Author Topic: FIRE BRICKS: light, medium or heavy duty?  (Read 6026 times)

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Offline texmex

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FIRE BRICKS: light, medium or heavy duty?
« on: July 26, 2011, 06:09:52 PM »
Can any of you advise me on what is best type of firebrick for WFO floor? 

I keep reading various configurations and reasoning , but there seems to be nothing set in stone as far as why one brick will work better than another. 

Mostly I've noticed people staying away from lighter brick because of heat retention being poor, while I'll see info saying that the underlayment can be part of the heat retention....I just don't know what type brick to seek for an ideal fit.  I'll be making the dome out of local adobe, but I do want a firebrick floor. Right?
Reesa


Offline shuboyje

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Re: FIRE BRICKS: light, medium or heavy duty?
« Reply #1 on: July 26, 2011, 11:21:40 PM »
I think part of your issue is due to the fact that there are both light duty bricks and light weight bricks, which are two totally different things.  Lightweight bricks are a totally different animal, they will be nearly white and weigh a couple pounds.  They are an insulating material and aren't commonly used in pizza ovens.  For your cooking floor they are useless.

Light duty bricks on the other hand are a hard dense brick that will weigh about 8 pounds.  These are the common firebricks generally used for fireplaces and they will work great for your oven floor, especially in an adobe oven, they will last far longer then the adobe.  You should be able to find them at any masonry supplier for about $1.50 a brick give or take a quarter or so.  Medium and high duty bricks are specialty items that you generally have to get from a refractory supplier.  They have higher alumina content then light duty bricks and therefore are harder, heavier, and can withstand higher temperatures.  They are also considerably more expensive.  Light duty bricks are already rated for far higher temperatures then your pizza oven will ever hit, so again they are the way to go. 

Hope this helps.  If you want some guidance on insulation also let me know, I'm more then happy to help.
-Jeff

Offline texmex

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Re: FIRE BRICKS: light, medium or heavy duty?
« Reply #2 on: July 27, 2011, 06:59:18 AM »
I see. Thanks for the clarification, and the offer to help, Jeff.  I did find the Forno Bravo site and started reading there last night.  Tons of info to absorb.

One of the things I find interesting is that the ideal situation concerning adobe for insulating properties in WFO's is the straw involved ,which partially burns away when the oven is fired, leaving a lighter weight stone with more porosity thusly creating better insulating properties.  Why is the adobe now improved by loss of mass while a firebrick with less density (ie: lighter weight, more porous) not ideal for a floor? 

I would think that type of brick would actually be better for the entire oven including the floor, so long as the underbase of the floor is thick and the entire oven covered in dense refractory cement.   Perhaps the porosity in light-wieght as opposed to light-duty bricks is not the same animal. of course, that must be it..but why? Why? 

For me, it doesn't add up in theory, reasoning, or any other fancy words I can think up, but in practice it appears by what you are telling me that I am totally off base.  I'm one of those gotta see it to believe it gals.  ::)  I do love immersion training sessions especially hands on where it's in my face and proven to me-but I tend to doubt many things presented to me, since my brain has already convinced me of something else.  Stupid, eh....but for me it's a right-on way of thinking, especially since I still don't know how my computer actually works (or my television, for that matter)  and then I begin to doubt these things actually exist, or that one type of brick can be that much better than another!   :-D 

On that note, I also do not want to build an oven that I'll have to then tear down cuz it's a piece of crappola! 

Please chime in, everyone who has an opinion experience, cuz I need some edumacation on this firebrick thing.  Can you see how stubborn I am?  LOL.  Tell me why I am so wrong in my theory.  I obviously don't get it.

Again, Jeff, I do think you answered all of this in your reply, but I need a good swift kick in the noggin' to loosen up some of these gosh-durned preconceived notions.

-Reesa
Reesa

Offline Tscarborough

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Re: FIRE BRICKS: light, medium or heavy duty?
« Reply #3 on: July 27, 2011, 08:47:40 AM »
Because lightweight firebrick are also called insulating firebrick.  They are soft and friable and are used for high temperature insulating applications like kilns.  They are normally not exposed.

