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Grand Rapids

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  • Grand Rapids

    I am in process, a long process, of building a brick oven in my tiny back yard. Actually the oven will take up a significant portion of it.
    In any case, I have a couple of questions that I am hopeing to get some info on.
    I called to talk to the local brick and supply store and the sales rep said that she would have some missgivings about using "heatstop" refractory cement in an outdoor application. She said that for outdoor fireplaces, which they do a lot of, they use type N mortar... She thought that because of the extreems in temprature (we have a somewhat real winter here in Grand Rapids, Michigan) that it may not hold up.
    So My first question is: is there anyone who has build an oven in northern climes that can speak to this?
    The next question that I have is in regards to the "island hearth" mentioned in the instructions. We are bread people, the pizza thing is just a bonus. Has anyone on here done this, and if so, do you use full fire bricks or the split bricks? Does this go directly on the hearth foundation slab or on top of the vermiculite layer and the extra vermiculite to bring the rest of the hearth area up to the right level?
    The final question I have for today is in regards to chimney design. I once saw a diagram of an oven that showed the vent in front of the door (normal), but the flue actually came back over the top of the oven and then the chimney came up in the back of the structure. Any thoughts on this approach? Pros? Cons?



  • #2
    Re: Grand Rapids

    Hi, Dan, welcome.

    The thermal shock of cold winters is nothing compared to the 800 degree change when you fire your oven. Heat stop or (Ref-mix) is the best. Use it if you can afford it. Only a few ovens here are not subject to freezing. Heat-stop forms a strong reliable waterproof bond. DO NOT use type N or type S portland based mortars. They will not stand the heat.

    Bread v. Pizza. You may want a bit of extra thermal mass. Someone here added a layer of splits under the floor of full fire bricks, or you can just use a slug of concrete. Remember, this all goes over the insulation layer. For multiple bakes from a single firing you want more mass. If you are going to bake single batches of bread, the thickness in the plan is fine.

    Code allows two 30 degree bends in your chimney, so yes, you can route the chimney to the back. This is easier if you are using the insulated stainless chimney systems, but it can also be done with some effort with masonry chimneys. Forget any "squirel tail" notions that you see with the flue curving up over the dome with an idea of recycling heat. Doesn't work, and more, recycles cold air when you are trying to do retained heat baking.

    Good luck with your project.
    My geodesic oven project: part 1, part 2


    • #3
      Re: Grand Rapids

      Dan, welcome onboard, I live in rockford, about 10 min. from you and built my cast geodesic dome oven last april and have been enjoying its fruits ever since. Anyway I buy my refractories from grandrapids firebrick. Actually more accurately I buy my refractories from e-bay from grandrapids firebrick and then pick them up at their location at the ann st. exit. Their products are designed for metal smelting, so they are overkill, but reasonably priced. E-mail me and we can discuss your project further, I also know of an alan scott oven about 2 miles from here.
      Happy hunting.
      Eddie Schmidt[/I]


      • #4
        Re: Grand Rapids

        Thanks for the input. I think that I will be here quite frequently over the next few weeks...
        eddie, I will most certianly be in touch with you. It is exciting to find out that there are others here in W Mi.