Saturday, June 19, 2010

bambino project

Nick: "Are you still looking at brick oven pictures?"
Me: "Yes, I'm still looking at brick oven porn."

I'm starting a new brick oven project.
My own design based on a Pompeii oven with the goal of making it small and portable for ad-hoc pizza parties in the park. I've built two ovens before with basically no knowledge and learned a few things. Now I've spent countless hours researching ovens and perusing forums contemplating what I would create next. I still like my old design and would build it again in heartbeat if I was in a permanent location.
That oven design broke all conventions (600lbs on a wood base using common brick and regular mortar) and still worked great, easily heating up 900 degrees when needed. They were not built to last long though which I never really care about anyway (I WAS RENTING). I don't want an oven to last 20 years either because then you don't get to build a new one.

Basic wire-frame for the oven mold. 26" diameter with a 13" height.
I like the fact I was just siting around reading oven blogs and just decided "I can make that" and after spending $6 on some wire I'm knee deep 5 hours later.

About 5 coats of plaster later. A few coats more and it will be perfectly round. This will serve as a mold for a fire clay/perlite mixture that will be 2" thick spread over the top. I'm looking for a light oven that will heat up and cool down quickly and be light enough to toss in the back of an SUV.
I always make small pizza's so this should easily fit a 12" or 14" pizza with room for wood or lump charcoal. A typical oven would have about 8-9" thickness for heat retention. That type of oven requires considerable time to heat up the mass but will retain that heat for hours. So, the smaller design will require constant fuel but should reach a good pizza temp in about 40 minutes. I'm also hoping I can keep the weight of just the dome portion around 150lbs (HA!) which would be about 1/3 the typical weight.

Final mold mock-up. This will be covered in plastic wrap and packing tape for the mold release. I'm sure you're saying to yourself "That looks redonkulous", and you're kinda right but it will work. The opening is slightly disproportional to the oven body but that's a factor of the extremely small scale. Trust me, it will work and be gorgeous. I'm going to use simple glazed white tile for the skin if it doesn't weigh too much otherwise I'll go ugly stucco.

The beauty of this design is, I'll have a mold to make as many ovens as I need. Since the ovens are relatively thin and transportable it should not matter that much if you crack one. You would just make another.

Total spent to date: $26 (I'm insanely frugal!).

To do: The mold still needs the opening and vent pipe configured and I will build a basic fire clay/perlite 2" thick platform for it to sit on. This platform will be separate so it transports lighter. I was thinking I could use a loose mixture of clay/sand between the oven and base as a kind simple caulk for when it's moved to a site and set up for for firing.

I'm officially at the 'jonesing' stage to see this thing fired up. It was particularly teasing to see a restaurant supply place with huge bags of lump charcoal sitting in front of their store 2 blocks from my place. I have to wait till Monday
to get to a ceramic supply house for a 50lbs bag of clay. I've seen many formulas for mixing refractory cement but I'm just going to wing it with an over the top perlite mix for lightness and see how it works. I think people go light on the perlite so it has density but I want the opposite.

1 comment:

proswell said...

this looks like a fantastically fun project