Advice on Oven inside 1940’s Montana Ore Car

This is a great family project involving 4 generations of Montanans. We are converting this 1940’s era ore car that my grandfather would have used after he returned from WW2 while working in an old Nye, Montana chrome mine. It’s a bit tricky but I believe it will work thanks to the great instructions, Foam Form and the user Forum at Brickwood!

The plan is to build a metal platform (rather than masonry) with an insulated hearth slab on top to support the oven, which will be positioned on our patio near our metal-sided garage, with a chimney going above the house roofline. The Barile foam form will make this much easier, allowing us to build up the firebricks and add the insulation blanket, before lowering the metal ore car down over the top. My son and I have reviewed the site and all the instructions at Brickwood and believe it will work. We do have a few challenges yet to solve and would greatly appreciate input.

Interior Dimensions:(Photo illustration attached)
35 1/2” long (will need to cut off the end of the foam form)
29 1/4” wide
27” tall with 14.5” vertically straight before radius starts

Living in Montana and because we cook pizzas every Sunday night (at least) we need the best insulation possible due to the cold winters. With the constraint of the ore car and needing to maximize cooking space, I believe we will subtract 1” from each side for insulation and subtract approx 1 1/2” for firebrick splits on flat edge. Questions:

  • For the most insulation in smallest space, should I purchase 1 of the 8lb insulation blanket instead of the 6lb variety? Also, we have more height than necessary, so I could put 2 or 3 layers on the top of the arch where most heat would be lost.
  • The firebricks are normally set on edge (Pg 13 of instructions), however this is 4 1/2” of thickness and would make the cooking space too small. I’m thinking of using splits on the flat edge or perhaps, cutting the 4 1/2 edge down to only 2 inches or something similar. Thoughts?

Because the ore car is taller than necessary, I plan to add 4” to 6” in the bottom to raise up the cooking floor by filling more sand and/or using more Insulating Castable. Would either be workable solutions?

The chimney concerns me as to how best to attach it to the metal roof of the ore car. Could I simply bend the DURATECH ANCHOR PLATE to fit the top?

Thank you for your time considering this unique project. ~Spencer