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Jim's build for the common man

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  • Jim's build for the common man

    I'm finally throwing down: started my build today. I have no idea what I'm doing, (I'm a social worker not a mason) and have 2 young kids. So I've decided to do mine as simply as possible - no tapered bricks or anything else that isn't totally necessary. So read follow this thread if you're like me, with no experience, and trying to figure out if you can do it, too.

    Things got off to a bad start. First, I cheated a bit - had the guy fixing my patio make the foundation slab. Somehow I guess I gave the guy the wrong dimensions, and it was made too small. I don't really remember - this was a year ago - maybe he messed up. Plus, the slab was practically a trapezoid - very unsquare corners. Definitely his fault. But at least the patio looks great.

    After mulling it over, I've decided not to redo the slab myself, but roll with it. I started the block stand today. I'm not sure if the mortar had the right consistency. The blocks were pretty much level, but not perfect. If the bubble in the level was touching the line, I pronounced it okay and went to the next block, cause trying to get it perfect made me and my friend crazy.

    I wanted to make a 42" oven, but I could only fit a block stand 62.5"x78" on my slab, which will only fit a 36". However, Neil2 says I can cantilever (extend) my hearth slab out past the block stand, so maybe I'll do this to fit a 42". Any other thoughts from my new oven building brothers? (I assume not too many sisters, but there must be a few.)

    Praying to the god of pizza ovens for help. I'm officially obsessed with this now!
    Attached Files
    Here's mine:
    http://www.fornobravo.com/forum/f8/j...man-15992.html

  • #2
    Re: Jim's build for the common man

    Build the CMU up to the desired level, then form the slab to the dimensions that you want. The minor amount of cantilever is inconsequential.

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Jim's build for the common man

      I would suggest you find a good builder on this site and follow their work. That's what I did when building mine. When I became confused, which was a lot, I referred to their build and got a lot of answers. Good luck.
      My WFO project: http://picasaweb.google.com/stevprin/WFOSmallPhotos#

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Jim's build for the common man

        I agree that the amount of cantilever would be minor at best for a 42" oven. A couple of things from I learned from my build (which is still in process):

        1.The level of the blocks are not as inportant as the level of your hearth slab. You can make adjustments to the level by adjusting the forms for your hearth.

        2. Fire clay, don't sweat it if you can't find a supplier. Just go ahead and cut your shoulder course, you will have more then enough fire clay to mix with your sand for the leveling course.

        3. Do not be afraid to ask any in this forum a question, there are many who will give advise and guidence throughout your build. However they all have one very glaring short comming.....they will not come to the house to physically help you!

        4.Don't enlist help from your kids, I tried this with my son and the following events happened:
        a. He would go skiing out of state on the weekends I would be home
        b. After ski season, he took up fly fishing.
        c. After fishing, he got engaged
        Kids will do anything to get out of work

        Good luck with your build.

        Gary

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Jim's build for the common man

          Thanks, Gary! My son wants to watch Curious George, so he's not much more help. Looks like I'll be working on this about 3 hours/week at a time while my kids nap. So it'll go slow, but it'll get done eventually.
          Here's mine:
          http://www.fornobravo.com/forum/f8/j...man-15992.html

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Jim's build for the common man

            Sistah here!
            WRT the cantilevered slab, I agree that it will not be a problem, structurally. Just keep in mind that it most likely will affect the finished look of your enclosure and may limit your materials and styling options. In my world, that is an opportunity, but if you have something specific in mind for the finished look, you might see it otherwise.

            Don't sweat the small stuff and remember it's not rocket science...just keep telling yourself lots of guys and girls a lot dumber than you have done it
            Almost no one here had much or any masonry experience pre-WFO.
            Following or looking to the well-documented builds for help is a great idea, but don't let it intimidate you...there are some serious detail FREAKS around here.

            Have fun and good luck! Best project EVER!

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Jim's build for the common man

              Hello Jim,

              Golly, SPLATGIRL got it right. "It ain't rocket science". I stewed and stressed over how to build the oven I wanted. I think I looked at every oven build of the past ten years at least three times before deciding I could do it and be confident it would match or exceed what some others were doing. I'm not a mason or engineer but I do have a simple technical background and a huge bit of confidence now after a successful start on my oven.

              Search on "Dry stacked pizza oven" and see what a temporary oven looks like, then see what the evolution of a simple, no mortar, oven looks like, in the same search envelope. Those ovens cook fine pizza and bread just as they are, but as Splatgirl said, there are some detail oriented individuals who would have atrial fibrillations over such construction. I'm not knocking either method but trying to illustrate that both the detail oriented and casual builder can be successful. My next oven will be the temporary or casual type since it will suit my future plans for a property development plan.

