#1  
Old 06-13-2014, 07:13 AM
Serf
 
Join Date: Jun 2014
Location: Bristol, Uk
Posts: 12
Default Hello. Guidance Welcome!

Hi all.
First off - what a great site! An absolute goldmine of information about building an oven. But you all know that anyway.
Thanks to all who have put in the time and effort to spread invaluable information on how to build these fantastic ovens.

I'm about to embark on a Pompeii project. Originally I was going to go for an all cobb oven as I have loads of clay soil I was planning to dig up and it'd be better to use it than carry it off site. However, the dig has been delayed/cancelled and I've got lots of engineering brick lying around and have been seduced by the better performance of brick ovens. So here comes a Pompeii igloo!

As I was planning to use cobb, this started as a zero cost project, so I'm trying to keep costs to an absolute minimum. The aim is to build an oven that achieves these aims:
- Can cook 2 pizza's at a time
- Can get to cooking temp in approx 1hr.
- Can cook for a weekend Fri to Sun (with an mid weekend firing if necessary)
- Can fit in the space I have available.
- Can be built with someone with virtually zero experience in brickwork, but competent at DIY.
- Cost around 250 or less (I have most materials, but will spend on mortar, insulation and firebrick for the floor)

I would be extremely grateful for any comments and advice in achieving this.

My plan....

Base:
I have a retaining wall in my garden at just below waist height so my plan is to dig back the bank above this wall and put the oven structure on the soil. I will be using a ceramic fibre board as insulation under the oven floor, but do not want to put this straight onto the soil. I'm thinking of laying a base consisting of straw and empty beer bottles covered in sand. This will protect the CF board from the soil and will add extra insulation too. Then place the CF board on top of that. Any better ideas?

Oven Floor:
I have engineering bricks, but to reduce risk of cracking and increase performance I am planning to splash out on firebrick for the floor.

Dome:
I plan to build the dome using engineering brick and refractory mortar. I'll build a uniform dome with the aid of a self built indispensable tool. I'm hoping to fit a 36" dome, but that is looking tight for my location. What is the smallest dome I can get to and still cook a couple of pizza's at the same time?
Any experiences out there?

Dome Insulation:
CF blanket covered with chicken wire.

Outer coating:
- Trying to avoid buying render as that may break my budget, so I'm considering coating with clay/cobb dug up from my garden, but rain will wash that off over time I'd have thought or can I prevent this somehow? I'm also considering covering with earth so it looks integrated into the bank I've dug into. I'll try to add a photo to show the location. Maybe I could even grow plants/grass on it or is that a crazy idea? If I need to render, then I suppose I'll just have to.

Opening:
Brick arch with a brick flue.

Chimney:
Considering a pure brick chimney in a square formation or maybe a reclaimed clay pipe to keep with the circular theme. I haven't really worked this one out yet, but I don't want a bought metal chimney. Any ideas?

Door:
I'll build a door (probably out of aluminium as I have some of that around) with CF blanket completely enclosed within. Hopeful to fit a probe thermometer too.

Thanks for reading any advice welcome!
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  #2  
Old 06-13-2014, 12:10 PM
Journeyman
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Bucks County, PA
Posts: 297
Default Re: Hello. Guidance Welcome!

Welcome Trev !

The only thing that concerns me is your plan for the base. First, you will need to figure out how to empty all of those beer bottles! Just kidding.

My concern is that you are putting the fiber-board on an unstable foundation of beer bottles, straw, and sand. Im no expert, but it seems like that might move/shift underneath your oven floor. A concrete slab to support your floor would be more desirable.
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  #3  
Old 06-13-2014, 03:13 PM
david s's Avatar
Il Pizzaiolo
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Townsville, Nth Queensland,Australia
Posts: 4,880
Default Re: Hello. Guidance Welcome!

I think you'll have a hell of a time cutting those bricks. You might be better off just cutting them in half with a brick bolster and placing the rough end out. Use plenty of cheap home-brew mortar and wooden wedges which you can remove as you go.
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  #4  
Old 06-13-2014, 06:13 PM
Administrator
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: USA
Posts: 111
Default Re: Hello. Guidance Welcome!

Trev!

Thanks for signing up to our Forum. I have moved your thread to the Pompeii conversation thread. This way, people following that thread can offer their insights.

Good Luck
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  #5  
Old 06-16-2014, 03:17 AM
Serf
 
Join Date: Jun 2014
Location: Bristol, Uk
Posts: 12
Default Re: Hello. Guidance Welcome!

Thanks for the comments.

Glad there's nothing absolutely crazy in my plans so far.

For the base:
I've got some concrete fence posts hanging around so I can frame the bottles/straw/sand quite securely. If I make sure all the bottles are the same size and packed tightly I'm hoping I won't see any movement.

Brick.

Yes cutting the bricks will be a pain. I'm prepared for that, but what might be a problem is running out of bricks if the cuts don't go well. I was planning mainly to bolster cut them in half as has been suggested which worked quite well for building a brick BBQ. I'll also have access to a grinder which may help smooth off the rough bits and help shaping bricks to fit specific gaps.

