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Old 11-05-2006, 09:39 PM
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Santol. Boac, Marinduque, RP
Posts: 37
Default Red Clay Brick Oven in the Philippine Islands

I am jayjay and I love on a remote island in the central Philippines.
We build an oven for our birthdays this year. We found a man to
make the bricks. The bricks were made, sun dried and then kiln fired.
The bricks are not all the same size as they were made by hand in a
small mold that made three bricks at one time. The clay was from
different batches and the bricks were made a different different
times. We put up a platform, about 5 hollow blocks high, using
rebar three times in the five rounds. We then put a four inch cement
platform on the base, The base is about 6 1/2 foot wide and 8 foot
long. There is a hold in the side toward the back, to put wood under.
There is a devider about 2/3 the way from back to front. There is an
ash hole and a hold in the very front under the oven door. That area
will catcht the ashes and will also store small items.
We let the platform dry for two weeks. Then we got the bricks
and installed the base of the oven. We then put a ring of bricks around
the hearth, on edge, the end that was 2 x 4''. We put the edges together
so that the 4 x 8'' edge of the bricks showed inward. We then placed
row after row of bricks set in arches so that the top of the arch was 18 inches off the floor of the hearth. We then put in a door, about 20 inches
wide and with an arch of about 15 inches off the floor of the hearth. We
put in a chimney of about 6 x 4 inches, and about 3 foot high. We capped the chimney with a 6 side brick. the chimney draws well unless there is
a big flame in the oven, when such a big flame is accompanied by a roaring fire, the smoke does come out the front of the owen. We will have a door build soon.
After the clay was dry, we encased the clay bricks in about 8 inches of
cement. With the clay we used straight cement and added some salt and a little lime. With the cement over the bricks we added about 8 sacks of
gravel or same and one bag of cement, (portland type), and left the forms
in place throught 14 earthquakes where our small island town was the epicenter. We do not see any cracks in the dome or the oven in general, except a few hair line cracks around the chimney... after a few weeks and little rain, we set small curing fires and after a few days did a large fire.
Our oven did not get the outside of the oven very hot, with the exception
of the front. We built the fire in the front, and then pushed the fire back. We also thought that we saw the white glow on the bricks. Most of the dome was was clear of char.
The flat back still had char. We brushed the floor of the oven and made
dough and then pizza. We did not have the oven hot enough to bake the pizza. We pulled the coals forward, got a blaze going and then pushed the fire back. We baked the pizza with the aid of the fire. The oven was warm about four hours later and it was barely warm in the morning. The front of the oven and the front arch were hot in the evening and very warm in the morning. We guess that our oven is going to need a heck of a lot of our
type of wood to get the oven hot enough to actually back. Most our
wood is 1/2 to 2 inches thick and about two foot long. We hope to find a better source of wood soon.
We need help on knowing when the oven is hot enough. We also need help on how to build a fire.
Our hearth is 3'4'' x about 4 1/2 foot. The inside of the dome is about 2'8'' wide and 3 foot long. The door area is about 18 deep and about 20 inches wide.
We need suggestions on how to get the oven hotter more quickly and how
to keep it hotter longer. We are open to any and all suggestions.
Philippine Islands

Last edited by jayjay; 11-05-2006 at 09:42 PM. Reason: spacing
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Old 11-06-2006, 05:23 AM
dmun's Avatar
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: New Jersey USA
Posts: 4,216
Default Insulation

I'm out of my element here, but isn't the Philippines a volcanic island chain? Volcanic pumice, or tufa, is a natural insulator that's been used in ovens since the time of the Romans. There's not much you can do under the oven at this point, but you could add a lot of insulation on top.
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Old 12-11-2008, 12:28 AM
Raffy's Avatar
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Philippines
Posts: 213
Default Re: Red Clay Brick Oven in the Philippine Islands

I'm no expert but based on the traditional/local "pugon" ovens, which are made of the red clay that you speak of, they are mainly used to bake bread. I'm assuming that they do not or cannot hold the amount of heat required in a pizza oven. There are some suppliers of fire bricks that contain alumina and silica in Caloocan City but I don't have the exact address or a contact number for you. At least the search is narrowed down to one city. =D
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Old 12-11-2008, 08:27 AM
Il Pizzaiolo
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Tampa, FL
Posts: 1,446
Default Re: Red Clay Brick Oven in the Philippine Islands

If I am reading this correctly, your oven is 12" thick? (the thickness of the bricks plus 8 inches of what you call cement). Then covered in gravel with a little portland as a binder. I guess you could have some insulation value in that gravel (if it is from pumice or tufa as dmun mentions) but your biggest problem is that 12" thick heatsink you have created and virtually zero insulation. Even if you were to locate ceramic fiber blanket, perlite, or vermiculite, I don't think you are going to cut your wood consumption very much; it is still going to take huge fires, hrs of time, and a lot of wood to heat that kind of mass. No sure you if you will ever be able to reach/hold pizza temps with this set up.
Raffy is on the right track - you may want to source firebricks and more importantly - INSULATION, and then try again.

