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George's Pompeii progress - Forno Bravo Forum: The Wood-Fired Oven Community

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George's Pompeii progress

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  • George's Pompeii progress

    Hi all,
    I've moved over from the introductions/newbie forums to start posting pics of my progress.
    Funny how I finally got started on this project. My drain field failed last winter during heavy rains in Washington State (imagine that!). I ended up having to change over to city sewer service. The contractors who put in the sewer lines etc. really tore up the yard, and I had to remove some of my very weathered decking to access the septic located underneath it. Once the sewer project was complete, I decided to replace the old decking with composite type, which I completed in May/June.
    Closeby to the deck, there was an existing footing that used to be the foundation for a long-since-gone sun room enclosure. When I bought this house a couple of years ago, there was nothing inside the footing except dirt. At the time, it seemed like a great spot to plant strawberries and tomatoes. You can still see them growing in one of theses pics, as well as my torn up grass from the sewer project. Don't tell my wife I posted this pic of her sitting there in her sweats. She's actually a beautiful woman and she'd kick my butt if she saw it! ;o)
    Anyway, once I finished the main deck, I kept looking at that footing and the 11 foot gap between the main deck and it and decided that the footing would be a nice place to put my long-dreamed-about pizza oven. I decided to fill in the opening between the deck and the footing with a lower level deck making a smooth transition to what someday become and oven/BBQ and bar area. I built the lower deck in July, I think, with the help of my neighbor, Walt, who shows up in later concrete pouring pics.
    Once I landscaped over the area of the new sewer tank/pump system, around 10 weeks ago, I decided to go ahead and tear out the strawberries and pour the slab, just for the hell of it. I didn't take pictures of the rebar work or pour that day. I only made it a 4 inch slab, which I believe will be fine here in the relatively mild NW winters. Half of the blocks for the base of the oven sit directly on the footing itself, which should take a lot of stress off the slab itself.
    As I said in the Introductions Forum, I'm retired, and so have a quite a bit of free time on my hands. Once my wife's kids went back to school in Sept. I was really free'd up to spend more time with a new project, so just for the hell of it, I went to Lowes and bought 8 concrete blocks, just to play with ideas about the orientation of an oven. I pushed those blocks around for a couple of weeks before I went out and bought another 20, and started dry stacking them a little higher.
    I must have stacked and restacked those bricks at least 10 times before deciding a corner orientation was going to be the best for my limited space situation. I was planning to do a 34 inch oven, but I believe that this orientation will allow a 36 inch, which is what I'm now planning. Time will tell if this is truely the case.
    I decided to go ahead and put in the rebar and fill the cores of the cement blocks a couple of weeks ago. This last pick was a week or so later when I had started playing with framing.
    All for now. Baby's crying, wife's not home.
    G.
    Attached Files
    GJBingham
    -----------------------------------
    Everyone makes mistakes. The trick is to make mistakes when nobody is looking.

    -

  • #2
    Re: George's Pompeii progress

    Were you in the army? Stack and restack - this is what teenagers are for. Ever see "Holes" Funny tale.

    Good job taking your time once the blocks get set you are kinda commited to the direction of the opening.

    Comment


    • #3
      George's Pompeii progress 2

      So anyway, the point I was trying to make initially was that a failed septic drainfield last winter finally got me started on my WFO.
      I started playing with framing for the conrete about 10 days ago and finally poured the first layer of hearth yesterday, on a day that was supposed to have scattered showers but ended up with heavy rain most of the day.
      I put up a canopy a couple of days prior to keep the taping dry and the boards from warping more than they already were.
      I used rebar L's in a few of the remaining cores and tied everything together. I did throw 45 degree blocking behind the benderboard because I snapped so many pieces trying to get one to bend to the shape I was looking for. I didn't want this one to snap during the pour. Also, I shimmed and nailed a brace under the unsupported front edge, under the bender board to strengthen that area once it had mud in it.
      I decided to use my tractor's front end loader to lift the mixed concrete up to the pour area, which turned out to work really well. My neighbor Walt and I mixed and poured 30 bags in about 90 minutes. The heavy rains began just as we finished.
      Attached Files
      GJBingham
      -----------------------------------
      Everyone makes mistakes. The trick is to make mistakes when nobody is looking.

