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Using recycled firebrick to build Hearth - Forno Bravo Forum: The Wood-Fired Oven Community


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Using recycled firebrick to build Hearth

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  • Using recycled firebrick to build Hearth

    I am in the process of collecting all materials to build my pizza/bread oven and have been able to source some 400 recycled firebricks.
    As you can imagine, these bricks do not have the hard sharp edges of new bricks and I am concerned that if I were to use these bricks to construct the hearth the resulting shallow groove (2-3mm) between each brick will become a trap for ash.
    As I have never used or cooked in a wood fired oven, can anyone advise me if this is a problem or not, when cooking pizza or bread.

  • #2
    Re: Using recycled firebrick to build Hearth

    Hi fornoa and welcome aboard.
    I also used recycled firebricks for my oven, (you might want to read through it for ideas and inspiration) and also experienced similar concerns.
    I used an angle grinder to face the hearth bricks flat but you could also use new sharp clay pavers. They will be more than suitable.


    Prevention is better than cure, - do it right the first time!

    The more I learn, the more I realise how little I know

    Neillís Pompeiii #1
    Neillís kitchen underway


    • #3
      Re: Using recycled firebrick to build Hearth

      During my research I've seen many videos of seriously old ovens still in operation where the floor is beat to hell with very large gaps and it doesn't seem to adversely affect the final product. I'd think you have to worry about the peel catching on the uneven surface more than anything.

      A question for the group, is ash in the gaps really a problem? Could you fill the gaps with fireclay or sand and spray it down to fill them?


      • #4
        Re: Using recycled firebrick to build Hearth

        Technically the pizza dough will never touch anything but the topmost surface spanning any (smallish) cracks. On some builds the ash is what fills the gap around the outside of the floor and dome. You could use the bricks you have and if YOU feel its a problem, put a soapstone or narrow firebrick floor in over top later on. (you might want to make a pattern prior to enclosing the floor to better facilitate) I used reclaimed bricks for mine.
        Good luck!
        My oven (for now):


        • #5
          Re: Using recycled firebrick to build Hearth

          Hi fornoa,

          If it were me, I would go through those 400 bricks and pick the best ones to put down in the middle and front where the pizza work will be done. The only thing you'll be putting towards the outer edges will be coals and maybe pans of food.

          Don't worry about ash or modest size gaps. After the pizza dough hits the hot bricks it becomes firm enough you can begin to rotate it in maybe half a minute. It won't pick up ash on the bottom because you will sweep it away before cooking. More of a worry might be burned flour or cornmeal from the bottom of the pie affecting the taste of your creations.


          Here is the link to my oven number 1 construction photos!

          Here is the link to my oven number 2 construction photos!


          • #6
            Re: Using recycled firebrick to build Hearth

            I wouldn't worry about it. Choose the best you have for the floor. Even new firebrick don't lay perfectly flat wen you put them down. Some folks sand it afterwards to even it out, others don't. I keep saying I will but I've been cooking on mine for a year and it performs wonderfully.
            Make sure you insulate under the bricks. the more the better.

            My slow journey to pizza.


            • #7
              Re: Using recycled firebrick to build Hearth

              And, the recycled brick give you one more story to tell about how you sourced the parts...

              Just last week, while dumping the trash, my sons and I saw a bunch of really old pretty brick in the dumpster. Quick as a flash I had my youngest in the dumpster passing out all the whole brick. Nearly a 100!!

              Today they are proudly in the nearly finished chimney of my outdoor fireplace and they are beautiful with another story in the series of how we put ours together....

              (Note to self, get some pics up in own thread before someone tries to call me bluff on this tale... )

              Have fun!! This is what makes each oven unique and personal!

              My 42" WFO/outdoor kitchen build thread:



              • #8
                Re: Using recycled firebrick to build Hearth

                Ash is not a problem, it will fall btw the seams/cracks and tighten things up. You will hardly notice it once you have wiped it down ready for pizza. Some self acclaimed food critic blogger once ask about the ash (trying to be condescending). I told him that ash was my "secret ingredient".

                The problem is an uneven hearth surface. Try to get the hearth brick as flat and even surface as possible. It is very irritating to have your peel hang-up on the edge of a brick.
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