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Cooter's pompei - Forno Bravo Forum: The Wood-Fired Oven Community


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Cooter's pompei

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  • Cooter's pompei

    Hello all

    I have just completed the support slab and feel as though i am really just at the starting line
    The tube in the center is provision for a thermocouple,which i may or maynot install
    Reading ahead through the plans is a bit daunting but exciting
    With the next stage being the vermiculite thermal layer I am thinking of just forming up the actual footprint of the dome and its entrance
    I am wondering how structurally strong or resilient to wear and tear the vermiculite layer is?

  • #2
    Re: Cooter's pompei

    Hey Cooter,

    The vermiculite layer isn't very attractive... it might be best to plan to cover it with something, stucco, tile, rock chips, or like Frances, 'twirly bits'.



    • #3
      Re: Cooter's pompei

      I don't remember if you said if you are going with an igloo or a box structure over the dome. If you are going to igloo it, I would keep the vermiculite layer to the size of the dome, including the dome walls. If you are going to have the extra space a box structure give you, I would make it slightly (an inch or two) larger than the dome footprint. But I am no expert by any stretch of the imagination

      Your progress looks great, by the way



      • #4
        Re: Cooter's pompei

        The vermiculite is strong in compression (as in under your floor) but it's not strong at all in resistance to abrasion and wear and tear. I made a vermicrete pad under my floor and landing, and it did just fine. But you can pick at it very easily- it scrapes and gouges easily and isn't weather resistant as a finish. I used cove base as my form and I left it on as long as I could while I built my dome to protect it. Once you're finished, you will protect it with whatever you choose to finish the project with- just don't use it as a finish. I think CVdukes had a problem with that- used it on the roof and it doesn't hold up well for that use.



        • #5
          Re: Cooter's pompei

          Thanks for the info

          I am building an igloo so will just pour a slab the size of the external dimension
          I was thinking of doing the layer in two parts..
          First using a piece of 4'' garden edging in a complete circle, then boxing up the floor of the vent landing and oven landing as a separate pour
          I am off gathering resources today and have a question on bricks

          I have a pottery background and fortunately (or unfortunatly) been storing a stack of bricks from a dismantled kiln .I'm hoping they will be suitable
          They are a creamy white colour with obvious porous structure weighing in at 5 lb
          I thought i would get new ones for the floor but am wondering if these bricks will be suitable for the Dome
          There would be no problem with the temp,but what about the thermal mass?
          The darker one in the photo is just weathered

          Cheers Cooter
          Last edited by Cooter; 11-17-2008, 01:51 PM.


          • #6
            Re: Cooter's pompei

            I would guess that they are probably suitable, given they were part of a kiln, but curious as to what size they are and how much they weigh. If part of a kiln, then they would not be insulators, so should be fine. Do you have enough to do everything you need, or do you plan on suplementing with some other bricks?



            • #7
              Re: Cooter's pompei

              i thought i would get new for the floor to ensure a smooth uniform finish
              but there are plenty to do the dome
              Some of them have a little wear and tear,But i thought i would use the fresh cut face as the internal oven surface
              I will take a sample when I look at floor bricks, they may be able to give me an assessment on their composition and suitability
              Last edited by Cooter; 11-17-2008, 03:04 PM.


              • #8
                Re: Cooter's pompei

                The thermal layer has now been layed.I found the vermicculite cement a very interesting mixture to work with.I can see some fun and games when I try to get the thermal layer over the dome to stick
                I have decided to proceed with the kiln bricks even though they are a little on the light side (5lb instead of 8lb)
                There is no doubt they will be up to the rigours of thermal cycling,so I will increase the thermal mass by putting a 25mm layer of refractory cement over the back of the bricks ( thanks Neill )
                Will be shopping for the floor today at Little Hampton bricks,aquiring some new clay pavers
                I,m planning an arched entrance so its into the fantastic forum to research that transition area
                Cheers cooter


                • #9
                  Re: Cooter's pompei

                  Well I achieved more than i expected yesterday,with a run around for materials and the floor down
                  Its only fair that this happens occasionally to make up for the days where there seems to be derailment at every turn


                  • #10
                    Re: Cooter's pompei

                    making progress!!!

                    I think the red floor with the white brick dome is gonna look real good!!!

                    My oven progress -


                    • #11
                      Re: Cooter's pompei

                      cooter thanks for the photos of your progress sure made it look easy R U working from a plan ? how many bricks R U going to use for the whole project ? dome , floor , then outer ?
                      now i am getting ispiration


                      • #12
                        Re: Cooter's pompei

                        yes I'm working from the downloaded Forno bravo plans ,but after much trawling through the forum I am coming to treat them more as a guideline
                        You can really make variations and changes at every turn,but the principals of how the oven works are important
                        As far as bricks go i am using the remnants of a dismantled pottery kiln for the dome,which are probably not the perfect brick for the job,as they lack a bit of thermal mass.But on the positive side they will absorbe heat quickly and withstand the rigours of thermal cycling with ease
                        The floor is layed out with littlehampton clay pavers.At $1 a brick new I think it makes a nice even hard wearing surface
                        I will be starting the dome construction tomorrow which is going to be very satisfying
                        stay tuned
                        Cheers Cooter


                        • #13
                          Re: Cooter's pompei

                          Well the dome is underway and i have a clear couple of days to push forward
                          Its become an all consuming preoccupation of late so its great to see its form taking shape
                          I'm using the refractory cement mixture suggested by FB which is lovely and silky but learnt a good lesson
                          My first batch i did by hand,but thought this has got knobs on it ,I'll use the mixer. Everything was going so well ...until it reached a tenacious sticky consistency in the back of the bowl and would mix no more. In fact the bowl pivotted so the mouth was pointing vertically
                          So with gloved hand i retrieved the mix,cleaned the mixer and retired it to the shed
                          I have been using a piece of timber pivotted on the centre floor to keep my shape so far,and still undecided on how to tackle gravity as it closes in
                          Should be there sometime today
                          Another little skill aquired yesterday was working out the right length of time to dunk my bricks in water prior to using.If layed dry they sucked the mortar mixture dry in a nano second making adjustments impossible,and if dunked too long they just refused to do as they were told. So with my system in place i shall push on...


                          • #14
                            Re: Cooter's pompei

                            The learning curve and the dome curve are both pretty steep....

                            Its looking good! Enjoy the build while it lasts.
                            "Building a Brick oven is the most fun anyone can have by themselves." (Terry Pratchett... slightly amended)



                            • #15
                              Re: Cooter's pompei

                              Looking good Cooter! I don't remember hearing that bricks could soak up too much water to be workable before, so I learned something new to watch out for when I get to that point.

                              Are you using the "roll your own" refractory mortar recipe from the FB plans or the Refmix mortar that FB sells?