      -

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: George's Pompeii progress 3

        I was a Navy Dentist for almost ouyears. My back got so bad over the years that I couldn't wait for the day when I didn't have to do dentistry anymore.
        Your exactly correct about being committed once the cores are filled. But at that point, you're off and running.
        Here's the last pics that will bring me up to date. Here's the concrete going in and the finished product, now curing for the next couple of weeks.
        I had to take down the canopy as the weathermen were calling for wind gusts up to 45 MPH. I just found the umbrella down a few minutes ago. The new concrete is covered by a tarp, and I'm bored and waiting.......
        Ciao
        Attached Files
        GJBingham
        -----------------------------------
        Everyone makes mistakes. The trick is to make mistakes when nobody is looking.

        -

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: George's Pompeii progress

          George,

          Looking great so far. I think you had an earlier post about building permits... No matter how you net out there you may want to think about the height (probably already know this) of your chimney given the close proximity to your house. My oven will be over 10 feet from my house but next to my pergola. I'll need to extend the chimney 2-3 feet higher than my pergola.

          Thanks
          Dick

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: George's Pompeii progress

            Thanks Dick,
            I read your posting about the pergola and chimney height before. Yes, it is going to be a tall chimney. I was going to build the stand one block higher so that two 48" sections of chimney would put me 2 feet above the house. I decided against that because the floor of the oven would have ended up somewhere around mid-chest height, a little too high in my book.
            From what I've read, the taller the chimney, the better it will draw. I hope that is truely the case. I'm still not sure how to enclose the oven and make it look attractive with that big chimney sticking out. As long as it cooks well though, I'll be happy enough.
            G.
            GJBingham
            -----------------------------------
            Everyone makes mistakes. The trick is to make mistakes when nobody is looking.

            -

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: George's Pompeii progress

              Hi George,
              looking at your progress, you did a nice job, I am thinking to build a corner oven like yours as I have limited space and thinking if 60" would be ok instead of your 64" as heart slab. What would you suggest based on your experience? Thanks Carlo
              Ciao Carlo

              Cost spreadsheet updated 4/22/08

              Pictures updated 5/28/08

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: George's Pompeii progress

                Carlo,
                It seemed that no matter how I stacked the blocks, I ended up with 54 or62.5 inches (+/-) (not 64 as you wrote). I had no desire to try to cut those concrete blocks, though it can be done.

                For a 36 inch oven, you need 55 inches of base plus space for whatever building your finish...block, metal studs, stucco, etc. There should be enough room on a 60 inch base for a stucco or metal stud/backerboard finish on the corner installation (I think). The sticking point is the space for the oven opening, which requires and additional 6 inches for the vent and 12ish for the landing. I get really tight on mine. I think I have 9 inches for the landing because of the way I rounded the corner.

                Check my question in the Getting Started forum about how much space is required for the vent floor. It may shed some more light on the situation. Ultimately, you could make the oven slightly smaller, which is not as desireable but better than no oven at all.

                Hope this helps.
                G.
                GJBingham
                -----------------------------------
                Everyone makes mistakes. The trick is to make mistakes when nobody is looking.

                -

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: George's Pompeii progress

                  George, the 64" I mentioned are related to the foundation slab, you are right 62.5" is the heart slab because the blocks are not 16" but 15.6" each. I am posting a reply and add my drawing plan to your venting question so we can open a discussion and get some input, thanks Carlo
                  Ciao Carlo

                  Cost spreadsheet updated 4/22/08

                  Pictures updated 5/28/08

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: George's Pompeii progress

                    Ahh, my mistake. I see what you're referring to. Sadly, I don't have any experience in the hearth slab size. I poured mine into an existing foundation of a (now gone) sunroom.

                    I think James recommends 4 (or 8?) inches wider than the stand so that you have room for final finishing. Realistically, I think you could probably use the same width for the slab that you use for the stand. Just my opinion.
                    G.
                    GJBingham
                    -----------------------------------
                    Everyone makes mistakes. The trick is to make mistakes when nobody is looking.

