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Half Pompeii Half Vermicrete Oven

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  • Half Pompeii Half Vermicrete Oven

    Hi All,

    First post on here to share my oven build(s). I have built 2 ovens up to now having just the finishing touches to be completed to my second hopefully having the first cook this weekend.

    The first oven was a cheap and cheerful affair made exclusively from vermicrete and a pottery chimney. I used terracotta tiles for the floor and did the whole job for about £60. It was a great introduction to wood fired cooking and I loved learning to cook with it but it was obviously flawed but as a first attempt I was rather pleased with it. I used it for about 14 cooks over last summer at one point feeding 14 adults with relative ease.

    The biggest issues with the oven however where that the door was too big so it went through wood at a rate of knots and my choice of floor material it had very little thermal capacity and they would start to break on cool down.

    Oven two is my attempt at a sort of budget but full blown oven for someone with undeveloped trowel skills.

    First step was to break up and remove the old oven, add a course of bricks to allow me some depth to place and level the fire bricks for the oven floor,
    I followed this with a ring of firebricks to form the bottom 22cm of the inner oven. I then packed 5:1 vermicrete around this to hold them in place and to act as insulation. This was covered with a tarpaulin to dry
    I made a mould in the garage to form the top curved portion of the inner oven the flue (6" logburner flue) was cast in at this point.
    after drying for a week the oven was carried out and placed ontop of the form and vermicreted together.
    the whole oven was then skimmed with a standard mortar mixture (4:1 sand to cement) to give the roof some thermal mass.
    The whole oven was then insulated with 2 layers of glass wool pipe lagging insulation held down with chicken wire and then skimmed twice more the first time to cover up the chicken wire the last as a smooth decorative coat.

    I am currently waiting for the second skim to dry to allow me to paint the whole thing white and then tile around the door way. Any questions let me know!
    Last edited by Theo_Dot; 02-14-2019, 09:15 AM.

  • #2
    Pictures would help
    My build thread


    • #3
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      Pictures of the process here, also its always good to be friends with an old bricky!
      Attached Files
      Last edited by Theo_Dot; 02-14-2019, 12:49 PM.


      • #4
        last few photos below, including original oven


        • #5
          I could be wrong (hope so), but it appears that there’s no insulation under the floor bricks apart from sand. It is vital to insulate the oven over the top and sides as well as underneath. Heat rises via convection, but will travel equally well in any direction by conduction, including downwards. Sand alone is not a great insulator as only the airspaces between the grains will act as insulation. Contact points between grains are where heat can easily move via conduction.
          Kindled with zeal and fired with passion.


          • #6
            Yeah fortunately I have done a layer of glass bottles just below the sand the firebricks are on. Not hugely technical but seems to work pretty well!