Any tips and / or advise you can give me about building the Mattone Cupola?

  1. DO NOT OVER PAY FOR CASTABLE REFRACTORY!! We have spoken with almost every castable dealer in the US and we can tell you prices range from $35 a bag to $80 a bag! $80! Castable Refractory should be around $35 - $45 a bag… anymore than that and you should call the manufacturer direct.

  2. Mix the castable refractory and the water to the manufacturers specifications! Castable isn’t like cement you use to pour a sidewalk - it’s much more dry and firm. The proper water ratio is VERY important when mixing the refractory and packing the oven mold.

  3. Pack the refractory SLOWLY yet FIRMLY! This is probably one of the most important parts of building the oven. When packing the refractory with a wood dowel, you will notice that the castable is very sticky. If you pack too quickly the refractory will stick to your dowel and create an airpocket in the refractory - and this is bad! Pack the refractory slowly and firmly… it’s not a race and it will save you a lot of headaches down the road!

  4. You may have some foam sticking to the finished parts of the oven when stripping the foam away. Try to get off as much as possible, but don’t put too much effort into getting every little bit off. The foam on the outside of the oven won’t be seen… and the foam on the inside will not withstand the test fires. Just remove as much as possible, but don’t waste too much time trying to get every little foam bead off the finished oven parts.