                    -

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: George's Pompeii progress

                      George if I didn't have the freezing problem I would, if I lay down my finishing bricks or whatever I decide to use on the foundation slab (floating) then all is going to move together (oven+walls) and possibly no cracks...
                      But I'll plan 6" for the vent as I redid the plan and I do have room for it, so suggestion taken! thanks
                      Carlo
                      Ciao Carlo

                      Cost spreadsheet updated 4/22/08

                      Pictures updated 5/28/08

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: George's Pompeii progress

                        I'm back with an update. Things are moving faster than they probably should, but the weather is really good for October in the great NW and things will slow very quickly as the rains get more serious. Right now though, it's sunny and mid 60s (F) for the nex 4 or 5 days.

                        I let the hearth concrete slab set for 8 or so days and started framing in my vermiculite/concrete hearth space. I'm hesitant to remove any forms at this point as I know that concrete cure times are in weeks and months, not days. I figure, as long as the concrete is hard enough to hold up my next layer, I'll keep working and remove the forms later, maybe months from now.

                        I could only find two bags of vermiculite locally, and I had to drive twenty miles to get those. I made my base for this pour two inches wider than my planned oven width to allow for crumbling edges and piss poor planning. I ended up using both bags of vermiculite along with 90 LBS of cement to pour the insulation hearth. I used about 95% of what I mixed. You can see in the pics that I used masking tape along the base of the forms because I didn't know how much this stuff would flow (Because the pour was 4 inches in depth and the 2X4s only 3.5 inches in width, I toenailed them to the tops of the forms and left about .5 inches of gap between the forms and the concrete hearth already poured).

                        The insulation layer pour was pretty well set about 8 hours later. I covered it with a tarp for the first couple of days, but was getting confilicting information as to whether or not it should be covered during cure time. I ended up taking the tarp off after that. Regardless, 5 days later , I'm tired of waiting around. I had bought my HF saw a few days prior, and making like a convict turning big rocks into small, cut about 60 bricks in half and was itching to get going with the real project at hand.
                        Attached Files
                        GJBingham
                        -----------------------------------
                        Everyone makes mistakes. The trick is to make mistakes when nobody is looking.

                        -

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: George's Pompeii progress

                          George, question regarding your wet saw...I bought the same and I assembled it last night. In the end I have a square rubber piece, it looks a kind of protection, I found no screws in the package and very poor assembly instructions....don't know where it goes....did you have the same problem?
                          Thanks Carlo
                          Ciao Carlo

                          Cost spreadsheet updated 4/22/08

                          Pictures updated 5/28/08

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: George's Pompeii progress

                            Onward,
                            Late Thursday afternoon, I was playing around with the sand/fireclay/H2O and bricks, testing to see how hard it was going to be to set the oven floor. Not having read the boards carefully enough, I'd forgotten about soaking the bricks in water. I thought it was the insulation hearth sucking up all the water from my sand/fire clay mixture. I couldn't get those bricks to move for anything once they were set down.

                            After reading a bit more of the boards that evening, I found the answer about soaking the bricks. Also, I saw that several people had just used fireclay and omitted the sand from the formula for setting the oven floor. That sounded reasonable, so I figured I would try that first and then add sand if I had problems.

                            Dropping that first brick in the water was absolutely stunning to see. No wonder my practice session the night before didn't work. It looked like a Fizzy in there.

                            Anyway, my picks show me mixing my fireclay and water mix with my wife's hand mixer. I was having a good laugh, 'cause she was out of the house and would have freaked out if she knew. I'd forgotten to buy the drill attachment for mixing mud and there was no way to mix this stuff by hand.

                            I spent about 4 hours setting the floor. I had to chisel the edges of each brick before I set them to remove any irregularities. Regardless, there's enough variation in the bricks to cause occasional gaps, though most of the floor is very tight. I do have a couple of bricks that refused to sit down level with their neighbors. I'm going to hit them with an 80 grit band saw today or tomorrow.

                            Hasta pronto

                            The rest of the pics are pretty self explanitory
                            Attached Files
                            GJBingham
                            -----------------------------------
                            Everyone makes mistakes. The trick is to make mistakes when nobody is looking.

                            -

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: George's Pompeii progress

                              Oh yah, I forgot. The third pic is my screw up. I was setting the bricks, thinking everything is cool. I stopped to take the pic and it dawned on me that I wasn't using a herringbone pattern. I pulled it all up and did it again.
                              GJBingham
                              -----------------------------------
                              Everyone makes mistakes. The trick is to make mistakes when nobody is looking.

                              -

                              Comment

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