The bit of advise I'm really hanging out for is size of dome advise. If I go for say a 30" internal oven space - is that going to be sufficient to cook 2 pizzas with a fire too? If I shrink the dome, are there any other considerations I need to be aware of other than making sure the entry is shrinked proportionally?
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Old 06-18-2014, 08:46 AM
boerwarrior's Avatar
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Join Date: Apr 2013
Location: Santa Rosa, CA
Posts: 450
Default Re: Hello. Guidance Welcome!

My oven is a 32 inch Pompeii. It is extremely well insulated. I can heat it to Pizza cooking temperature in 1 hour and 15 minutes. I doubt that you will be able to get a 36 inch to Pizza cooking temperature in an hour - but I may be wrong!

Theoretically, I can just about get two pizzas in my oven at the same time - but I have found this to be unnecessary. I can cook a pizza in 2 minutes. I have had a party for 70 people where I cooked about 50 pizzas.

My build thread is here: http://www.fornobravo.com/forum/f8/3...nia-19283.html (32 Inch Pompeii in Northern California)

Last edited by boerwarrior; 06-18-2014 at 08:58 AM.
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Old 06-18-2014, 09:27 AM
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Join Date: Jun 2014
Location: Bristol, Uk
Posts: 12
Default Re: Hello. Guidance Welcome!

Hi boerwarrior,

In fact I found your thread earlier today and read about your 70 pizza +bikers extravaganza. That was a project and a half! V. Impressed! I'm currently minded to make a 30/32" oven largely based on your experience so thanks for all the details you have provided. Presumably you don't have any problems with space for roasting and such like?

30/32 seems to be the sweet spot for me in terms of space available, fire time and retained heat. The main design goal of my oven will be low cost, but I won't skimp on insulation as that seems to be absolutely crucial.

I'm currently head scratching on how to avoid a concrete base (I don't like concrete) but I'm not sure how I can avoid moisture creeping in from below as I'm planning to build directly onto soil.

Thanks to others for the pointer to homebrew mortar- I've come to the conclusion that is the way forward for me.

I've got a bit more time to think now as a kids treehouse project has jumped the queue so the pizza's will have to wait so please keep comments/suggestions coming.
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Old 06-18-2014, 08:58 PM
Il Pizzaiolo
 
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: Australia
Posts: 1,053
Default Re: Hello. Guidance Welcome!

Hmmmmm building on soil interesting I would at least use footings as even smaller ovens weigh heaps.maybe a very thick road base well compacted would work. But unless you intend making it portable maybe with metal frame I would look at builder beware.
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Last edited by oasiscdm; 06-18-2014 at 09:02 PM.
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Old 06-19-2014, 06:42 AM
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Join Date: Jun 2014
Location: Bristol, Uk
Posts: 12
Default Re: Hello. Guidance Welcome!

Thanks for the feedback oasiscdm.

I'm not planning to put brick directly onto the soil, but am trying to avoid a solid concrete foundation due to a personal distaste for big slabs of concrete and to keep to the no 1 design goal - keep costs down. I'm digging back a bank so effectively I'll have soil at waist height behind a retaining wall.

My plan was to use some concrete fence posts I have to frame a layer of bottles + sand. Then lay the ceramic fibre board on that. However, I'm thinking the sand will wick any moisture out of the soil and straight into my ceramic board. So I'm thinking of adding a paving slab layer on top of the base as currently designed ( I have some of those lying around too).

The only concern then will be whether this is structurally sound enough to build on. I may give this a go then stack my bricks on the base for a week or two (I'm in no rush) to see if there is any movement.
If that fails I can easily remove and go with a concrete foundation.
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  #10  
Old 06-19-2014, 07:02 AM
stonecutter's Avatar
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Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: South Carolina,USA
Posts: 1,922
Default Re: Hello. Guidance Welcome!

Quote:
Originally Posted by atb trev View Post
Thanks for the feedback oasiscdm.

I'm not planning to put brick directly onto the soil, but am trying to avoid a solid concrete foundation due to a personal distaste for big slabs of concrete and to keep to the no 1 design goal - keep costs down. I'm digging back a bank so effectively I'll have soil at waist height behind a retaining wall.

My plan was to use some concrete fence posts I have to frame a layer of bottles + sand. Then lay the ceramic fibre board on that. However, I'm thinking the sand will wick any moisture out of the soil and straight into my ceramic board. So I'm thinking of adding a paving slab layer on top of the base as currently designed ( I have some of those lying around too).

The only concern then will be whether this is structurally sound enough to build on. I may give this a go then stack my bricks on the base for a week or two (I'm in no rush) to see if there is any movement.
If that fails I can easily remove and go with a concrete foundation.
Can I ask, why do you want to build on top of glass bottles? That's something low cost builders use as an insulation layer under the hearth, not as the base for the whole oven.

If you don't want a slab, you need to remove the organic soil down to subsoil, then use well graded aggregate compacted in lifts. If your area is prone to a lot of rainfall and frost, then you want large aggregate with no fines, and daylight the water so you don't create a bath tub.

My current oven has no concrete slab, just a base of compacted granite dust 1/4"-fines. Around here, under the 3" of topsoil is pure sand, so it's free draining. The stand is drystone and has been in place about 18 months, no settling. The key is a well compacted base, the drains.
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Last edited by stonecutter; 06-19-2014 at 07:04 AM.
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