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It begins! - Forno Bravo Forum: The Wood-Fired Oven Community

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New Forno Bravo Forum Feature

Forno Bravo Forum Community,

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.
- Another thread will be posted for the live AMA. Registered users who are logged in during the live session can interact with the host by asking questions and receiving responses.
- The live thread will remain in the AMA forum to view after the session.

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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It begins!

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  • It begins!

    Well here we go! 50 posts, and I've yet to begin. I guess it's time I start inquiring and time to start building.

    I started my foundation dig today. As you will quickly learn, I have know masonry or construction experience. For those following my build, I hope you are patient. As I have a full time job and three small boys, I do not anticipate this going quickly. Much more of a weekend endeavor.

    I am also not ashamed to admit that as a beginner, it is almost certain that I will contribute no new ideas to the forum. I am much better at copying and following directions. Leave the innovating up to those who know what they are doing.

    I appreciate all of the help so far. This forum is great.

    Mike
    Mike - Saginaw, MI

    Picasa Web Album
    My oven build thread

  • #2
    Re: It begins!

    I live in the middle of Michigan, where cold climate and frost heaving are problems. After numerous inquiries (both on the forum and with local builders), I've decided it is important for me to dig below the frost line. I plan to build my foundation like "theBadger" and "dbhansen" (see, told you I was good at copying!).

    Attached is a photo of the WFO location, on the side of my lot next to our tomato/basil garden (should be convenient). I used a cardboard footprint to layout where we would place the oven. I found this to be useful, as the original potential location was clearly too small. These ovens are big.


    I have nearly completed the dig. What a pain. I didn't anticipate all of the dirt I would be left with. Here, the frost line is 48 inches. I plan to dig down that deep, put a 12 inch deep, 16 inch wide concrete footer, then build a block foundation up to grade. A reinforced cement slab will go on top of that.

    Questions.

    If I need to go 48 inches deep, does that include the cement footer at the bottom of the block foundation, or does the foundation need to be 48 inches deep, with another foot below that for the footer?

    When building a block foundation, should I dry stack and fill the cores, like the block stand, or mortar the joints (or both)?

    Thanks again.

    Mike
    Mike - Saginaw, MI

    Picasa Web Album
    My oven build thread

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: It begins!

      Oof, that looks like a lot of work. I'm in the midst of trying to make the same decision about whether to do footings below frost line. Seeing pictures from you and others who have dug foundations, I'm more and more inclined to go for the slab on grade.

      But then, there's that little voice in my head saying, "But Ed, what if it heaves...then what?"

      I'm suffering a case of analysis paralysis.

      I'll be watching your build with interest.

      -Ed

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: It begins!

        If I need to go 48 inches deep, does that include the cement footer at the bottom of the block foundation, or does the foundation need to be 48 inches deep, with another foot below that for the footer?
        The 48" is to the bottom of the excavation. Your footings are poured on the bare earth, not crushed stone.

        When building a block foundation, should I dry stack and fill the cores, like the block stand, or mortar the joints (or both)?
        I'd be a little leery about dry stacking under grade, but I think if you fill every core, you'll be fine. I mortared my blocks, but I excavated my center so I had a place to crouch to work.
        My geodesic oven project: part 1, part 2

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: It begins!

          Originally posted by dmun View Post
          The 48" is to the bottom of the excavation. Your footings are poured on the bare earth, not crushed stone.

          That's what I wanted to hear! The thought of another 12 inches makes me (and my back) cringe.

          I considered excavating the center too, but I already have way more dirt than I know what to do with.
          Mike - Saginaw, MI

          Picasa Web Album
          My oven build thread

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: It begins!

            Originally posted by Ed_ View Post
            ....

            But then, there's that little voice in my head saying, "But Ed, what if it heaves...then what?"

            I'm suffering a case of analysis paralysis.

            I'll be watching your build with interest.

            -Ed
            Ahhh, but you can't wait until next winter to see what happens. :-)
            James
            Pizza Ovens
            Outdoor Fireplaces

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: It begins!

              Originally posted by james View Post
              Ahhh, but you can't wait until next winter to see what happens. :-)
              James
              Ah, no, you're right about that! After we wrap up a couple of other small projects, we'll be diving into this mess ourselves!

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: It begins!

                Originally posted by Ed_ View Post
                .... we'll be diving into this mess ourselves!
                Building an oven is a lot of things, and messy is definitely one of them.
                Enjoy!
                James
                Pizza Ovens
                Outdoor Fireplaces

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: It begins!

                  I've finished digging out that foundation yesterday. 48 inches deep, 16 inches wide. I now need to decide how to best pour the concrete footing in the bottom. There is not a lot of room to work down in those trenches. I'll either have to put some forms down below, or see if I can set up some level frames above like THeBadger did.

                  I've started a Picasso photo album, but I'm not sure how to link it here.
                  Mike - Saginaw, MI

                  Picasa Web Album
                  My oven build thread

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: It begins!

                    Originally posted by mfiore View Post
                    I considered excavating the center too, but I already have way more dirt than I know what to do with.
                    I was skeptical myself about building a foundation wall in a 16" wide trench, but it was quite do-able (though hard on the back). I'm VERY glad I didn't excavate the center; my leftover dirt has become a major headache. I'm thinking of making a new berm around my oven just so I don't have to haul any more dirt away!

                    One hassle I had to deal with was the center "island" collapsing on me while I worked, because it got very dry. I solved that with plastic wrap, using a borrowed pallet wrapper. Worked like a charm.
                    Picasa web album
                    Oven-building thread

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: It begins!

                      Does the concrete footer for the bottom of a block foundation (below grade) need to be reinforced with rebar?
                      Mike - Saginaw, MI

                      Picasa Web Album
                      My oven build thread

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: It begins!

                        There's generally NO rebar in the footer. However, I poured my slab and left some rebar "hanging out" the side, so when I poured the side slab for a prep surface they were tied together. We don't have much of a frost problem down here.

                        As for forms - If your digging is only 16-inches wide, forms are not used. Just pour from side to side.

                        As for getting the footer level w/o forms - Pound in 2-3 stakes (2x2s or pieces of rebar) for each wall in the bottom until they are level. Then when you pour the concrete it will give you something to work to. You can just leave these in as it shouldn't effect the footer, even when they rot/rust out.

                        Chuck

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: It begins!

                          Mfiore,

                          I did add rebar to my footer - 2 pieces on each lenght wide section. Not sure if it's "required" but I think it makes sense and definitly can't hurt. I'm no expert. My brother in law recommende that I use it and some others on the forum.

                          My motto is "overbuild". For the most part the little extra cost for rebar here, extra this there isn't going to add up to a ton. But I would rather spend a little more than have something fail structually.

                          Another suggestion for getting it level is builiding level framework on top and then using a long screed to keep things level and the right depth. This worked out really well for me.

                          Dick

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: It begins!

                            I used rebar also, based on the recommendations in a masonry book I have. It was a minor expense for some peace of mind.
                            Picasa web album
                            Oven-building thread

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: It begins!

                              Worked a little more today. I've decided to try the leveling method as described by Dick. Seems to be the best way to avoid having to go into that trench.
                              Mike - Saginaw, MI

                              Picasa Web Album
                              My oven build thread

                              Comment

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