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Hello from sunny Lake District (UK) - Forno Bravo Forum: The Wood-Fired Oven Community


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Hello from sunny Lake District (UK)

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  • Hello from sunny Lake District (UK)

    Hello all,

    Shall I just say the mantra first?

    My name is Wlodek and I want to build a Pompeii style oven.

    OK, so now I can say I am a nomadic Polish academic, for the last 18 years in the UK, happily growing roots in the beautiful Lake District and working at a big university nearby. I am also a foodie, which seems to run in the family (my grown-up daughter is one too, my young son seems to be going that way as well). I have long been fascinated by wood propelled cooking, be it barbecuing, smoking or, more recently, using wood-fired ovens.

    I have been watching this forum for a couple of weeks and I am very impressed by the amount of expertise and good will floating around. I like the fact that it is not a dogmatic place, various ideas are tabled and discussed in a nice way. Helpful advice is on tap.

    My background is engineering, control engineering to be precise, so I have been reading the thermocouple threads with interest. However, I have never laid a brick in my life (I mean with mortar etc.), so this will be quite an adventure for me.

    I am at the stage of choosing the place for the oven and trying to learn enough to decide upon the construction itself. I like the traditional fire bricks construction, but I find the idea of patching (a reflection on my masonry skills) the dome at the top a little worrying (ditto). So, as experimental as it seems at the moment, I am leaning towards a couple (2-3) of courses of bricks followed by a refractory cast on top. All the other bits I think I am now OK with (theoretically). I know I'll struggle when I get to attaching the smoke chamber to the dome, but hey ... I can always ask here.

    So much for now.

    Best wishes from sunny Grange-over-Sands

    "Carpe diem." - Fish of the Day (The Uxbridge English Dictionary)

  • #2
    Re: Hello from sunny Lake District (UK)

    Hello Wlodek, and welcome.

    "Sunny Lake District?" Is that tongue in cheek, or is it actually sunny there in August? We visited once, in July, and absolutely loved the green hills and beautiful ponds. But I don't remember the sun! Fantastic place regardless. I'd love to go back someday with a backpack, raincoat, and comfortable set of boots.

    The wood oven is my #1 fun home improvement project ever. It's a centerpiece of conversation, source of heat, and a great place to make a meal!

    I'd never laid a brick before, neither had many folks whose ovens you can see in the forum. Perfection isn't critical at 800 degrees F.

    Read up and have fun!
    - JC


    • #3
      Re: Hello from sunny Lake District (UK)

      Hi Wlodek and welcome to this great forum.
      I was at your stage a c few months ago and now thouroughly enjoy the tradituion of using and cooking a host of goodies in my 40" Pompeii oven. I have posted it in Pompeii oven construction (by mistake) and then in the Brick oven photos under Neill's pompeii #4 and also #10.
      It goes from the foundations to the final cooking.
      In fact I am on here to post a new posting from yesterdays cook-up of breads, rolls, buns, roast chicken with veg and apple pie. There is no end to what you can do in them.
      get your location decided, your materials organised and go for it. If you get stuck, there are a heap of help right here to get you back on track.

      All the best with your build.

      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: Hello from sunny Lake District (UK)

        Thanks F.

        It is slightly (tongue in cheek). We do have sunny days, but not reliably so. If you are going walking, the gear you list is useful. It can be sunny one minute and wet and showery the next. This would probably be the reason for the English talking about weather a lot.

        Having said that, the views, the cloudscapes and the light more than compensate for this. Especially if you can watch it all from a partly (ever ready!) covered terrace with a pizza oven going, which is the idea for this project.

        I feel even more encouraged now

        "Carpe diem." - Fish of the Day (The Uxbridge English Dictionary)


        • #5
          Re: Hello from sunny Lake District (UK)


          Encouragement coming now from all sides! Thanks a lot. It will be more than a couple of months, as work is busy, especially term-time (University), and days get worryingly short once Autumn closes in.

          I am thinking of building the patio roof (or most of it) with some lights first, at the same time as the foundations, to shield me from the elements a bit and to lengthen the useful working hours.

          Best wishes,
          "Carpe diem." - Fish of the Day (The Uxbridge English Dictionary)


          • #6
            Re: Hello from sunny Lake District (UK)


            Looking for suppliers in Canada, I ran into this link that may be of some help to our UK contingent: Handsworth Refractories - Products. Looks like it would be worth checking out.

            "Made are tools, and born are hands"--William Blake, 1757-1827


            • #7
              Re: Hello from sunny Lake District (UK)

              Thanks for the pointer Jim, with your pointer it now looks like I can get all the materials easily and not at stupid prices. I also have quite a lot of nice recycled bricks and stone I want to use in the base.

              I'll be putting an initial "record" post together soon with suppliers list and my own design considerations, which are specific to the UK, and especially to the rainier areas.

              Best wishes,

              "Carpe diem." - Fish of the Day (The Uxbridge English Dictionary)