#1  
Old 10-19-2009, 05:27 PM
Serf
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Adelaide, Australia
Posts: 2
Default Which way to go, kit or build from scratch?

Hi all,

Hoping someone can give me some assistance. I've decided that I want a wood oven in my backyard. I've looked at the options available and im not sure which way to go. My options are

- Buy a refractory cement made kit from Italy, these are made up of 10 or so bits of refractory cement and are joined together to make the oven.

- Build one from scratch using bricks, special cement etc

I will be cooking mainly pizzas, bread and would love to experiment with roasts etc. What are peopleís thoughts on this? I like the idea of building my own however I know this would be very time consuming and with little experience in brick work im a little scared.

The refractory cement option seems like a quick and easy way to start cooking with a wood oven. I was thinking that the ones that come on a steel base with castors are a good idea as they can be moved around the backyard.

Would I be loosing that Ďauthentic Italianí taste by going with the kit?

Thanks everyone for your help
Marten
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  #2  
Old 10-26-2009, 05:00 AM
Il Pizzaiolo
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: USA
Posts: 1,436
Default Re: Which way to go, kit or build from scratch?

Hi Marten,

I think your first decision might be based on cost ? what does a kit cost vs build your own, I understand firebrick is very costly down under, You can also pour your own dome from castable refractory cement... (another option)

As far as building your own, many of us here havent had any prior masonry experience and have produced beautiful ovens, and now we have new skills, If you decide to build, take your time, go slowly, think it out.....It really isnt that hard to do it well.. I was surprised at how well I did..

Let us know what you decide to do..

Cheers and good luck
Mark
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  #3  
Old 10-26-2009, 02:59 PM
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Il Pizzaiolo
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Adelaide, South Australia
Posts: 1,867
Thumbs up Re: Which way to go, kit or build from scratch?

Hi Marten
and I welcome yet another Aussie aboard, and from Adelaide as well.
Where abouts in Adelaide are you located?
I have a list running of all participating Aussies and in particular Adelaidians which amounts to 22 forum members.
I'm south at Flagstaff Hill and you are welcome to come around, chat, look and if lucky, taste the products of a home made brick oven built in a couple of week-ends.
Forget the firebricks mate, go to Littlehamptom and get their 4" solid fired clay pavers at around .80c each and build your oven for around $5-600. Most of this will be your insulation, which I can't over emphasise as being critical for your oven's heat holding performance.
A half brick thickness oven wil heat up in around 1-1 1/2 hours to 500˚C, great for 60 second pizzas, then let it cool, bake your breads, rolls, buns with a good door on, then your roasts, pies/sweets dishes, and later dry your fruits, veggies, spices and a couple of days later, throw in your next load of wood to dry.
You certainly have plenty of support here, so send me an email and we'll have a chat.
Cheers.

Neill
NB. James, you had better hurry up with FB coming 'down under' with these increasing numbers! Lost potential sales mate!
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Old 10-26-2009, 07:43 PM
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Default Re: Which way to go, kit or build from scratch?

Just to let you know, the Italian modular ovens aren't made from refractory concrete, they are made from fired clay like firebricks, and are a true refractory material.

It's mostly a time/cost issue. If you have more time than money, you'll want to build your own, and vice versa. In either case, it's a fun project.
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Old 10-26-2009, 08:53 PM
Il Pizzaiolo
 
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Default Re: Which way to go, kit or build from scratch?

If someone could just figure out the dilemma of not enough time AND not enough money, I will be set for life

RT
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Old 10-26-2009, 09:37 PM
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Location: Pebble Beach, CA
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Default Re: Which way to go, kit or build from scratch?

Hey guys,

We need to get going in Australia. :-)

In the states, we are trying to make the choices and trade-offs a little more clear. FB now carries the Pompeii Oven kits that include all the refractories required to build an oven. The kits are based on $1.20 per firebrick. What is interesting is that as we have published the materials list for building a brick oven in the Pompeii Oven eBook, it is getting easier for builders to do cost/quality trade-offs. Firebrick vs. clay brick. Vermiculite vs. ceramic insulation. Refractory vs. Portland-based mortar. Precast vs. brick dome. The whole thing is a lot easier to calculate, and it makes it easy for everybody make their own trade-offs.