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Old 01-26-2010, 06:29 AM
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Bohol Philippines
Posts: 417
Default Re: Red Clay Brick Oven in the Philippine Islands

Hi guys, I'm also in the Philippines on the island of Bohol. Currently I'm building two houses, one for my wife and I and one for a friend. Once I'm done with those and one other small project its on to my true love, a pizza oven.

Many bakery ovens here have bricks in them and I'm going to try to find out where they are bought. I know I need red clay kiln dried bricks, yes? Then its on to the cement for the base and mortar for the brickwork. I'm glad to hear that volcanic pumice (is that the ash?) can be added to the mix. There's no volcanoes on Bohol but there is a volcanic island perhaps thirty or forty miles off the coast and I see it daily as I build the houses. We could take the pickup there by rolo boat and load up. My wife loves the lansone (sp) fruit from there so there's two good reasons to go. Never been there so I don't know how available the ash is.

So there's that. Question is, does the ash take the place of the vermiculite? Been searching online and its only available from China and no thanks. So either I find some which allows me to make my own refractory cement mix, yes?

Any advice you guys can give will be very welcome!

I'll check in here tomorrow when I get back. Advance thanks to those who help!

Last edited by Lancer; 01-27-2010 at 03:00 AM.
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Old 03-26-2010, 03:00 AM
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Palawan
Posts: 3
Default Re: Red Clay Brick Oven in the Philippine Islands

I am new and just learning here. Do you use the local charcoal or just wood to fire the oven?
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Old 03-27-2010, 07:42 AM
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Bohol Philippines
Posts: 417
Default Re: Red Clay Brick Oven in the Philippine Islands

Hey randol, I'm the last guy you want to answer your question as since a good early start my questions seem to remain unanswered by those in the know, so I'll do my best. The bad news, I'm building 2 new post and hollow block masonry houses in the Philippines and though my heart is in my oven my workers are otherwise occupied.

I'd guess that the fuel, chosen between the local coconut coal or coco lumber, dried, wouldn't matter much either way. My understanding is that as long as you very slowly, over a week and days, bring your oven up to temp that the fuel doesn't matter. That said, the first day must be no more than a couple hundred degrees, and then allowed to cool, the second day hotter, etc, cool, until you are up to pizza oven temps and your oven is cured.

So that's it, the info gathered by an amateur for an amateur, good luck. It seems that we are on our own to some degree, with all the info on this forum as a resource. Could be worse and an expert may yet show up again.

Where you at randol?

Last edited by Lancer; 03-27-2010 at 07:46 AM.
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Old 05-04-2010, 07:45 PM
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: philippines
Posts: 8
Default Re: Red Clay Brick Oven in the Philippine Islands

Hey Lancer.. Im a Brit living in Bingag Dauis Bohol..
I built my oven using the local red clay brick..Ive managed to buy 90kg of perlite in Manila but having difficulty shipping it here as the shipping company want DENR papers confirming it is a natural resource and not cocaine etc etc!!
We have fired up the oven for pizzas and once hot I can cook a family size pizza in just over a minute.. Once I get the perlite over the dome I will be in the nickel smelting game!!
If you want to come over to have a look then ask Mike at Bingag sports bar(from Tag, first left turn after Hingdanan cave turning)..He knows where I live.Just say you are looking for Wayne.
Incidentally..There should be tons of Pumice stone/gravel in available in camiguin..Could be an ideal insulator..

Last edited by fred42; 05-04-2010 at 07:52 PM.
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Old 05-04-2010, 10:15 PM
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Bohol Philippines
Posts: 417
Default Re: Red Clay Brick Oven in the Philippine Islands

Hi Wayne, have you asked the engineer at Malmis? I think its the owner, Engineer Malmis. Anyway he said he could get me perlite and red clay brick...hope that helps. Have to talk to him though, some of the workers go to the "out of stock" escape without ever knowing what it is you're asking for. Some of them will investigate though. So now I have a source of perlite I'll forget the pumice.

My wood fired oven is just a dream with only some materials info done. I'm right in the middle of building 2 houses, one mine one for a friend, and so the oven is on hold and the family masons are busy.

I'd like to see yours though Fred. Are you proposing a pizza cooking/eating demonstration?

I once made 3 pizzas by stretching the dough by hand at a pizza place on the East Coast of the US. Originally from New Jersey, now I'm from Oregon.


Last edited by Lancer; 05-04-2010 at 10:18 PM.
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Old 05-05-2010, 02:09 AM
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: philippines
Posts: 8
Default Re: Red Clay Brick Oven in the Philippine Islands

Lance..Around 5 of us local expats take it in turn to host a Friday afternoon bash..When its my turn next I might just make it a pizza extravaganza..Your welcome to come..
Thanks for the malmis tip but I still need to think of ways to get the 90kg I already purchased from Manila..
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