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Hello from Minnesota - Forno Bravo Forum: The Wood-Fired Oven Community



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Hello from Minnesota

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  • Hello from Minnesota

    Hello everyone! I've been reading about wood-fired ovens for a while and am leaning towards a modular one, to save time. Does anyone else who lives in a climate like mine have an opinion on Casa versus Premio? Since the Premio has more insulation it seems like it could be a better choice. We had a bit of snow here even yesterday (end of April).

    Also - We're thinking of a simple floating slab, since digging a full foundation would require a LOT of digging up here. Has anyone in a similar climate used a floating slab, and if so, how level has it stayed?

    Thanks so much, everyone, for your guidance and wisdom!
    Elise in Minneapolis

  • #2

    I've seen several posts here saying a floating slab works in a cold, cold climate.

    Call Fornobravo and ask for Hiedi, (TEL: 800 407-5119, ext 14 I think), and ask your questions, she will get you the info you need.
    Lee B.
    DFW area, Texas, USA

    If you are thinking about building a brick oven, my advice is Here.
    Our One Meter Pompeii Oven album is here.
    An album showing our Thermal Breaks is Here.

    I try to learn from my mistakes, and from yours when you give me a heads up.


    • #3
      Re: Hello from Minnesota

      Thanks so much, Lee!
      Elise in Minneapolis


      • #4
        Re: Hello from Minnesota

        You don't need a foundation per se for the oven. The floating slab would easily be sufficient. What part of MN? West metro for me.
        My oven (for now):


        • #5
          Re: Hello from Minnesota

          Hi Tman -- we're in the Linden Hills neighborhood of SW Mpls, near Lake Harriet. I'm so happy to see that ovens work up here - even if we have to clear a path to them for 5 months of the year.
          Elise in Minneapolis


          • #6
            Re: Hello from Minnesota

            Hi EliseR,

            A floating slab sounds simple enough. Do you know what a floating slab is and the proper way to build it? I didn't until I looked it up and found this. What is a floating slab and why do I need engineered stamped drawings? Floating Slab.com has the answers. You can also Google "floating slab" to view various descriptions. You may not need stamped drawings but the general information is good and easy to understand on this site.

            It is more than just concrete poured into a 2 x 4 frame staked to flat ground. Look through the site and click on FAQ and other areas to get some idea before you start.

            Getting a good slab at grade (a floating slab is suitable if done properly) is essential to get your block stand and oven slab off to a good start.


            Here is the link to my oven number 1 construction photos!

            Here is the link to my oven number 2 construction photos!


            • #7
              Re: Hello from Minnesota

              1. Floating slab are to rest on undisturbed soil.
              Grammar aside, That's not what I learned: Six inches of well drained crushed rock keeps the water that causes frost heave away from the slab. It's sub-frost-line footings that are poured on undisturbed soil.
              My geodesic oven project: part 1, part 2


              • #8
                Re: Hello from Minnesota

                I'm just South of the TC, and a member of the "Saint Paul Bread Club" SPBC Home
                David S. Cargo (escargo) has classes on "Oven Building" that may interest you.

                Enjoy life! It's limited, you only get as much as you take.


                • #9
                  Re: Hello from Minnesota

                  Thanks, all! I appreciate all the advice.
                  Elise in Minneapolis


                  • #10
                    Re: Hello from Minnesota

                    Here right across the border in western WI. I had a patio poured last year. I told the guy who did it that I wanted a bump-out in the back for an oven... so he dug down around the periphery about another 8 inches and laid rebar, giving about a foot-thick reinforced edge.

                    The whole patio floats on the ground, except for the edge which is over some gravel.

                    Two caveats - it's part of a larger 15' x 30' patio, and my "ground" is an ancient sandbar, almost like play sand once you get down a foot or so.


                    • #11
                      Re: Hello from Minnesota

                      Are you building an oven only? or are you going to put other things on the slab also? ie patio, kitchen. If its just an oven I would think a perimeter thickened slab with rebar would work fine. If its going to be much more than that then you need to be careful about the design.
                      I have a cabin in northern MN and I am putting my oven in an outdoor kitchen attached to it. So I opted for footings down 52". And yes it was a major ordeal. Luckly I have a skid steer to dig the hole but it was no fun making the forms. Here a couple of photos.

                      Attached Files
                      My build thread:
                      My oven build pictures:


                      • #12
                        Re: Hello from Minnesota


                        Saw your build. Niiiice... But I'm "just" doing the oven. I'm in town, and couldn't even get a skid steer into my backyard if I wanted to.

                        The concrete guy also cut the patio so that when it cracks, it will crack along the scores rather than somewhere random.

                        Hoping to post some pics soon, I've got the retaining wall and oven drystacked and hope to be pouring soon.