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How long does it take to build a brick Pompeii-style oven?

The short answer is long. Very long.

Of course it depends on your experience level, and how much time you are going to invest in building the oven on a daily or weekly basis, but you need to plan on it taking a long time. Possibly months. The best way of approaching building a Pompeii oven is to think of it more as a project, or a bucket list item, rather than a pizza oven. The actually using the pizza oven part comes later.

You need to cut nearly 200 bricks into relatively complex shapes, mix hundreds of pounds of mortar (either refractory mortar or fireclay mortar), accurate stack all of the bricks using a trammel or other type of form or tool, keep all the bricks from sliding down when the inward angle becomes more pronounced, cut a couple of handfuls of crazy, small shaped bricks to fill in the top of the dome, build two accurate brick arches (one for the oven opening and one for vent open), and cover the outside gaps in the bricks with either refractory castable or fireclay mortar.

That’s a lot. And that’s just what is required to build the oven dome. The oven floor, plus the oven stand, hearth, vent adapter and enclosure are all in addition to the task of building the dome.

To say the least, you should proceed with caution.

It’s also worth noting the paying a mason or building contractor to build a Pompeii Oven for you typically doesn’t make sense. Even if you could find someone to build the dome in a week who you paid $50 hour (which is probably a pipe dream), that’s a bare minimum of $2,000, and probably double that, just in labor.

Be sure the check the Forno Bravo Forum to see how other builders got along in their Pompeii Oven builds, and be sure to ask lots of questions.