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Stone Work Photos and Ideas - Forno Bravo Forum: The Wood-Fired Oven Community



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You will notice a new forum at the top of the main page called, "Ask Me Anything". This forum will be used for live one hour "Ask Me Anything" (AMA) sessions hosted by people who are knowledgeable in different areas pertaining to wood fired ovens. How it works:
- Each AMA will have a "sticky" thread where the community can post questions they would like answered during the live session. This will allow everyone to participate even if you can't be online for the live session. These questions will not be answered by the host until the live AMA; if you need an answer quickly, you should post it in the appropriate Forum area for the community to respond.
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To kick off our AMA feature, we have invited author, chef and master bread maker and host of Pizza Quest, Peter Reinhart, to be our first host! Peter will be in the Forum on Monday, February 15th, from 7:00 - 8:00 pm EST. If you are unable to be online during the live session, you can post your questions in the sticky post. Peter will answer those questions during the live session on February 15th. You can view Peter's answers to your questions as well as what happened during the live session in the session thread.

We hope you enjoy this new feature! Please let us know if there is a topic that you'd like to have as an AMA and we'll look for a host!

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Stone Work Photos and Ideas

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  • Stone Work Photos and Ideas

    Chad had the good idea of creating a sticky thread where you can post your ideas and photos for stonework. This can include trim and finish ideas, enclosure design, outdoor kitchen elements, nearby walls, framing your oven opening and wood store -- and anything else.

    So, give us your thoughts on techniques, design, materials, tools, etc. We look forward to seeing lots of activity in this thread.
    Pizza Ovens
    Outdoor Fireplaces

  • #2
    So you guys want to talk about stonework huh?

    Stonework by Nick Onassis, Adam Olmsted and Edward Faktorovich. Rock selected and painstakingly transported from river beds in Alta Dena, four beaches, Costa Rica and various rock venues on the East Coast.
    Last edited by redbricknick; 08-16-2006, 10:28 PM.


    • #3

      I was in Anacortes Washington a couple weeks ago on my way home from Orcas Island in the beautiful San Juan Islands. A friend who knows about my oven and wall project told me of a cool place there called Causland Park. It is a Memorial park for Veterans. It has some fascinating rockwork to say the least. Check out the pics. http://myweb.facstaff.wwu.edu/chad/Causland%20park/
      Renaissance Man
      Wholly Man


      • #4
        Tip when working with mortar

        I have done construction for years as a carpenter and now doing my own masonry work had left me with dry dry hands. I hate working with gloves. Anyway, I remembered what an old time mason told me about the caustic nature of mortar. At the end of the day, he rinses his hands with plain vinegar. I have been doing that lately and they feel immediately softer and better for it. I just take a small splurt out of the cider vinegar bottle and "wash my hands" with that without rinsing. Works wonders.
        Renaissance Man
        Wholly Man


        • #5
          concrete has a high pH (alkaline) some say on the order of 15 but when it dries more like 12. High alkaline is why the steel does not rust when buried in the concrete. Think opposite of alkeline or base which is acid and will destroy metal. Vinegar on the other hand is a few ticks below water, neutral pH of 7.0 or close to it if you have a good water filter and don't live in LA (our pH is closer to 7.5), sorry vinegar is around a 3 on the pH scale.

          Generally you don't want to mix your acids and base as the chemical reaction will cause a large amount of fast acting - heat. But both the concrete and the vinegar are "weak" solutions in water.

          Finally like the Richter scale for earthquakes the pH scale is on a log scale, think in terms of 10 there going from a 7 to an 8 is 10 times jump.


          ps left out the obvious of why he treated his hands with vinegar after cleaning up the tools at the end of the day - it reacts with the residue lime and neutralizes it.
          Last edited by jengineer; 08-24-2006, 07:23 AM. Reason: left out the obvious