For example in the US, using red clay brick instead of firebrick in a 36" dome saves about $60-$84 ($.50 - $.70 * 120).

This also extends to brick vs. modular ovens. Not to leak any upcoming announcements, but FB will be introducing a new series modular ovens that are priced much closer to the raw refractory materials needed to build the Pompeii oven. Stay tuned for that -- I hope it makes that trade-off a little more complicated.

Meanwhile, I hope this help with your decision in Australia.
James
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Old 10-26-2009, 11:53 PM
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Thumbs up Re: Which way to go, kit or build from scratch?

James,
I keep promoting the fired clay pavers because the cost difference is much more substantial over here.

Quote:
For example in the US, using red clay brick instead of firebrick in a 36" dome saves about $60-$84 ($.50 - $.70 * 120).
If you were to use (as I did on my 40" Pompeii, use around 120 full firebricks the costs would be:
@ $3.30 ea $396 (I think Johnny the oven man)
@ $5 each $600 ( the larger firebrick manufacturer)
@ $5.50 each $660 (Litlehampton fire bricks - seconds available at times)
whereas the clay pavers @ $.80 each $96 A BIG SAVINGS!

Here we have a potential customer in Marten but the opposition's kits over here (not FB ) range from a couple of grand upwards. You only get rubbish or a tiny one for less.
Only the wealthy or ultra keen people would afford one let alone put it together and finish it off!

Neill
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Old 10-27-2009, 08:36 AM
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Default Re: Which way to go, kit or build from scratch?

I have always been the first to say that you should build an oven using clay bricks and less efficient insulation if the better materials are budget busters. I built my first oven that way. But the better materials do make a better oven. In the states, FB has been able to bring down the cost of nice firebricks and ceramic insulation to where they now cost less than what I paid for a clay brick and vermiculite oven.

What is the theory as to why refractories are so expensive in Australia?

James
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Old 10-27-2009, 04:04 PM
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Thumbs up Re: Which way to go, kit or build from scratch?

James,

Quote:
What is the theory as to why refractories are so expensive in Australia?
simple, either greed or just supply and demand!
No doubt that a little competition certainly keeps the suppliers on their toes and reduce prices, great for the customer but not so outlandishly profitable for the dealer/manufacturer.
It would be interesting to research the availability of the relevant clays that meet the refractory requirements of firebricks.
I need to get the good guff from Hendo's brickie (Dallas) as he is a bricklaying Tafe teacher and would help get that information.
I grew up in an area where millions of clay bricks were made in Adelaide for possibly 100 years but the clay was only used for bricks and terracotta pipes, pots and the like. I have numerous large bread crocks (barrels) and planter boxes 800mm cube and even a large frog weighing 8kg.
Littlehampton bricks, who sell the only 'firebrick' that I am aware of in South Australia, won't/can't tell you what their composition is but I feel that they make them for the odd open fireplaces in homes and are not true refractory products.
Darley Refractory Products, just north of Melbourne in Victoria, are the largest of the firebrick makers in Australia and make a wide range of products but they come at a cost then you add FREIGHT! See:

Darley Refractories Australia, Bacchus Marsh, Victoria

Their products are good, wide range (mainly directed for the commercial and industrial use, but expensive when looking at freighting it around this large country of ours. Look, freight is not all that expensive when you use it with regular companies, but the odd palette from A to B cost a fortune.
I have had priced to freight a small 200kg palette from Sydney to Adelaide (1370km) range from $640 to $125 but then you need to get the goods to the freight depot.
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Old 10-30-2009, 11:00 AM
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Default Re: Which way to go, kit or build from scratch?

Quote:
Originally Posted by james View Post
This also extends to brick vs. modular ovens. Not to leak any upcoming announcements, but FB will be introducing a new series modular ovens that are priced much closer to the raw refractory materials needed to build the Pompeii oven. Stay tuned for that -- I hope it makes that trade-off a little more complicated.

James
James, I am looking at building another oven for someone, but if you have a more affordable kit coming out I would like to know the details before I get started. Do you know when you will have the details on this new series?

Thanks, Scott...
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