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Ciao tutti

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  • Ciao tutti

    Hello from the frozen wastes of Southern Scotland......

    Having sampled the delights of pizza a la braccia from my uncle's wood fired oven in Itay I now reckon it's time I built my own. I've cleared a space in my back yard and decided to have a go at building the "pompeii oven". My problem is this; where the heck do you source firebricks from? I thought this would be easy - nip down to my local builders merchants- but no, it's really hard to find them. Am I asking for the wrong thing? heck I've even googled the things but all I seem to end up with are lists of building brick suppliers.

    Somebody please help me....

  • #2
    Re: Ciao tutti

    Fire bricks are ridiculously expensive in the UK. I suggest looking for used. has lots of listings from brick dealers, and firebricks turn up from time to time.
    My geodesic oven project: part 1, part 2


    • #3
      Re: Ciao tutti

      Hi Ciso tutti,
      welcome to the forum,
      I agree with dmun as firebricks here in Australia, they are not easily sourced and are relatively expensive.
      I built mine (see the photos forum) and was even tempted to use the older standard pressed red housing bricks as does Russell Jeavons uses in his book on wood fired oven construction and use.
      These would be as an alternative to the ideal but I am not aware of the type of bricks available locally in Scotland.
      We here in Adelaide, South Austarlia, must have the best clays for bricks as Russell used old 'pressed red bricks' commercially in his restaurant ovens and I have visited them and no problems with cracking or spalling (breaking up due to thermal size changes and shifts) in 3 years of constant use at least 3 days a week.
      You might source what we call 'clinker bricks' if all else fails, they are the bricks which are closest to the heat when fired in the kiln and are the hardest, glazed bricks.
      I used around 120 full sized bricks cut in halves for my 40" Pompeii oven dome as I used tapered pavers for my front arch and house bricks for the vent. These can be seen in the Brick oven photo forum.See:
      and also

      Good luck and don't give in. It really is worth the effort and you will have it for life (well aslong as you are there).

      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


      • #4
        Re: Ciao tutti

        Thanks guys.

        Strangely enough I have a large pile of block paving bricks which I lifted from my driveway recently and I had intended to use them solely for the decorative work on the oven. These bricks are solid throughout and designed to be driven on by road vehicles so I presume they will have high compression characteristics. Are you saying that they may also be used as fire brick substitutes?

        Great photos, by the way.


        • #5
          Re: Ciao tutti

          It's not the best, because the high alumina content in fire bricks gives excellent heat retention, thermal stability, and durability.

          James talks about cheap ovens in Italy being made out of plain fired terra-cotta, in other words the same fired red clay as house bricks, that just don't cook as well.

          This said, there have been ovens made out of high-fired bricks, which I think you call there "engineering bricks" which work ok. But the real cost of building your oven is the time you put into it. The little extra it costs to get real refractory liners and insulation will give you decades of satisfaction.
          My geodesic oven project: part 1, part 2


          • #6
            Re: Ciao tutti

            Much appreciate your advice Dmun.

            This is going to be a fairly long project for me so I think I'll just take my time and do my best to source the correct materials. Heck, there must be somewhere in Scotland I can buy fire-bricks, after all they still build houses with chimneys here.

            The quest continues...............


            • #7
              Re: Ciao tutti

              If it's any help, I've found better results on google etc by using the more technical tems like "refractory" rather than fire brick or looking for kiln or furnace products.

              From what I can tell these products are a bit like a dark art that the initiated need only know about. That is: a specialised product that if you need to ask about it then you don't need to know. A bit like the old saying: If you have to ask how much then you can't afford it.....