Friday, November 15, 2013

Brick Oven Dome Building Revisited

Brick Oven Dome Building

JULY 18, 2018
If you are viewing this post, you are among thousands of possible owner/builders seeking information on making you own oven.
This post is just one of hundreds I have written over the years with the goal of giving detailed, accurate information on brick oven construction.  It is also hoped that you will avoid mistakes made by both past first-timers and by some professional masons assuming that a brick oven is just a fireplace for pizza.  Take some time to browse the numerous subjects.
A brick oven is mildly complex and relies on some factors being done according to the rules of pyro-physics (my term).  It is also a very hot appliance (in the broadest sense) and therefore should be assigned safety features.
So what is below is now re-re-visited.  Good luck.
David Neufeld
True Brick Ovens

Three years ago I posted this subject and it has been the most visited of all posts (5467 visits).  I can only assume that either 5467 potential brick oven builders looked at it, or one guy checked the details a lot:)
I am alway finding new details, either with the physics of brick ovens or my aesthetic in finishing them. 



They are:
  1. The mouth of the ovens are on average 20" wide while the face arch is about 32". Rather than angle the walls from back to front, I build the side of the face arch perpendicular to the face creating a wide flat surface larger than the mouth for the door to set against.  This simplifies the masonry but still allows easy access to the interior of the dome.  Nearly all precasts have a straight tunnel-like face and mouth creating blind spots within the oven
  2. The floor of the oven is laid herringbone style with standard firebrick but unlike the previous post illustration, the ovens today lay the pattern diagonal to the face.  Aside from a good looking pattern this avoids the possibility of the metal peel used to handle baked products from catching on a brick edge, however minute. 
  3. I no longer cut the arch angle on bricks but use #1 and #2 manufactured fire brick.  In combination, this allows me to perfectly predict how many of each brick is needed for each diameter oven.   I cut the and fit the bricks dry, number them, and then take them to the project.
I still cut the wedge and skew, angles that make the mortar joints very thin and the dome strong.  This is exacting work but worth the effort as it allows the dome to be perfectly round.  (except of course the elongated domes as seen at right).

Current domes using these materials and techniques are beautiful inside and out.

This is very similar to the bakery ovens I found on my visit to the excavated ruins of Pompeii, in Italy.

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