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Is this project too big? - Forno Bravo Forum: The Wood-Fired Oven Community

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Is this project too big?

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  • Is this project too big?

    I have been an outdoor cook for many years and have always thought about an outdoor oven. We just bought a new house with a great back yard and I have been thinking about it again. I have the space and time.

    My question is do I have the skills? I am generally very handy, have built a shed, done roofing, interior remodeling etc. I have VERY little experience with masonry. I can see that the steps are well documented with pictures so I have little question that I can follow directions and construct the foundation and the hearth. What concerns me is the actual brick construction of the oven itself. This looks, to me, much more complicated. I am aiming for a relatively low cost project, as opposed to buying a pre-fabricated oven.

    Can this be done by someone with basically no masonry experience?

    Any and all guidance is appreciated.

  • #2
    Re: Is this project too big?

    Originally posted by mnshel View Post
    My question is do I have the skills? ... Can this be done by someone with basically no masonry experience?
    You'll get your experience as you build. I could have written your post about 12 months ago, but now I feel pretty confident about cutting bricks, mixing mortar, etc., just from working on my wood-fired oven. The foundation will give you experience with concrete and rebar, the block stand will teach you about bricks and mortar, etc. I would suggest reading the Forno Bravo instructions, perusing the posts on this forum, and perhaps picking up a library book or two on basic home masonry, and you'll be good to go. And if questions arise along the way, post them here and you'll get tons of advice from experienced oven-builders. If you're "handy," you can build one of these ovens.
    Picasa web album
    Oven-building thread

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    • #3
      Re: Is this project too big?

      Shoot, even if you're not "handy", I think it can be done if you want. At least that's what I hope to show

      Just keep reading this forum. It is packed with info.
      Last edited by mfiore; 07-23-2008, 02:08 PM. Reason: spelling error
      Mike - Saginaw, MI

      Picasa Web Album
      My oven build thread

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Is this project too big?

        No, go for it.
        You will learn as you go. If it doesn't fit, then you have lost only a littl mortar.
        Choose wisely and you will build a great oven for very little dollars.
        It really is easier than it looks or what you think it is going to take.
        Remember that nothing ventured, nothing gained. You have all the help and assistance there that you will need.

        Neil
        Prevention is better than cure, - do it right the first time!

        The more I learn, the more I realise how little I know


        Neillís Pompeiii #1
        http://www.fornobravo.com/forum/f8/n...-1-a-2005.html
        Neillís kitchen underway
        http://www.fornobravo.com/forum/f35/...rway-4591.html

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Is this project too big?

          I agree with everyone else.

          GO FOR IT!

          We'll help you when you need it.

          Dave
          My thread:
          http://www.fornobravo.com/forum/f8/d...ress-2476.html
          My costs:
          http://spreadsheets.google.com/pub?k...Xr0fvgxuh4s7Hw
          My pics:
          http://picasaweb.google.com/dawatsonator

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Is this project too big?

            I to like you have "home improvement experience" but no masonry skills (maybe I still don't ) but I was able to do the project.

            You'll be fine - go 4 it.

            I'm cooking but still need to put the finishing touches on it.

            It does take A LOT of time. I know it pulled away from some family time so I'm taking a break before I put the finish.

            Good luck

            Dick

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Is this project too big?

              Yep Go for it!!! We should have made this a poll....
              I've been around here for a while and I've seen glorious ovens and not so glorius ones and I think (as long as you insulate under and over) they all cook a very fine assorment of pizza, bread, and the occasional turkey or goose.

              It takes basic skills and a sponge.

              You'll do fine!!!

              Chrsto
              My oven progress -
              http://www.fornobravo.com/forum/f8/c...cina-1227.html
              sigpic

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              • #8
                Re: Is this project too big?

                The only person I wouldn't urge to build their own oven is someone who can't lift heavy things. This is easy to test in the masonry isle of the local home center. Otherwise, basic skills and hand tools are all you need to get started.
                My geodesic oven project: part 1, part 2

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                • #9
                  Re: Is this project too big?

                  I say stop while you can don't do this project, don't spend the money or waist your time so long as your neighbor is building one next door with instructions for you and your friends to use it when ever you want...and he even supplies the beer........If not build one yourself you have the tools and its fun and frustrating and satisfying
                  Berryst
                  sigpic

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                  • #10
                    Re: Is this project too big?

                    Originally posted by mnshel View Post
                    Can this be done by someone with basically no masonry experience?
                    For sure. I was that kind of guy - never had work with bricks at all.
                    It might be difficult, but mission is possible, definitely.

                    Good luck!

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Is this project too big?

                      Thanks to all for the encouragement. I live in northern MN so my building window is smaller than those further south. I know it depends on me, but what kind of timeframe am I looking at. When if comes time to build the oven itself, how much can you do at one time before you can add another course? I am trying to get an idea from start to finish.

                      I plan to build a fire-ring next to the oven and may get started with that this fall to get my feet wet. I plan to make the foundation big enough so I can build the oven on the same foundation.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Is this project too big?

                        I'll let others comment on the timeline, but one thing that will affect that is whether you want a foundation below the frost line or a floating slab at grade (like a typical garage floor). Some folks here (like me, in N.E. Wisconsin) have gone with a deep foundation (there's a link to my pics below), while many others have done a floating slab, and both methods, done properly, should be fine. The decision depends somewhat on the type of soil and drainage you have. But the deep foundation will probably add time to your project.
                        Picasa web album
                        Oven-building thread

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Is this project too big?

                          Wow, that is quite a foundation. I had initially planned on a regular floating slab. But, I will have to give it some thought.

                          I have been trying to download the oven plans and the "store" seems closed. Is the link available anywhere else?

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Is this project too big?

                            Originally posted by mnshel View Post
                            how much can you do at one time before you can add another course?
                            It depends of how you are going to deal with bricks - tapper two sides, tapper four sidea or not tappet at all. 4 sides may take a years (Les), no tappering at all allows you to assemble 3-4 courses at a time (me).

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                            • #15
                              Re: Is this project too big?

                              Hi mnshel,
                              you can take as long or as short as you wish. If you want to do something so special and fanyastic as dmun's Pompeii, look at almost a year (especially in your climate) or if you are a bit like me (first time attempt at a Pompeii)
                              3 weekends and another to finish it off. See my oven build and description, hints and tips at:

                              http://www.fornobravo.com/forum/f8/n...-1-a-2005.html

                              and follow the link at the last posting of each thread.
                              I didn't have any tapered bricks but did have a professional brick saw. I did a pile of preparation and planning but it paid off and all came together, even worked in the rain under a tarp. Depends on how determined you are.
                              My next 2 builds will be out in the country and each of those ovens, arches, chimneys and domes will be built in 2 days, not counting the base. Hopefully, my friends can build those without my presence.
                              Prevention is better than cure, - do it right the first time!

                              The more I learn, the more I realise how little I know


                              Neillís Pompeiii #1
                              http://www.fornobravo.com/forum/f8/n...-1-a-2005.html
                              Neillís kitchen underway
                              http://www.fornobravo.com/forum/f35/...rway-4591.html

                              Comment

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