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Cheesesteak's WFO build - Take Two. - Forno Bravo Forum: The Wood-Fired Oven Community



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Cheesesteak's WFO build - Take Two.

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  • Cheesesteak's WFO build - Take Two.

    Okay - I'm embarking on WFO #2.

    My last WFO was part of a complete backyard remodel that I did myself - over about one year or so at my old house. That remodel consisted of a roughly 900 sf patio addition, outdoor kitchen, modular WFO, smoker, etc. Concrete counters, El Dorado stone facades, lots of blood and one trip to the hospital for stitches.

    A before pic, and some in progress and finished. I also put up a 44" LCD screen on the patio - I was never in the house.
    This was the day after Paddy's Day - still some remnants of the celebration.

    During Demo

    Site of the WFO . . .

  • #2
    Re: Cheesesteak's WFO build - Take Two.

    Here are more in progress pics . . .

    And finished . . .

    I formed the arch at the front of the oven stand with benderboard and a lot of bracing. I put rebar in concrete block stand and poured the arch when I poured the 6" reinforced concrete shelf (overkill). The arch at the oven entrance was poured-in-place with Quikrete Non-Shrink Precision Grout (with rebar). It worked out great.

    I took a standard offset smoker that was on wheels - and welded angle iron onto it - and made it a built-in unit.


    • #3
      Re: Cheesesteak's WFO build - Take Two.

      I built a fireplace as well.

      Truth be told - that was the first time I had done anything this substantial. Never welded before, not much in the way of masonry (fisrt time pouring concrete, first time using cultured stone, first fireplace, etc).


      • #4
        Re: Cheesesteak's WFO build - Take Two.

        So . . . the new oven is going to be a Pompeii - 42" I'll build a bar next to it - probably around 6'-8' or so. I'm laying it out with blue painter's tape today. Here are a few pics of the location. My goals is, of course, not to mess up the great view we've got from the backyard. You can also see a seating bench and fire pit I just finished (I'm going to stucco the outside of the fire pit today).

        Off to work in the yard. I'll update once I get the painter's tape on the ground - and move some blocks around.

        Fasten your seatbelts.


        • #5
          Re: Cheesesteak's WFO build - Take Two.

          Very nice!


          • #6
            Re: Cheesesteak's WFO build - Take Two.

            Nice new place, my father always said live on a hill. Also, nice job at your previous house, you got a lot to live up to after showing those pics. Bet you had many fun hours polishing all that concrete countertop .

            Good luck on the new project!

            I have been debating whether to do a polished concrete entry arch, and a curved landing sort of like the Neapolitan oven.


            • #7
              Re: Cheesesteak's WFO build - Take Two.

              The concrete counters were actually easy. Poured in place with off the shelf bagged concrete. The color is simply and after the fact stain and outdoor sealer. Those pictures are after a full year of use (abuse).

              $100 worth of styrofoam forms and $100 worth of concrete. Cheaper than tile . . .


              • #8
                Re: Cheesesteak's WFO build - Take Two.

                Okay - so I think I've got the layout ready. On my last oven - I found the wood storage area was really too deep to be useful. So - I'm going to divide the underside of the oven in two sections - and put a door on the back so I can store charcoal for my BBQ and other things out of sight. Wood will get stored in the front. I'll likely pour a concrete arch in the front (wood storage) and just an angle iron lintel / square opening in the back.

                Onward and upward.


                • #9
                  Re: Cheesesteak's WFO build - Take Two.

                  Originally posted by Cheesesteak View Post
                  The concrete counters were actually easy. Poured in place with off the shelf bagged concrete. The color is simply and after the fact stain and outdoor sealer. Those pictures are after a full year of use (abuse).

                  $100 worth of styrofoam forms and $100 worth of concrete. Cheaper than tile . . .
                  Nice, they turned out well.

                  From afar they looked like diamond polished, colored concrete coutertops. I have built a few of the 6k psi colored white cement types, and the polishing to 4000grit is a time-consuming process.


                  • #10
                    Re: Cheesesteak's WFO build - Take Two.

                    Okay - question . . .

                    The FB Pompeii builder's guide says 65" x 78" stand. Is that about right? 42" cooking surface, 8-9" of wall thickness total, 6" thickness of insulating blanket, 8" total for the metal studs and concrete board for exterior walls = 65". No room for error there.


                    • #11
                      Re: Cheesesteak's WFO build - Take Two.

                      Okay - I've got the stand ready for concrete - will hopefully be delivered tomorrow.

                      I also ended up picking up the HF saw. it's easy to locate a printable coupon for 20% online - just google "Habor Freight coupon" and you'll find it. You can also enter "20tool" to get the 20% discount at the online store.

