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Brick Oven Foundation Question - Forno Bravo Forum: The Wood-Fired Oven Community


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Brick Oven Foundation Question

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  • Brick Oven Foundation Question

    Can you build the brick oven base out of wood and use the standard concrete hearth you discribe on the forum? I dont want to build a slab for the concrete and black construction. If you can't use wood for the base is there another method one can use to build the oven with out a slab and block walls? How hot does the outside of the oven get with the standard 3 inch insulation discribed on this forum?

  • #2
    Re: Brick Oven Foundation Question

    Log cabin type construction? You need to find someone with a structural engineering background to determine the minimum design requirenmets to replace the block wall. First thing that comes to mind is re-using telephone poles. Back in the '70's a neighbor gave us about 3 poles that were replaceed for various reasons. They were the creosote soaked type - oozing black gunk. Pain to cut as they gummed up the works. Not sure if you would want to use that type today. There are other methods available to fight off the bad bugs that like wood. Off the cuff you could take these large round poles and stack them verticle in place of the block wall. I think the weight you need to support , using the conventional method as described in the forum and on the main Forno Bravo Web page, in on the order of 3000 lbs or more.
    Last edited by jengineer; 01-26-2007, 01:06 PM.


    • #3
      Re: Brick Oven Foundation Question

      Originally posted by roundmanone View Post
      Can you build the brick oven base out of wood and use the standard concrete hearth you discribe on the forum?
      Even if you are making your base out of wood, which I think is a bad idea because wood moves with humidity in large and varying ways, you still need some kind of foundation, because even pressure treated wood rots in contact with the ground. You would at the very least need sonotube cast supports in the corners of your wood structure, and as long as you are doing that, you might as well get longer sonotubes, and bring up the masonry suppport to your slab. You then could make whatever sort of wood covering you wanted to cover the base. The bottom line is that ovens are heavy and rigid. You really don't want them moving around.

      As a side note: when they put masonry chimneys in wood structures, they are put on massive concrete footings, and are self supporting. That's why they keep standing when a wood house burns down.
      My geodesic oven project: part 1, part 2


      • #4
        Re: Brick Oven Foundation Question


        I agree wholeheartedly. Building a completely wooden stand in place of a foundation and stand is a very poor idea. Quite apart from load bearing and rot, seasonal movement just about guarantees cracking of the oven. If frost heave is at all an issue, it's even worse.

        "Made are tools, and born are hands"--William Blake, 1757-1827


        • #5
          Re: Brick Oven Foundation Question

          While it is not be a good idea, that does not mean it cannot be done. Here is photo of an older oven that is built on a wood frame. They built a traditional wood beam and joist frame to hold the oven.


          Of course just because you can build it that way doesn't mean you should! The points David and Jim raise are right.
          Pizza Ovens
          Outdoor Fireplaces


          • #6
            Re: Brick Oven Foundation Question

            Thank you for the responses. I am in the planning stages and thought (briefly) about putting up a stand made of 8x8 in a lincoln log manner, I saw some pics from a Alan Scott stand out of wood that I liked but decided I didn't want any maintenance/weathering issues down the road


            • #7
              Re: Brick Oven Foundation Question

              Thank you everyone for the quick input. I'm going to use concrete slab and block construction unless someone has an affect cost effect method. Any tips on cutting cost for construction?


              • #8
                Cost Cutting

                When you take a look at the basic design I think you will find that the design is really minimalistic. It is up to the builder to build up from that. Say using a copper roof, adding marble in front, putting up a slate facade, gold leafing the dome (see the Denver Capitol building for that look).

                To reduce cost the most efficient way may be to come up with some contractor friend or get to know some contractors and ask to glean their unused material. That should get you some blocks of variaous size pattern and quality (hide it behind a facade). The ultimite scrounger seems to be 'redbricknick'. Sources to start are demoltion sites, Craigs List (web site) and even local manufacturers - they often have seconds that are 50% or more off the retail price.


                • #9
                  Re: Brick Oven Foundation Question

                  I have a friend that built a barrel style oven without a base or oven support slab.

                  He built brick foundation walls all the way around on concrete footings. Like a big square box. He filled it with crushed rock up to about 4" below the height of the outside wall, filled the next 4" with a sand/vermiculit mixture, then laid the oven floor tiles right on that.

                  If I were to take a similar approach with cost in mind, I would trench footings in the square shape of the oven support and frame/rebar/pour a concrete square outline 8" or so deep and just wider than concrete blocks. Dry stack concrete blocks in a square about 5 layers high and fill every other core with the cheapest concrete you can find (post hole stuff?). Concrete blocks at Home Depot are pretty cheap, but you might be able to get some free somewhere as previously suggested.

                  Fill the thing with rock or gravel up to 5" or so below the top. Then pour a 5:1 or so vermiculite portland mixture up to the height of the concrete blocks. Follow the standard directions from there.

                  This would save you a LOT of concrete, some rebar, and the cost of the wood for forming the oven support slab. Trade off with the cost of the gravel and rock to fill the box. And you lose wood storage underneath.
                  - JC


                  • #10
                    Re: Brick Oven Foundation Question

                    Nice thinking JC. That would work. If your goal is to absolutely minimize cost, or your choice is to build your oven under a certain price -- or not have an oven at all, this is a good plan.

                    There is book published in the UK on a brick oven (I don't think it's very good personally) that uses a square concrete block stand filled with rubble (without a hearth and wood storage area) as their standard method.

                    Still, unless cost is a serious issue, I would not recommend trading away the wood storage area.
                    Pizza Ovens
                    Outdoor Fireplaces


                    • #11
                      Re: Brick Oven Foundation Question

                      Here is another option Building the base

                      although you'd need a certain level of fabrication and welding skills to tackle something like this.


                      • #12
                        Re: Brick Oven Foundation Question

                        That's a nice option if you have exposed bedrock next to your deck.

                        Here's an interesting description of using a high mass barrel vault oven:

                        It takes minimum three firings separated maximum 24 hours to heat the outer parts of the oven core enough to contribute to a stable temperature in the oven. Preferably four to five fires over a couple of days should be used to fully store heat in the thermal mass. After that only smaller daily fires are needed, for example in the morning, to have the oven ready for use in the afternoon and evening.
                        This is great if you bake every day. Not so great otherwise.
                        My geodesic oven project: part 1, part 2