The whole concept of an oven is that of a heat sink.  You want the mass of the oven to absorb and hold heat, then radiate it back into the oven.  Hence you have a refractory mass exposed directly to fire that is heavily insulated by material that is NOT exposed to fire.

You could use the the insulating firebrick in the place of perlite/vermiculite, but they are very expensive and have lower performance values than loose fill insulation.  Check out the Forno Bravo site for the best WFO plans available, and they are free.

Offline texmex

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Re: FIRE BRICKS: light, medium or heavy duty?
« Reply #4 on: July 27, 2011, 09:46:57 AM »
I think these concepts have found a fissure in my thick head and are beginning to seep in....  :-D

I did find this today:

http://www.fornobravo.com/pompeii_oven/brick_primer.html

I also found a mention in the FornoBravo forums about having the ebook instructions available for kindle back in 2005, and nobody was interested.  I may approach James (the moderator) who brought it up, and see if that's something that will now find interest 6 years later.  Considering all the pizza and bread pics I've downloaded to this computer, I may blow it out with yet another download!  Time to clean up some of my files and save to discs.

Come hell or high water, I am gonna be building this oven.  Thanks for your help, I truly appreciate it.

Hopefully I won't end up like this:
Reesa

buceriasdon

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Re: FIRE BRICKS: light, medium or heavy duty?
« Reply #5 on: July 27, 2011, 03:34:39 PM »
http://www.sunset.com/garden/backyard-projects/project-sunsets-classic-adobe-oven-00400000012056/
If you have already looked at this,sorry. The portland cement is what helps it stay together longer.
Don

Offline texmex

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Re: FIRE BRICKS: light, medium or heavy duty?
« Reply #6 on: July 27, 2011, 04:55:26 PM »
http://www.sunset.com/garden/backyard-projects/project-sunsets-classic-adobe-oven-00400000012056/
If you have already looked at this,sorry. The portland cement is what helps it stay together longer.
Don

Thanks Don, I already have that one bookmarked.   8)

I know I can get refractory cement locally.  It's the firebrick flooring that's a bother cause I can't find anybody giving it away on craigslist!  I honestly have not called around yet. 

I am considering using cordierite for the floor.  Probably gonna toss that consideration out the window, but it's there lingering in another bit of my cracked grey matter. 

My cousin and I went to get some nice big branches of free mulberry today.  There's always free pecan wood as well around here.  Plus, her backyard is full of really fine clay, and the adobe bricks are very reasonably priced in Las Cruces.

I'm trying to go as lowball CHEAP as possible here by using found items for most of my build...My father left quite a bit of oddball remnants from older builing projects. I've got plenty of sakrete for a slab, rebar, chicken wire, assorted straight lengths of lumber, plenty of stone and brick, lathe wire, stucco, but no cinderblock!  I reluctantly used the cinderblock to place under the big ol' shed that was parked in it's box on the side of the house when I moved in. Dad got too sick, never got around to building it, and when I needed help to erect it (to get dad's tools out of the house!), my helpful bro said, sure, but I can only help you today, so forget putting down that concrete slab and let's use these cinderblocks.  Hey, it worked just fine, but now I'm scrambling to figure out what to build my pizza oven base out of. That's gonna take some time to figure out what I've got, and if it will all work out, or I'll be scrounging the ads for awhile.  Why did I not go and demolish that craigslisted cinderblock building for free brick about 4 months back?  I knew that ad was calling out to me!   :-D

Reesa

Offline Tscarborough

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Re: FIRE BRICKS: light, medium or heavy duty?
« Reply #7 on: July 27, 2011, 07:05:57 PM »
Use the adobes for the base.  My entire outdoor kitchen is reclaimed/found/given materials, other than the cast iron grill and the cement and a few firebrick when I ran short.  Less than a grand, total, not counting beer.

