web analytics
My mason screwed up. Should I start over? - Forno Bravo Forum: The Wood-Fired Oven Community

Announcement

Collapse

Forum Issues Update

Things are progressing in getting things back in order on the Forum! User avatars should be showing up. Attachment and inline images are in the process of being uploaded. We are still looking for a migration path for the Photoplog gallery. Thank you for your patience!
See more
See less

My mason screwed up. Should I start over?

Collapse
X
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • My mason screwed up. Should I start over?

    I just realized that my mason, who supposedly has 18 years of experience, laid all the bricks for the first 4 courses of my oven DRY. From what I read, this was a critical error and the mortar may have dried instead of cured. Doesn't help too that it was over 80 degrees yesterday. And this was after he made a point of saying how the plans said the bricks needed to be soaked. I feel this is a critical error, and he should knock down the first courses and start over, but even if that is on his nickel, this has a to me in time and schedule conflicts. So here is my question community: has the integrity of my dome been compromised and should I insist that he start over?

  • #2
    Re: My mason screwed up. Should I start over?

    I didn't soak my bricks. Granted, there was some moisture from the wet saw, but as I got to the top they were completely dry (the glue didn't work if they were wet). If the brick joints look good, you most likely do not have a problem.

    Les..
    Check out my pictures here:
    http://www.fornobravo.com/forum/f8/les-build-4207.html

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

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: My mason screwed up. Should I start over?

      Tom,

      I just finished the soldier course on my oven and I only soaked the bricks for a miniute or so just to make sure the mortar stayed workable as I put things together. This morning I thumped the soldier course with my knuckle and I found it made an interesting bong sound like a bell. I suspect that is an indication that all of the bricks have been bonded together. You may want to tap yours and see if it makes a similar sound. If you are really worried you could try and pull on of the bricks off. It it does not come of easily I would suspect you are just fine.
      I enjoy cooking with wine, sometimes I even put it in the food I'm cooking. --- Julia Child

      http://picasaweb.google.com/mattluttropp

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: My mason screwed up. Should I start over?

        I don't think you mentioned what sort of mortar you are having him use. If it is a Portland cement concoction it is not too late to mist it and keep it wet for a period of time for curing.

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: My mason screwed up. Should I start over?

          Soaking the bricks just makes them easier to lay (& cut), it stops the mortar from drying out too quick while you get them positioned in the right spot.

          If you're good at what you're doing, (i.e. - fast like a proper mason) you shouldn't need to wet the bricks, at least at first while they can be laid relatively quickly...

          just my 2 cents...
          -------------------------------------------
          My 2nd Build:
          Is here

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: My mason screwed up. Should I start over?

            are you using heat stop 50 mortar ? I only soaked my bricks for a few minutes, just to keep the dust down and help keep the blade cool when cutting. Many of the dome bricks I cut with a chisel tool and didnt soak at all. Though I did mist the dome during construction. It sounds like you should be ok,, Dont ask him to take it apart, ask him if he guarentee's his work ??

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: My mason screwed up. Should I start over?

              I did use Heat Stop 50. The bricks were cut with a wet saw in advance of laying them but they were very dry. I went to the web site for Heat Stop 50 and found an article under a "how to" link: Building a Masonry Firebox with Refractory Mortar. Here is the link: Build Masonry Fireboxes

              The article says "Hydraulic-setting mortar sets up, or cures, like Portland based mortars rather than drys. Premixed or air-drying mortar does dry...Because the pre-mixed refractory mortar is not a hydraulically setting mortar (it dries out rather than cures by chemical reaction like ordinary mortar does) the mason can make very thin joints and doesn't have to pre-soak the firebrick. "

              This strongly implies that the bricks should not be dry when set, because the Heat Stop 50 (dry mix) cures, rather than dries. I am going to call Heat Stop in the AM to confirm this. As for my relationship with the mason, he is an out of work mason who I just hired for this job, so there is no guarantee here.

              If I am correct, the bricks should have been wet, so I will back where I thought I was...wondering if the whole damn thing will collapse or develop nasty cracks.

              One thing I was thinking about doing, if I decide to not force him to tear it down and begin again, is to cover the exterior of the dome with a layer of refractory mortar, after the dome is in place, to bind it all together. I would not be doing that normally, because this will be an enclosed oven, but I might now because of this issue.

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: My mason screwed up. Should I start over?

