No announcement yet.

Pompei style oven in Thailand

  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Pompei style oven in Thailand

    I build a Pompei type oven in Nakhon Ratchasima province, Thailand last summer. Have been using information on this site heavily in the preparation phase and also during build, so
    it is only fair enough I share the results with the community.

    Took me about a month of work, pretty much on my own except for the welding. I sourced all materials form Thai suppliers, except the ceramic insulation blanket which I ordered in Europe and took with me on the plane.

    I had an iron frame welded by the local welder. I wanted to make it as sturdy as possible to hold the weight and try keeping it as 'lightweight' as possible still. Choose to make a table based model, so it would still be somehow mobile if I choose to move it.
    Welded rebar bars to the frame. would not do that in hindsight as this might be draining the floor heat towards the edgeI plan to add additional (re)movable iron tables around it, which will hold a marble or granite stone top. Will update if eventually done.

    Used same firebricks for both base and dome. Used wet type premix refractory mortar. As mentioned here and there on the forum, it is indeed a struggle to do the bricklaying with it, as it does not dry at all, but adding sand made it just sticky enough.
    Used Styrofoam-like arches to hold the stones in place and did not cement the first row of dome bricks to the base. I used newspaper to keep those stones and mortar from touching the base bricks

    Covered the outside of the dome with a layer of wet refractory, which cracked heavily upon drying. i then filled up the cracks and kept it covered for many days. then applied 2 layers of ceramic insulation blanket, then covered with a normal mortar+vermiculite (coarse form) mix.
    I did not yet apply the finishing/coloring layer on it, as I did not yet figure out what color I want and which one will match the orange color of the bricks. Any advice welcomed!

    I went through a 5 day curing cycle with only the ceramic insulation on top. initially using candles, then using a gas stove/burner of which i could easily tune the flame/temperature and let it burn for 8-10 hours per day.
    The oven is under a roof of an open house, the roof is high enough above the chimney so as not to melt, but it did get a bit blackened. Prefer to keep it covered from the tropical rains however.

    I could not wait to cook the first pizza, so did that without the outer vermiculite layer in place, It did well with just the ceramic insulation blankets on top (measured about 60 degrees on top of the insulation). Later poured on the vermicrete layer. I had a stainless steal square double walled chimney welded, which can be lifted off the stainless steal placeholder mounted on top of the arch. Square gives it a cooler, design-like look, but it resulted in the only tiny crack so far which started at the edge of the square of vermicrete around the chimney. Corners are always a weak spot, I should have known better and stuck to the circular chimneys.

    It takes about 40 to 50 minutes to reach required heat, which I measure with laser thermometer. I typically preheat by inserting a gas stove in it for a while till it reaches 200 degrees, then proceed with wood. I only use Eucalyptus wood, dry type if i can find some from my local supplier.

    Things I would do different?

    As mentioned on the forum, more insulation on the floor. I got 1 inch concrete slabs, poured normal concrete over that. then the Calcium silicate board (1 inch) held in place with a small layer of vermicrete, aluminium foil, then bricks on top. With the oven at 450 degrees for a few, I get 60 degrees at the bottom of the table and less than 40 on top of the dome.
    I also welded rebar bars prior to pouring the concrete onto the frame. I now think that these drain the heath of the floor towards the metal edges, actually acting as a cooling conductor/radiator. Maybe not the best Idea to keep the heat preserved. I generally get about 350 degrees on the floor when the top is 450. So still a 100 degree gradient which I think is a bit too high.

    And then, when it was all finished and working well, it dawned upon me that I had been doing the Dome bricklaying all 'wrong'; I have been putting the stones down and on top of each other with their narrow part, rather than dead flat. This is how I calculated the required number of bricks (by dividing the dome surface by the large surface of the brick) and this is also how I build it. Looking at the videos and pictures, everyone puts the bricks down with the largest surface down. This consumes more bricks, but might be easier to work with and also provides the much needed thermal mass. Also, the way I worked, required quite some heavy cutting of the bricks from halfway up toward the top of the dome. Luckily I poured half an inch of mortar on top of the dome, adding some thickness to it and coming nearer to the width that is normally used. Anyhow, it does not look like an issue as the temperature is kept constant pretty well.and heat is very well preserved.

    Produces great Pizza, the best in town, no doubt! It's a great attraction to the locals as well, who's idea of Pizza is mainly inspired by Pizza Hut. Kids became great cooks too. Our Pizza of the house includes some local ingredients, including roasted crickets and silk worms. Pictures attached.

    Thank you to all contributors whose Info I have been reading, analysing, contemplating and using.

  • #2
    Continued from previous with additional pictures of the build


    • #3
      More or less finished product with first Pizza pics