          • #6
            I agree with Jengineer on all of the above except the mixing acid and base causing a chemical reaction. His last statement about mixing acid and base on the hands is correct, you neutralize the alkalinity of residual mortar on the hands with vinegar. Chemical reactions (many of which do give off heat based on the energy released with the chemical bond formed) are a separate issue from pH change from adding acid to alkaline. Some chemical reactions that are 'available' to occur do so more easily at one pH or another, which would be a reason you might see a heat releasing reaction when an acid and base are mixed, but it is not from the pH change.
            Concrete or mortar bonding is an example of a chemical reaction process. I poured a few concrete side shelves for the sides of my oven landing and after troweling smooth and pigmenting them I covered with tarp and left on my kitchen table to cure. They were nicely warm from those nice chemical bonds forming when I checked on them 12 hours later. It takes me right back to college chemistry lab.
            On the acid base side again, human tissues (skin, eyes, stomach) are much more susceptible to most alkaline damage than acid burns. For mortar work I like the cheap cotton gloves with the latex palms - they breathe but still provide protection from alkali and a good grip. However,vinegar seems to make sense too. Nice tip Janprimus!


            • #7
              vinegar shminegar.

              That's all well and good with the vinegar and everything, but seriously guys, how awesome is our oven stand?


              • #8
                It is MOST AWESOME. It looks excellent!

                My Oven Thread:


                • #9
                  Che bella. Did you use mortar hidden in the back of the stone, with the nice tight joints showing in the front?

                  Pizza Ovens
                  Outdoor Fireplaces


                  • #10
                    Sorry to get off track on the post, I didn't recognize that as a block stand, I thought is was the beginning of a rock wall (I'm still having a hard time wrapping my mind around that as the base for a pizza oven - it looks thin, do you have concrete block behind the facade?). I eagerly await pictures of your progress. Will you continue the stone up the rest of the oven?


                    • #11
                      Hands and Mortar


                      I work with mortar about three days per week, so I'm quite familiar with what it will do to hands, particularly if the mortar has been dyed, which makes it even more caustic. One partial solution to alligator skin is to take preventative action. There's a product out there called "Gloves in a Bottle." Although it does not prevent caustic burning completely, it really, really slows it down. At the end of the day, I wash my hands then use vinegar.

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


                      • #12

                        Thankyou for your kind comments all. Yes, we do use hidden mortar. We dry fit the rocks, then backfilled them to our wall of cinder blocks. We faced the cinderblock wall with bricks so the inside of the wood storage area would look nice, and used the top of the brick wall to rest our hearth slab form on. We're leaving the durock board in, and bonding it to the slab with rubber coated durock screws. Three sides of the hearth stand are cinderblock, with all the cores rebar'd and filled with cement. Shot twenty hours of footage so far. I'm going to burningman now.


                        • #13
                          Coddled cinder blocks

                          My cinder blocks are still naked, I hadn't considered wrapping them on the inside but I think I have plenty of brick - I might consider it now. Thank you for the pictures redbrick.


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by redbricknick
                            Thankyou for your kind comments all. Shot twenty hours of footage so far. I'm going to burningman now.
                            You should post some of your footage on youtube.com. We would love to see it. That is some fine work there Nick, looks mighty good.

                            Renaissance Man
                            Wholly Man


                            • #15
                              Stone work question of a different sort

                              I plan to face my typical Pompeii oven design in a Beehive (equilateral Gothic arch) shape similar to what Patrick of Ireland has done.

                              Unfortunately I do not have access to flat stone and must make due with the 'roundish" type glacial till boulders available to me. A dry construction seems out of the question so I am planning on using a wet mortar construction.

                              Question 1: I am looking for a material that is waterproof, pliable and can take the temperature reached on the outside of the vermiculite/cement insulating layer over the dome. The intent is to prevent any rain water or snow melt that might eventually find its way through the fieldstone from reaching the vermiculite/cement insulating layer. One possibility suggested is the rubber membrane material that is used on flat roofs. (I have yet to check its heat resistant characteristics)

                              Question 2: What is the best way to lay the rounded field stone to the correct shape without resting them directly on the vermiculite/cement layer. One suggestion was to first cement cinder blocks in a "staircase fashion" over but not touching the dome. The fieldstone would then be cemented to the cinder blocks.

                              Any comments on the suitability of the above or suggestions for other approaches would be most appreciated.

                              Fred Di Napoli