                Tom - it will not collapse. I only used the mortar on the back side to maintain the gap distance and my oven is working perfectly. You WILL get cracks - we all do.

                Les...
                Check out my pictures here:
                http://www.fornobravo.com/forum/f8/les-build-4207.html

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

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: My mason screwed up. Should I start over?

                  Tom,

                  My dad was a mason and of course he thinks we are all nuts. They did not have HeatStop 50 in his day. And the ovens he built in the old country are still standing...there was no science as I put it to the work that is on the this forum. Although he is impressed at times when he hears what people have done and the use of heat stop 50 is not all that new as he remembers at the end of his career using special type cement/morta for brick fireplaces. He has never had a problem with the curing process. When I shoe him the work that is being done on this forum by masons and most importantly non masons he is very impressed but for a 77 year old work horse he would say that it is fine the way you have it. Especially if you are going to cover with mortar layer or blanket.

                  Then again he is old school I am not going to say he is an expert at this by any means but he has been saving me. A lot of time even if science meets old school is like oil and water.

                  The one thing he said was the old churches and arch's of Rome in some cases are still standing today. It is not the mortar that is keeping them together it is the structure of how the brick is placed and the weight is disperesed properly.

                  Good luck!
                  Dino

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: My mason screwed up. Should I start over?

                    I wonder if the masons in ancient Pompeii used 'refractory mortar' and soaked their bricks before building?

                    Seriously - you are having the same kind of concerns we all do when building. That it won't be perfect and it will fall or crack. As others have pointed out these things are fairly simple. I have to keep reminding myself that I am not working on the Space Shuttle. I am covering the outside of my bricks with a mortar layer after I make sure all gaps are filled with brick chips. I want all the thermal mass I can get as I intend to do baking as well as pizza.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: My mason screwed up. Should I start over?

                      Good comment, Dino!

                      I have been dying to hear someone say what you did about the OLD ovens. It is obvious that the old ovens of Europe don't have the materials and cements of today and pretty much had to use whatever was available. I knew it had to be true but I didn't have enough experience/knowledge to say it!

                      Thanks!
                      Jay

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: My mason screwed up. Should I start over?

                        Thanks everybody for all the help with this. I spoke this AM with the folks at Heat Stop. Their advise was to wet the bricks so the mortar would not dry, but they know a lot of masons just work with dry bricks. My mason didn't wet them because he didn't want them sliding down, and because his dad always laid bricks dry. He acknowledges a little misting or a quick dunk would have been better given the conditions here last Th and Fri. Today is wet/humid, and we are getting near the top of the dome, so he is moving forward without wetting the bricks.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: My mason screwed up. Should I start over?

                          Tom,

                          Glad to hear you are moving forward. Sounds like your mason would know what dad would talk about. Growing up I never remember my dad soaking the bricks but I know he would wet things down with a house and stuff. I will share one more thing as I was building out forms for the dome the other day and my dad said he did so many of them with sand he thinks I am doing all this work when some sand will do the trick...and when you said the slipping made me think if the sand was there on the inside of the dome the bricks would not slip...

                          Folks I also hope I did not offend anyone as I was not trying to under mine the knowledge and incredible talent in this forum. I was just trying to state that we on this forum some of us experienced and not probably have different ideas of how it was done or should be done. I love this site for one reason the new and innovative ideas that it offers for building something that has been such a dream for me to do. The fact that the site has so much information about the history and the difference of the oven between tuscan and napolitano is so incredible for anyone to understand. The fact that you can get a mason to help build one or do it yourself and speaking from an IT guy like myself(yeah I listend to my dad growing up) this site is so logical to understand.

                          I am currently doing two projects of which my dad is involved in the pizza oven and a storage shed in the backyard. This weekend was storage shed time and my dad and I were at odds with the way I wanted to do things and the way he sees things his way. The pizza oven is sitting there with one row of block for the stand and I am getting upset that it is not done...I would not trade the time with my dad for anything as well as just learning new things. that I think others have said on this may be in our blood.

                          My thank you to James and FornoBravo TEAM. And all the members of this forum who have shared so much.

                          Hope I can add my two cents with my dad who is finding this quiet amusing especially when I show him the pictures and where people are from. To someone who only finished the 8th grade and came to the US this is amazing to watch I woudl think.


                          Dino

                          Comment

                          Working...
                          X