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Old 11-13-2008, 04:23 PM
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Default Life and durability of Pompei oven

I met a couple in Eugene who built an Alan Scot oven. They advised me not to build a Pompei oven because they have all kinds of problems and don't last very long-especially if an amateur built them. Is there any truth to that?
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Old 11-13-2008, 04:27 PM
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Default Re: Life and durability of Pompei oven

I can't speak from experience, but the ovens found in the ruins of Pompeii seem to have survived a few thousand years worth of abuse.
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Old 11-13-2008, 05:15 PM
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Default Re: Life and durability of Pompei oven

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Originally Posted by briot View Post
I met a couple in Eugene who built an Alan Scot oven. They advised me not to build a Pompei oven because they have all kinds of problems and don't last very long-especially if an amateur built them. Is there any truth to that?
What kinds of problems? Where did they get their information? Have they built a Pompeii?

I think they are just jealous
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Old 11-13-2008, 05:25 PM
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Default Re: Life and durability of Pompei oven

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Originally Posted by briot View Post
I met a couple in Eugene who built an Alan Scot oven. They advised me not to build a Pompei oven because they have all kinds of problems and don't last very long-especially if an amateur built them. Is there any truth to that?

I think they are just jealous because they realize their mistake. To be quite honest, I was seriously considering that oven until I ran across this site. It didn't take much reading to understand this type of oven is far better for my application. If you are doing commercial baking - it may not be the best route. In regard to the oven lasting because it was built by amateurs - BAH... After the first few hundred bricks, we are professionals - and damn good ones at that.

Les...
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Old 11-13-2008, 07:07 PM
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Default Re: Life and durability of Pompei oven

Briot,

I hope you can re-connect with the guys who are talking about problems with the Pompeii. I am curious about their report..... I can only guess, but if they are reporting problems, the problems are probably a symptom of that specific oven.... it was probably not assembled correctly??...

After completing an oven, and with a building background, I can't see anything on the oven that can "wear out". An oven that was not built on an appropriate foundation, was not assembled with attention to the important details, or was not protected from the weather will certainly have problems over time...

Otherwise the Pompeii should last several lifetimes!

Keep us posted, we are curious about the report.

JED
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Old 11-13-2008, 07:26 PM
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Default Re: Life and durability of Pompei oven

I will second all of the above responses and expand upon Mikes. The basic design of our ovens DOES come from those found in the Pompeii ruins. We are talking about ovens that withstood a volcanic eruption, seismic activity and were buried in lava and ash.....and many are still very much intact. Incredible if you stop and think about it.
One other point, those ovens were built centuries ago WITHOUT the use of modern refractory materials and tools.
Almost forgot this.......a barrel vault oven, if not built exactly to the plans, could have a catastrophic failure more easily than a dome/Pompeii. There is a reason for the 4" of cladding, and it is not just to add thermal mass....the cladding is structural - it gives support each arch string and helps contain the outward thrust.....if you try and cut corners and build without the cladding or reduce the cladding too much, the oven could collapse. My point, any project can and will fail if you deviate too far from the proven techniques. There is nothing difficult about a Pompeii build (unless your mixing all of your concrete by hand). It has been proven that "experts" and extraordinary techniques are not needed.....just the plans, the right materials, and desire.

Good luck, whichever direction you decide to take


RT
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Old 11-13-2008, 07:40 PM
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Default Re: Life and durability of Pompei oven

Barrel vault ovens are good for repeated bread bakes. If you want to produce bread far in excess of domestic requirements, the barrel vault is for you.

I've been active here for over three years, and have only seen one photo of an oven failure, which was a commercially built low vault large oven for a pizzaria, in continuous use. Our home built hemispherical ovens seem to go on and on: even if they crack, the shape is inherently strong, without the excess buttressing barrel vault ovens use.

Of course, coming to Forno Bravo and asking about domed ovens is like going to Rome and asking what religion is best.
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Old 11-13-2008, 07:48 PM
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Default Re: Life and durability of Pompei oven

I was always told the difference between an amateur and a professional is that the professional is trying to make a living from the job. As such he has more constraints of time than does the amateur.

A talented amateur will almost always build a better product than the average professional because he is willing to take the time to do it right even if it means doing something twice.

Wiley
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Old 11-13-2008, 09:06 PM
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Default Re: Life and durability of Pompei oven

I would also add that the Pompeii Oven is the basic brick oven design that has been built in Italy for hundreds (if not longer) of years. There are over a million of them in pizzerias and backyards.

I have always had trouble understanding the logic that the Italians don't know how to build Italian brick ovens. That has never rung true for me.

James
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Old 11-13-2008, 09:25 PM
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Default Re: Life and durability of Pompei oven

They participated in an Alan Scott workshop down in California. I suppose they are sold on that type of oven and they seem very happy with the one they built. They seemed to think there were more structural problems with Pompei and the domes were more prone to cracking.
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