Old 06-18-2012, 06:07 AM
Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: London, UK
Posts: 90
Default Italian Newbie from the UK


I'm Michele, and originaly come from Italy - but now I live in the London, England.

For the last few years, I've been toying with the idea of getting/making a pizza oven; but could never get the time to start.

Well, that changed 2 weeks ago, when we had a 4 day weekend. I'll get some pics up as soon as possible; but here is a starting idea:

Foundation (breeze blocks) laid in a 1.8mx1.5 rectangle. BBQ area (2mx1.5) laid next to it while I was at it. The poured concrete foundation is about 35cm deep.

On top of that there will be 80cm of clay engineering bricks (outer layer - these are laid to ~50cm), with 2 "fake" sides (which will hold up small countertop platforms). The central opening will have an arch (still working on this).

On the inside there will be 6 reinforced concrete pillars to aid the bricks in supporting the mass of the oven and base.

The oven platform plan is thus (top to bottom):
- cooking base made of fire bricks
- 2.5cm of refractory mix (either fire mortar or this mix here: (Portland cement (1.5 parts), silica sand (2 parts), perlite (1.5 parts) and fireclay (2 parts)) depending on which is cheaper/can be found
- 10cm of perlite/cement; with some steel (i.e. leftovers from making the mesh for the concrete )
- 10cm of concrete; with multiple steel rebars laid within for strength.

On top of that, there will be a dome (approximately 100cm wide) out of fire bricks. Then a thick (2cm?) layer of ceramic wool (partly for insulation and partly to allow the bricks to expand in this wet country). Then a layer of refractory mix (with any leftover fire bricks crushed into it), and a thinner blanket. Finally, a layer of clay bricks for looks (not sure if these are domed or straight sided... need to think about it some more... if straight sided, I'll pour loose perlite in between to fill the void)

Roof is undecided - depends on the outer layer of bricks. If domed, then the roof will be more complex... If straight sided, probably slate... either way, some form of waterproofing is needed (it rains 360 days a year here and I don't want the cavities to fill with moisture).

The BBQ area is a lot more boring - at the moment it's just a concrete base planned and a oil-drum BBQ. Eventually I'll make a masonry BBQ... but that's for another time!

Pics coming asap

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Old 06-19-2012, 02:16 AM
Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: London, UK
Posts: 90
Default Re: Italian Newbie from the UK

On that note - undecided between perlite, vermiculite and LECA for the insulation in the base slab... may end up with LECA as it's the easiest to find...

First images coming up!

Digging the foundation (sort of ) there's already a line of breeze blocks down there (down to clay), then rubble poured in ready to be compacted before pouring the concrete...

The outer wall is now halfway up - and I'm starting to make the shapes for the arches out of foam board...

Last edited by Spinal; 06-19-2012 at 02:42 AM.
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Old 06-19-2012, 07:55 AM
UtahBeehiver's Avatar
Il Pizzaiolo
Join Date: May 2012
Location: Salt Lake City, Utah
Posts: 1,552
Default Re: Italian Newbie from the UK


Welcome to the WFOers. Since you are Italian, pizza making is in the genes? Going to follow your build with interest. Like the base brick work.

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Old 06-19-2012, 08:07 AM
Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: London, UK
Posts: 90
Default Re: Italian Newbie from the UK

Thought I'd add Michele is not Michelle (before anyone assumes that's me in the picture )

Michele = Italian guys name
Michelle = Girls name in English

Thanks for the welcome - more pics tonight... plan on laying another 2-3 rows of bricks tonight (don't want to do more as the mortar will be compressed and cause the wall to buckle)

The storage area arch is held "up" by 2 bricks on each side which are put perpendicular to the wall. 4 pieces of rebar are embedded 2 bricks up/down to ensure that the mortar doesn't give way.

I have a video on my phone (will upload in due course) of my puppy helping me dig the foundation - quite cute... and he thought it was great fun! (and then slept the rest of the day without chewing any shoes - which was a big bonus!)

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Old 06-19-2012, 11:04 AM
Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: London, UK
Posts: 90
Default Re: Italian Newbie from the UK

Just got home - can't do much brick-laying tonight as my puppy knocked one of the arch-supporting bricks before it hardened (must have happened last night when I let him out)... so I had to grind it off and relay it.

I really want those to harden a day or so before laying anything on-top as I need them pretty solid so I can start the arch.... may just lay a single line above it... or maybe do some more digging on the BBQ side - that bl**dy ivy just wont come out! I've cut the base from the top, sprayed it with weedkiller, caustic soda, and salt... a week later it's still there and green as ever! Petrol next?!

Also started measuring and setting bases for the rebar... I'm busy this weekend, but hoping to start pouring concrete for the internal pillars next week, then the base/foundation the day after. Leave it a few days, then start the hearth before the pillars are fully cured (supported by a mould obviously).

Just need to find somewhere that sells 2m galvanized steel rebars near me...

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Old 06-19-2012, 02:06 PM
cleverdick's Avatar
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Essex, UK
Posts: 72
Default Re: Italian Newbie from the UK

Well, that's starting to look pretty impressive! There a few of us in the UK with pizza ovens, by the way. I suppose you could say I cheated by using a pre-cast dome and floor that I imported from France, but I figured there was enough building to do with the stand and enclosure, without having to build the actual dome as well! (Some of the pre-casts sold by UK dealers are way too expensive for what they are. It's embarassing.)

Which part of Italy are you from? (Your English is very good.) I have been to Rome, Sorrento and the Amalfi coast.
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Old 06-19-2012, 10:14 PM
Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: London, UK
Posts: 90
Default Re: Italian Newbie from the UK

I come from the north Partly from Torino and partly from Venice - so nowhere near Naples (though I have family in Tuscany).

Been here for more than a decade, so I hope I picked up a word or two
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