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The why in Foundations - Forno Bravo Forum: The Wood-Fired Oven Community

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The why in Foundations

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  • The why in Foundations

    Ok, after nearly two years away from this site after our house moving plans along with my brick oven ones came to a crashing halt, I'm looking to get re-started.
    In about a week we will move to our new place and I've got a green light on oven building!
    Now, my question. Which might be totally idiotic but bear with me, I am a Pilot not an Engineer for a reason
    Ok, there is all this serious talk about foundations, and depths of concrete, and all that, BUT at the same time people are building ovens that are portable, or on steel frames, etc. So, what's the deal? Why is it so easy to put an oven on the back of a truck but if I want to build it in the corner of the yard it becomes more difficult?

    BTW, I want a 42" dome style for my own. Do I really need to dig down to hard clay? Mind you I am just outside Beijing so if I dig too much I may end up in your backyard!

    Thanks for you patience with my question,

    Bob
    Bob

    Always ready for pizza

    http://www.fornobravo.com/forum/memb...ing-build.html

  • #2
    Re: The why in Foundations

    It depends upon soil, climate, code, and seismological conditions in your area. Here in sub-tropical Austin, outside city limits and no earthquakes in the last couple of hundred thousand years, a simple 4" lightly reinforced floating slab is all that is required, with nothing tying the stand to the slab and non-reinforced in any way.

    10 miles north, the slab would be heavier reinforced, tied to the reinforced stand and hearth slab. In California, even more so. It just depends.

    Mobile is another animal altogether, as they are not considered a structure.

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: The why in Foundations

      Thanks T,

      Here in Beijing we have fair weather year round. Winters are usually no colder than around 20 Fahrenheit and summers no warmer than 90. No quakes or particularly strong weather of any type.
      Since rental cement mixers are out of the question here I'm hoping the foundation will be able to be a fairly simple deal for me. Not too deep, etc.
      Bob

      Always ready for pizza

      http://www.fornobravo.com/forum/memb...ing-build.html

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: The why in Foundations

        I could not decide where I wanted my oven and I have things going on that I knew that I would build it in the wrong place. I decided NOT to use a footer or foundation and with a large forklift I could move my oven at any time. So I took gravel and put on top of the ground (no digging) on top of that I made a 6x6 pressure treated square to contact the gravel. Then a log frame that holds up the oven. My oven has been there over 2 winters and has not moved. If it does move I'll jack it up like a car and push some gravel under the low spot. Whatever works!!!
        Attached Files

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        • #5
          Re: The why in Foundations

          Whatever works, yes! My motto too.

          I think as long as the surface that the oven is resting on will be stable then all should be ok and the oven shouldn't suffer.
          Bob

          Always ready for pizza

          http://www.fornobravo.com/forum/memb...ing-build.html

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: The why in Foundations

            If you look at the picture the log sticking out the side makes a great jacking point...I also have heavy equipment that can move the oven. It could have been a risk building it that way but I had a plan to make adjustments if necessary.

            I also think the weight is so evenly distributed that any settling would be equal around the base.

            Let us see what you come up with and what works for you.

            Faith

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: The why in Foundations

              Thanks Faith,
              Where I live getting any type of heavy equipment will be next to impossible. Heck, I can not even get my mitts on a cement mixer or any of the normal tools I'll need for laying a foundation.
              Bricks, Blocks, Firebricks & mortar should be ok its all the other things that will be difficult. People here don't even normally have regular household ovens in their kitchens so getting things for building a brick one is really stretching it.
              As it is we are moving to our new place this coming week and I first need to build an enclosure in the kitchen for our regular electric oven as there was never one installed before.
              I hope to get on with it asap
              Bob

              Always ready for pizza

              http://www.fornobravo.com/forum/memb...ing-build.html

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: The why in Foundations

                Good luck with your move...

                I have seen some cooking shows that have shown typical kitchens in China. Interesting the difference in cultures and what people consider "normal".

                Would love to see some pictures of your new kitchen. I think I have time today to show pictures of my 2ed kitchen (yes two very large kitchens in my house)

                Tough thing for me about this site is I see people from all over the world and that really gives me an urge to travel. China is on my list. Hopefully one day, where is my bucket list?

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: The why in Foundations

                  Well, calling it a kitchen is being generous. Most kitchen's in Chinese homes are the size of a typical American walk-in closet. I remember studio apartments in the States with Kitchens bigger. And generally they all have doors on them that they keep closed. Oil laden cooking you know, so best kept from going everywhere. Big exhaust fans and Big flames on the stove. I've seen gas stove burners that seem like they have a flame thrower under the counter!
                  Our kitchen in the new place is basically all against one wall of the dining room. Sink, 2 burner gas stove, no oven, very little work space BUT of course they have the obligatory dish sanitizer. Not a dish washer, but a box that kind of looks like a big microwave with a dish rack inside that does who-knows-what to supposedly sanitize your dishes after you've washed them first of course.
                  I have had two previous homes with bigger kitchens, and with actual dishwashers, because these places were built with foreigners like me in mind but then the dishwasher was, just like the washing machine, only hooked up to the cold water tap.

                  Anyway, I thoroughly recommend travel! I've been to most of Asia, Australia & NZ and some of Europe besides about 60 places in China. I've lived here in China now 15 years and the only troubles I have is sometimes buying things I need (like supplies for a Brick Oven).
                  Ah well, don't wait too long. Just do it!
                  Bob

                  Always ready for pizza

                  http://www.fornobravo.com/forum/memb...ing-build.html

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: The why in Foundations

                    Good advice! At this rate I will be touring China with my walker that has those green tennis balls on the feet.

                    A greasy closet with a flame thrower....Yikes!

