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Laying bricks near dome top - Forno Bravo Forum: The Wood-Fired Oven Community



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Laying bricks near dome top

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  • Laying bricks near dome top

    I notice on Wade Lively’s oven (first pic), that there is a tendency for the rings – which start off as a circular shape – to progress (naturally?) to an ellipse (or in Wade’s case a tear-drop) shape. I noticed this at our digs in Tuscany too – see second pic, top right of photo. I’m assuming that in both cases the dome remains hemispherical in shape, and it is just the way the bricks are laid that creates the ellipsoid illusion.

    Without having built my dome yet, is this a natural phenomenon? I haven’t noticed it very often, but the old oven in Italy has always had me wondering if it was an intentional or accidental occurrence as the oven dome progressed.

    It occurs to me that adopting an ellipsoid 'shape' towards the top might make for easier laying and less brick cutting – but I’m guessing here.

    I don't know if I've explained this well - I'm referring only to the method of laying the bricks (progressing from circular to ellipse), rather than the overall shape of the dome.

    Any thoughts?

    Last edited by Hendo; 05-18-2007, 08:37 PM.

  • #2
    Re: Laying bricks near dome top


    I experienced the exact same thing, in fact if it were not for his plug, I would swear that were the dome of my oven.
    From what I experienced, I assumed the cause was due to the transition to the entry and merging the two together. I did not use the angle iron approach, choosing to build my entry arch first and maintaining the arch all the way in, cutting each brick to fit as I went along and also being 100% self supporting. I just figured that this 'flying by the seat of my pants' approach had lead to less than perfect measurements and cuts - several bricks in several courses required multiple compound cuts, thus causing this 'tear drop' effect.
    I'm curious if others have experienced this and also if any of the engineers in the group have a spin on this. I'm actually kind of relieved that someone else has experienced this. At one point I thought I had done something seriously wrong.....so far, 3 weeks of fires, NO colapse



    • #3
      Re: Laying bricks near dome top


      So at least one person in the world is impressed with my innate masonry skills! I think, maybe!

      Seriously, I am not 100% sure why my dome morphed into this shape. It could be that with the rings becoming narrow enough about half-way up to be able to start cutting a tighter fit. But, I am thinking it is because of the doorway arch. Once I got on the third course I stopped trying to measure roundness and simply went with lining up the brick faces. With the different levels of the arch and the courses, as they interface or join, fitting and structural considerations takes priority so to tell the truth I didn't even worry about roundness at that point. About ring number 9 I was seeing what was happening and thought about trying to cut the bricks to compensate, but I figured, "what the hell" and just went with it. Yet another reason pouring the cap made things easier.
      Last edited by wlively; 05-18-2007, 08:47 PM. Reason: dang typos
      Wade Lively


      • #4
        Re: Laying bricks near dome top

        It does make sense that it could be the influence of the opening. Notice that in the old Italian oven, there is a 'seam' running across the top of the dome from the top middle of the opening to the back. In this case there seems to have been no attempt to adopt a circular ring shape from around the top of the opening, and the builders just went with the flow. Hence my guess that the rings may want to be this way, and if so, would it make for less/easier cuts to adopt this ellipse shape?

        Wade, it was remiss of me not to congratulate you on your build - I only hope mine will look as grand!

        Cheers, Paul.


        • #5
          Re: Laying bricks near dome top


          Thanks. I was writing my post to be under yours and RT beat me to it. So it was my attempt at humor.

          I am sure your oven will look even better. It looks beautiful so far. I wish I had the time ... Oh who am I kidding I am envious of guys like you and Dmun who have the patience and attention to detail to build such nice ovens.
          Wade Lively