                      I order my insulating boards from the online FB store - as well as the 3 insulating blankets. Should be here this week.


                      • #12
                        Re: Cheesesteak's WFO build - Take Two.

                        okay - I poured the concrete yesterday. I filled all the voids - and poured the reinforced 4" shelf. The front arch was formed, reinforced, and poured too.

                        It took 1.25 yards (I had around a 5-gallon bucket left). I opted for the trailer / ready mix supply. It would have been 43 80-pound bags of concrete. At $3.15/bag here at my local big-box, that's $135.45 plus tax - or just under $150. I could have had a concrete delivery - it would have run me around $225-250 (maybe more because of the time it would have been there). The trailer loads ran me a total of $150 - and I didn't have to mix anything - same price as bagged concrete.

                        I didn't bother to trowel the shelf to perfection - no one's going to see it. It's level - and certainly good enough. Frankly, I don't get why people spend so much time finishing the shelf that gets completely covered - but oh well . . .

                        Another thing I really don't get is why people go to such great lengths to try to prevent the outer forms from "bowing." There's almost no outward pressure on those boards. If your concrete mix is anything close to correct - there should be very little pressure on the sides of the forms. My 2x4 supports were to hold up the 2x6s to the correct height for a true 4" slab - and that's it. They didn't bulge at all. I also used Wonderboard for the floor of the shelf - so I can just leave it there (4 1/2" slab total). My last oven - I wrestled with getting the wood off the bottom of the shelf - time I don't want to waste this time around.

                        My FB insulating boards and blankets arrived yesterday. I'm going to assemble my saw tonight and start cutting bricks tomorrow after work.

                        My plan is to only cut the sides of the bricks for mitering - not tops and bottoms. I think I recall a 5 deg angle being appropriate for the first several rows - does that sound correct? I also think I'm going to build the dome on top of the floor - and not bother with cutting the floor to fit inside. I've searched and have yet to read anything that would really justify the time to cut the bricks in a circular shape. Spalling is the potential concern - and if it happens on the usable cooking surface - chances are it'll be a brick that accessible the way I plan on doing it anyway. Fingers crossed.


                        • #13
                          Re: Cheesesteak's WFO build - Take Two.

                          You are right about the surface - a simple screed will work in most cases. I had to trowel mine because I was laying tile on part of the surface. In regard to the floor, you are spot on there as well. I cut mine and there really is no need to do it. If a brick does spall under the dome, whats the harm? Thats where the fire will be anyways. And when I do bake, the food is never pushed against the sides. Looking good!
                          Check out my pictures here:

                          If at first you don't succeed... Skydiving isn't for you.


                          • #14
                            Re: Cheesesteak's WFO build - Take Two.

                            Looking good Cheesteak!!

                            Wow, you're on to WFO #2! I'm just trying to complete my 1st one!! Keep the pics coming. And great start by the way!



                            • #15
                              Re: Cheesesteak's WFO build - Take Two.

                              It's raining today in Northern California - what's up with that? It's supposed to be sunny from April to October. I had to run and get the Easy-Up to cover the boards before everything got too wet . . .

                              Anyway - concrete is curing - and I decided to cut the fiberboards and layout the floor. After cutting the boards - I realized how much of a health hazard those things can be. Out of the box - if in perfect shape - they appear to be pretty sturdy. Bang a corner - or cut them - and they release a tremendous amount of fibers / dust. same is true from just dragging the boards across the concrete shelf. I did wear the appropriate safety gear (mask and gloves) when working with the boards.

                              So - I decided to place a thin layer of #30 sand beneath the boards and then coat them with a very thin layer of #30 sand / fireclay with a bit of portland mixed in to hold it together while I build. While they probably don't pose a long-term health risk with the oven - I wanted to be sure the particles didn't mobilize when I build and I just wanted to seal them. Better to be safe . . . should be standard practice to seal these boards.

                              It was just like icing a big cake. I'll put another troweled layer of fireclay and sand to set the floor later this week.

                              I also drove by the Gladding McBean mill on my way to my son's baseball tournament over the weekend - thought I'd grab a picture for some to see. Gladding McBean supplies the fireclay that HC Muddox uses in its Mortar Clay and for other uses (some on here have HC Muddox fire brick as well). You can see the piles of white fireclay in both pictures. Mounds of it all around . . .

                              HC Muddox is down the road from me as well - I'll try to gran some pics when I go there for some of their firebrick seconds . . .
                              Last edited by Cheesesteak; 04-24-2011, 10:44 AM.