. A poorly insulated oven takes half a day to heat up, and may never reach pizza temperatures at all.
Also, most of us don't live on woodlots, and have to buy our firewood, which is increasingly expensive as the price of oil heads up. A well insulated oven will get to pizza oven temperatures with a couple of armloads of wood, instead of half a pile.
As a final bonus, all that heat has to go somewhere. An insulated oven is hot in front of the door, and the top of the chimney, but cool every where else. It's much more pleasant to work around.
Several members have used castable refractory concrete to build their domes. You will have to research this carefully if you decide to go this route. Many of these are insulating, rather than solid, and not suitable for oven use. Others require curing at temperatures higher than our cooking ovens will ever reach to achieve strength. I used brick because I like the look of a brick oven. Around here, firebrick is cheap and easy to get.
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