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MT's 42 in State College - Forno Bravo Forum: The Wood-Fired Oven Community



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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:
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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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MT's 42 in State College

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  • MT's 42 in State College

    I have been working on a patio project this summer that has yielded some serious mission creep. What started out as a plan to replace my small existing patio has turned into a 1200 square ft patio with a pergola and a wfo. I have completed most of the patio and poured the concrete base and hearth for the oven. I have never laid block or brick in my life until this summer. I have two main questions that I hope the forum can help me with.
    1. I have seen and read about the indispensable tool. Are there directions or tips on how to make one? I have searched but I cannot locate a thread discussing it.
    2. While building the dome, do I need a brick saw or can I get by with an angle grinder with a diamond blade?

    Thanks to all for your help. If my oven turns out half as good as all of yours I will be elated. Thanks, Mike

  • #2
    Re: MT's 42 in State College

    1 - The tool is a simple way to limit the dome brick at a set distance from the center of the oven floor. There are fancy tools with clamps and magnets but initially it was a string from the oven floor's center point and the skill was to make the mortar tacky enough to hold the brick at this set distance.

    I made a tool using a caster mounted upside down on a piece of plywood set on the floor bricks of the oven. The wheel was replaced with a rod and at the set distance, the radius of the oven, a short piece of angle iron was attached to the rod that then served to limit the dome brick being placed. I have a link to a thread for you to peruse.

    See post 25 for my version

    2 – A grinder is a great tool and it can be used, but the dust and discomfort is going to be considerable. Check your local craigslist for brick saws. You’ll be happy you did and you can resell it for what you paid.

    Last edited by SCChris; 08-25-2011, 11:27 AM.


    • #3
      Re: MT's 42 in State College

      Thanks for your reply, I will try to see if I can locate one. One more question, once I start the chains for the dome, how many can be completed at once? Should you not start the next chain until the mortar dries on lower chain or can you lay them over top one another with no problem? Thanks again, Mike


      • #4
        Re: MT's 42 in State College

        The number courses that can be completed is a function of your time and your mortar. If your mortar sets up relativly fast then I'd expect that a good day is 3 courses. The entry takes more time to complete because of the tie in to the dome.

        John's build shows a lot of thought and great execution, the entry is really well done..
        http://www.fornobravo.com/forum/8/octoforno-7122-5.html Post 46..

        Dino_pizza is a great build for it's detail and take a look at:
        Les's build at

        for builders recomended changes.



        • #5
          Re: MT's 42 in State College

          Hi mtalone,

          I second Chris's post above. It all depends on the builder, the mortar, and the brick cuts. I had someone helping me and we were able to complete 5 chains in one day (including the arch transition and moving past it).

          But you don't have to wait until the first chain dries before starting on the next one. Just keep going.



          • #6
            Re: MT's 42 in State College

            Thanks to all for the advice. I hope to work on the oven this weekend unless the hurricane gets out of hand. I will post more pictures as I go along. Thanks again and have a great weekend. Mike


            • #7
              Re: MT's 42 in State College

              If you use a "fan" form instead of the "indispensable tool" approach you can lay up as may chains at once as you like.


              • #8
                Re: MT's 42 in State College

                Hey Guys,
                I started laying my oven floor this weekend until the hurricane weather came in. I am placing my floor on the FB board. My hearth is perfectly level (or as close as I can make it) but the FB board is not. It all seems to even out over longer stretches but not all of my bricks are flush as a result. Do you think this will be a problem? Also, just laying them on top of the fb board still allows them to move. Is this ok? Sorry if these are basic questions, I am feeling like I have gotten in over my head this time.. Mike


                • #9
                  Re: MT's 42 in State College

                  I have been working on the oven every chance I have over the last few weeks. I have made some progress and am overall happy with how things have turned out so far although I wish I could start over knowing what I know now. I guess you can say that about most things in life. I have a couple questions:

                  First, around my arch transition I have some places that aren't perfectly smooth which I guess is inevitable to some degree. I found a product that is "castable firebrick". It mixes like mortar. Would it be a good idea to fill in irregular areas around my transition with this? Do you think it would be a problem?

                  Secondly, I would like to start my vent opening this weekend. I am going to build it like "karangidude" did. I think what he did was a great way to build it. How wide should I make the opening for a 42. I have heard bigger is better, is that true? Thanks to all for your help. Mike