Offline texmex

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Re: FIRE BRICKS: light, medium or heavy duty?
« Reply #8 on: July 27, 2011, 08:24:39 PM »
Use the adobes for the base.  My entire outdoor kitchen is reclaimed/found/given materials, other than the cast iron grill and the cement and a few firebrick when I ran short.  Less than a grand, total, not counting beer.

Sounds pretty good, but I'd rather use found material for the base and only use adobe for the oven dome itself.  Around here everyone has a wall like those shown below, and there is always leftover stone, sand and gravel that people offer for free on Craigslist.  I don't relish the thought of building a freakin' free-form stone base, but I will go there if the cinderblock doesn't turn up.  I've got a lot of this stone here already, but not quite enough for a full base from what I can see. 

This is probably gonna be a funky freak-flying franken dome.  Sounds good to me.

Reesa

Offline Tman1

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Re: FIRE BRICKS: light, medium or heavy duty?
« Reply #9 on: July 27, 2011, 10:44:01 PM »
You can use regular old clay bricks as the deck. I found some on Craigslist that were originally used as a outdoor patio floor.


Offline texmex

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Re: FIRE BRICKS: light, medium or heavy duty?
« Reply #10 on: July 28, 2011, 08:17:18 AM »
I just haven't been able to find a local supplier for firebrick when searching online...I have to make some phone calls.  Red brick will do in a pinch, but when I do run across firebrick 4 days after I finish my oven, I won't be happy, unless I build a mortarless oven like your's Tman.  :-D

Reesa

Offline Tman1

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Re: FIRE BRICKS: light, medium or heavy duty?
« Reply #11 on: July 28, 2011, 08:20:38 AM »
It's not pretty, but it does work very well for pizza.  You may want to look into soapstone as well.  Increasing your options increases the possibility of finding a good deal.
Good luck!

Offline texmex

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Re: FIRE BRICKS: light, medium or heavy duty?
« Reply #12 on: July 28, 2011, 10:48:59 AM »
It's a cool thing you made there with your pizza oven.
http://www.fornobravo.com/forum/f43/building-oven-14269.html

Straightforward and effective!


Today I found some cinderblock!

Not enough cinder block for a complete base, but enough to make me take out my cold chisel. 

THis February we had bad freeze and a few of my plants did not survive.  I needed to pull out this dead Spanish broom and I looked again at the flower-bed my dad built which has never been a good place to grow anything. He intended it for container Gardening (impractical in this location and this heat), and it has a cement bed with a drain.  I always wished it wasn't there, cuz that's the ideal place where we used to grow tomatoes back in the day.  So now it will be gone, I will get some brick, and I can plan on planting tomatoes again. 

I chiseled away and thought, damn, he did pretty good for not being a mason...It seemed like forever, but actually it was about 5 minutes to get that first brick off, wondering what I was gonna find in the interior holes of the cinderblock...whew, just dirt.  the next 2 bricks came away easily, then a batch of 4 more.  I'm set, and will chip away on this in the next few days.

I've got plenty of beveled brick, but that won't work for the floor, so I'll have to pull out some of these straight bricks that currently serve no purpose from around my sage plant that also did not make the freeze.(that's if I actually have to use these for a hearth).  I also have a bit of river rock and quite a lot of stone, but I just found more stone last night on craigslist. 

My base will have a rock face for sure, cuz it will fit right in with all the rest of the local rock here. Anyway.  I guess I need to start my own build thread.

I know everyone likes pics, so I had to include these for now........
Reesa

Offline texmex

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Re: FIRE BRICKS: light, medium or heavy duty?
« Reply #13 on: August 19, 2011, 10:50:26 AM »
 ;D

Looks like I'm gonna start on my base this week!   

;D
Reesa

Offline TXCraig1

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Re: FIRE BRICKS: light, medium or heavy duty?
« Reply #14 on: August 19, 2011, 10:56:49 AM »
Awesome. I can't wait to see come together.

CL
Pizza is not bread.


 

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