              Something I learned is that a "so-so" level bubble tolerance can gang up on you and give a surprise at the end of the course that you have to adjust. I learned this as a surveyor.....slight errors add up and sometimes can't be adjusted out without a lot of time and effort. Do try to keep the bubble well within the marks since it will save you having to do a correction.

              Best of luck to you and please keep us posted on your progress.

              Cheers,
              Bob

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

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

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Jim's build for the common man

                My surveying mentor (My Grandfather) always said that it is easier to start perfect than it is to correct. Here is his theodolite, built in 1870 and in use until 1978 when we used it to lay out his swimming pool. Still in working order, although it needs a polish and calibration.



                (That is my Pop's hardhat and a pen and ink of my Circa 1979 workboots by Mom)

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Jim's build for the common man

                  Hello, Tscarborough,

                  Ah yes, I remember the old transits. Most of my work was with a Photogrammetry crew working for the state highway dept. We did mapping and highway construction surveys using aerial photos. Later we did county map projects with first order surveys using a Zeiss T-2 and T-3 and elevations with a NI-2. That is great work for a young, single fellow. I got to travel and see all parts of Arizona that few have ever viewed from trail or mountain-top.

                  The boots are familiar as well. I wore out several pair of Redwing boots with Vibram soles and several other brands nearly as good. Lots of memories.

                  Interestingly, many of the small towns that we stayed in had a pizza restaurant and of course lots of Mexican food cooked on a heath or bbq. I had occasion to see hornos and bread ovens in SE Arizona too.

                  Thank you for the pic of your dad's memories too.

                  Cheers,
                  Bob

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

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

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Jim's build for the common man

                    My survey work was commercial construction layout with modern (1980s, laser levels, no GPS) instruments. That particular instrument laid out most of the counties and a lot of the towns of the Mississippi Gulf coast after the Civil war.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Jim's build for the common man

                      Wow, what a great photograph, Tom. I just 'inherited' a folding rule just like the one pictured from my late father-in-law and it brought back memories of the one my grandfather (a carpenter) had. The theodolite is simply magnificent. Somehow, there is a romantic, hand/eye-measured element missing from today's precision digital surveying, kinda like the old black oil pots that lined soft shoulders and construction zones before streetlights and battery-operated beacons became commonplace.

                      Thanks for sharing.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Jim's build for the common man

                        Apizzanut,

                        In addition to Italian, I am a huge fan of mexican food and can only imagine the kinds of authentic Mex I can make in my oven once it's completed. Could you share the kinds of hearth-cooked dishes you enjoyed in these small towns? I had to chuckle at your term atrial fibrillation, the wavering connection of chambers

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Jim's build for the common man

                          Jim,
                          Good luck with the build, especially with the 3 hours per week part. Once you get started on this it becomes all consuming. That and your significant other will tire of the construction zone ambience of your patio.
                          I lurked for about 9 months before I took the plunge. Nobody's oven fell apart during that time, or since other than an occasional arch brick. If you go with the rectangular opening with rebar support virtually no chance of arch failure. It is a great project and fun to cook for your friends and family.
                          Enjoy the journey,
                          Eric

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Jim's build for the common man

                            Hello GianniFocaccia,

                            It's been a long time since I traveled as a surveyor but my most memorable Mexican foods cooked "al horno" were shredded goat meat, frijoles, various carnes, (mostly pork and chicken) baked tamales, and pan. Fresh tortillas cooked over a wood fired iron grill are delicious and are made in several varieties both thick (gorditas) or thin. I like the thin ones to wrap burritos.

                            If you want to cook Mexican food then there is much about spices and various chiles to learn. You should have a plethora of resources in and around your location for recipes and ingredients at the local mercados. An easy dish to cook inside of your wfo might be puerco pebil. You can make it spicy or mild. It is a dish I will make often since the meat can be used to make other dishes by shredding it and adding it as an ingredient to tacos, soups or as a topping for beans or rice. The spicy sauce is tasty spooned over rice or frijoles.

                            I hope this gets your taste buds tingling and encourages you to try some al horno Mexican food dishes.

                            Cheers,
                            Bob

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

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

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Jim's build for the common man

                              Nut,
                              That's sounds ridiculously delicious! Like most, the thought of memorable dishes comes quickly. I am familiar with a lot of the local supermarket (my favorite is a mexican market that took over a departed Von's) chiles, but also the homegrown: sweet, fresno, habanero. Although comfortable with the spices to go into carnitas and a good southern pulled pork rub, I am not familiar with annato, which I found in one puerco pebil recipe since your post.
                              I look forward to making mexican dishes such as enchiladas, chilequiles, and especially all the (relleno) egg dishes that I hope rise unbelievably in a WFO, but I'm gonna give this puerco pebil recipe a try right away.

                              John
                              Last edited by GianniFocaccia; 09-17-2010, 11:48 PM.

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