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: The why in Foundations

                      You never know whats going to happen. I lived in Virginia once too! But now China. If you'd told me then that I'd be here now I would've called you crazy too. Life can take many turns, as it has for me since my days of teaching people to fly helicopters at the Woodbridge Virgina Airport in 1985. The airport that I believe is now a strip mall...
                      Bob

                      Always ready for pizza

                      http://www.fornobravo.com/forum/memb...ing-build.html

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: The why in Foundations

                        Hello Filthymutt,

                        Is this current home yours or a rental? Makes a lot of decisions about mobility easier. I live in a rural area of Japan, but most things are readily available.

                        My thoughts for China would be to contract some local workers to build your base at least up to your structural slab. I am sure there are hundreds of mom and pop operations that could get this basic work done quickly and cheaply.

                        The fun part is the oven anyway.

                        All the expensive ceramic fiber blankets and mats come from China but finding them might be another issue.

                        Ever consider casting your oven instead of brick? Then all you need are some basic hand tools and no saws to cut brick---a lot cleaner working environment!

                        On another issue--where the heck are you going to find quality firewood? Any restrictions on outdoor burning? Beijing has a great reputation for outdoor air quality--cough, cough.

                        Anyway, welcome back...I'm a newbie first time builder of a WFO yet to be fired!

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: The why in Foundations

                          Hi Mikku,
                          Actually,I was supposed to start this project a year and a half ago when we bought a place up here. What happened was we bought our house, new construction, empty shell and all and we just have not gotten around to building the interior. So, we live in a rental. Which we find to be in a much more convenient area than where we bought and so have elected to hold the house as is and sell it in a couple years instead.

                          Meanwhile we rent. This place we rented is too small and was only supposed to be for a year while waiting on the house. Now we are going to move to a much bigger place and rent for 4 years until my son finishes high school. So, I decided I will put in the brick oven at the new place.
                          You're right, I probably can get a local small company to come do the foundation. And I probably could do a cast oven too but the thing is I want to do this myself top to bottom, or I guess it should be bottom to top eh?
                          I'm doing it with my 14 year old son whom I want to see that you can do things yourself. It's a big project but he needs to experience it as much as I. So, we are going to do everything ourselves and an all brick wfo. Headaches and all.

                          Materials are the hard part. Having been over to Japan several times as a tourist I can tell that it is far more advanced and organized than it is here. I've been checking around and find it difficult to get the things we will need. So far I can only find firebrick sold by the ton!

                          Firewood yes I can get that. All winter long it was available right down at the little local market. Quality? Yet to be seen. But as far as the burning, I don't expect it will be an issue. Also, I live in Beijing municipality, not Beijing city. We are in suburbia or at least what passes for it in China in the middle of a gated community in 'Foregner town' out near the airport. So I think it'll be fine. Restrictions? You are implying that there is a lot more organization to this place than there actually is!

                          Rural Japan eh? Must be nice. I was just over in Nagano 2 months ago for a week of skiing in Hakuba. Beautiful Have enjoyed much of Hokkaido as well both in winter and summer, loved it. Been in China 15 years so far and I like it a lot but I think I would enjoy Japan too. Both places have such interesting cultures.

                          Thanks for your input! Please post some photos of your own project! You're not alone I've spoken with another builder in Japan back in 2011 when I first started looking into all this.

                          Cheers,
                          Bob
                          Bob

                          Always ready for pizza

                          http://www.fornobravo.com/forum/memb...ing-build.html

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: The why in Foundations

                            Bob, Are you and your family okay??? The news said you got hit with a big earthquake.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: The why in Foundations

                              Originally posted by Filthymutt View Post
                              Hi Mikku,
                              Actually,I was supposed to start this project a year and a half ago when we bought a place up here. What happened was we bought our house, new construction, empty shell and all and we just have not gotten around to building the interior. So, we live in a rental. Which we find to be in a much more convenient area than where we bought and so have elected to hold the house as is and sell it in a couple years instead.

                              Meanwhile we rent. This place we rented is too small and was only supposed to be for a year while waiting on the house. Now we are going to move to a much bigger place and rent for 4 years until my son finishes high school. So, I decided I will put in the brick oven at the new place.
                              You're right, I probably can get a local small company to come do the foundation. And I probably could do a cast oven too but the thing is I want to do this myself top to bottom, or I guess it should be bottom to top eh?
                              I'm doing it with my 14 year old son whom I want to see that you can do things yourself. It's a big project but he needs to experience it as much as I. So, we are going to do everything ourselves and an all brick wfo. Headaches and all.

                              Materials are the hard part. Having been over to Japan several times as a tourist I can tell that it is far more advanced and organized than it is here. I've been checking around and find it difficult to get the things we will need. So far I can only find firebrick sold by the ton!

                              Firewood yes I can get that. All winter long it was available right down at the little local market. Quality? Yet to be seen. But as far as the burning, I don't expect it will be an issue. Also, I live in Beijing municipality, not Beijing city. We are in suburbia or at least what passes for it in China in the middle of a gated community in 'Foregner town' out near the airport. So I think it'll be fine. Restrictions? You are implying that there is a lot more organization to this place than there actually is!

                              Rural Japan eh? Must be nice. I was just over in Nagano 2 months ago for a week of skiing in Hakuba. Beautiful Have enjoyed much of Hokkaido as well both in winter and summer, loved it. Been in China 15 years so far and I like it a lot but I think I would enjoy Japan too. Both places have such interesting cultures.

                              Thanks for your input! Please post some photos of your own project! You're not alone I've spoken with another builder in Japan back in 2011 when I first started looking into all this.

                              Cheers,
                              Bob
                              Hi Dirty Dog,

                              Was wondering of what happened with your oven, now I know. Mikku and I know each other quite well. Next time in Japan give us a yell.

                              Comment

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