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New builder, some new tips, and a question - Forno Bravo Forum: The Wood-Fired Oven Community


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Dome Installation Video - Casa / Premio / Modena


For many of you who bought a modular oven, you may have asked how we put the domes together when we build them. For those of you considering one of our ovens, we shot a video to make your install easier.

Check it out on our You Tube Channel.


If the link doesn't work, simply go to You Tube and type Forno Bravo Channel. The video title is How to Set your Forno Bravo Oven Dome Pieces.

Thanks for participating in our Forum. We will have more video content available soon.
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New builder, some new tips, and a question

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  • New builder, some new tips, and a question

    My wife's been bugging me for years to build her a beehive dome, and got me the FB plans, so I launched into it. So far it's doing pretty well, I'm up to about the fifth course and it's looking good. Using Heat Stop 50 which seems to work really well (I wanted to add sand, but the bag said not to). No forms so far, but I did build a 1/4 round "jig" that hooks onto a piece of rebar that fits into a hole in the central brick that will eventually take a thermocouple. I found that for splitting lots of bricks in half for the dome a cheap hand pumped log splitter works great, not a super straight surface but neat enough for something that won't show and will be mortared over and then immersed in perlite (enclosed dome). I found mine in a junk pile and had to get a new jack for it, but you can get them at Harbor Freight or such for about $100. When you're done building the oven, you can use it to split your wood! Figured out another trick: if you want to hold a small piece of brick to do some fine cutting with a circular saw with a masonry blade, fill something like a cat litter pan with about four inches of wet sand and bed the piece of brick down into it and wail away.
    Question: should I do the initial curing before I enclose the dome in the insulation? I've been leaving the dome covered at night (it's down in the upper 30s here at night) with a heater running inside, and there is a LOT of moisture coming out of this thing. Seems I'd like that to escape into the atmosphere and not into the insulation. Speaking of which, there is a place here in the Lehigh Valley (Bethlehem/Allentown area) called Pennsylvania Perlite that has all different grades, big bags, cheap, no silicone. 800 473 7548.
    Mike Space
    BTW, the gentleman with the camera tripod gave me a good laugh mentioning Whitworth fittings, since I've got a bunch of British cars. Figures we'd be the type building ancient technology like brick ovens.
    Attached Files

  • #2
    Re: New builder, some new tips, and a question

    Hi Spazio,

    Welcome to the forum! Looks like you are doing a really nice job on your oven.

    You definitely don't need to add sand to the HeatStop50. It comes ready to go and is just about perfect the way it is.

    The log splitter is a great idea. I never would have guessed it would work!

    There are two theories on curing with or without insulation. I vote for putting on your refractory blanket then curing. Unless you see some really, really ugly cracks after curing, the blanket stays on and you continue finishing out the build. It's very rare that anyone has to remove the blanket to make repairs. You'll get a few hairline cracks here and there (normal) but that should be it.

    Keep up the nice work and keep the pictures coming!
    Ken H. - Kentucky
    42" Pompeii

    Pompeii Oven Construction Video Updated!

    Oven Thread ... Enclosure Thread
    Cost Spreadsheet ... Picasa Web Album


    • #3
      Re: New builder, some new tips, and a question

      "I vote for putting on your refractory blanket then curing."

      I agree with Ken. If you are using a vermiculite/portland insulation layer then put this on first before curing.


      • #4
        Re: New builder, some new tips, and a question

        Im with these guys... I put on my blanket and vermicrete,, waited then fired....

        Great work its looking good....



        • #5
          Re: New builder, some new tips, and a question

          I may do the curing with just the blanket. My rationale is that I'd rather have the moisture escape into the atmosphere than get trapped in the insulation (loose perlite fill) where it will be more difficult to get rid of, especially since it's getting to be winter soon.
          Ok, so I was working on the lintel the other day. I did the angle iron idea, and it was a pain; I would rather have done intersecting arch/dome. Fortunately I'm a pretty ok welder, and made up a double lintel with clips to hold the inner bricks (see photos). It's up a couple of courses from this by now, I'll post new pix soon. Wonder if I should jump this to another thread?
          So there I was just getting everything lined up and mortared in place, and the CD in my boombox starts to skip. And skip. And skip. It's driving me nuts, but I can't stop to shut it off. I did, however, have a stack of bricks real handy...
          But the cinder block really finished it off.
          Poor boombox.
          Attached Files


          • #6
            Re: New builder, some new tips, and a question


            Time for a new boombox... everything else is looking good... many people have cured their domes without the insulation and have had no bad effects.... I cured everything for 28 days before my first fire, If you go ahead with the fire,, go low and slow.. now is not the time to rush

            Cheers and nice work


            • #7
              Re: New builder, some new tips, and a question

              My wife has a pizza party planned for January 2nd, and I hope to have the dome closed in today, if the new jig I woke up with in my head works out. Then I'll be going away and leaving it with a small heater running inside it. Probably be about ten days before I start firing it and in the meantime I'll build the enclosure.


              • #8
                Re: New builder, some new tips, and a question

                Mike looking good. Had a good laugh about the boom box, sounds like something I would do.
                I've always done my own work/projects, but rarely wake up thinking about them. Building this oven has me thinking about it all the time. Fun project, the chicken coup we built this spring wasn't as fun, but the chickens sure like it.

                Member WFOAMBA Wood Fired Oven Amatueur Masons Builders America


                • #9
                  Re: New builder, some new tips, and a question

                  It's done! (at least the dome). Amazing how quickly it starts going once the hole gets small, though you do spend a lot of time cutting the bricks to fit, which didn't need to be done before. The "cap" took a few hours, but once I had finished fitting the bricks, I took the form away and everything was a "tap fit" and held itself in place. Then I took it apart, mortared everything and cleaned up. I'll be away for a few days, and when I come back I'll finish the chimney and start some curing fires.
                  BTW, that's the form I made up to hold the top rows in place while I set them. I think my MIG welder was one of the most useful tools I had at my disposal
                  Attached Files


                  • #10
                    Re: New builder, some new tips, and a question

                    hey mike... Looks great.....
                    Hope you dont mind if i go a bit off topic ??? Are you a welder ??? Im lookin to buy a mig welder and learn to weld.. Is Mig/arc a good place to start and is it difficult ??



                    • #11
                      Re: New builder, some new tips, and a question

                      Mark; I'm just a sort of Jack of all trades, but mostly mechanical, so many years back I bought a small 110 volt MIG from Eastwood Co. Mostly it sits under my bench, but when it's useful, it's REALLY useful. It's not hard to get decent with it, it's mostly practicing on scrap. Buy a mid range model from Sears or Tractor Supply or such, and invest in a reasonably good self-darkening helmet and a how-to-do-it book. Oh, and get the inert gas (usually argon) setup, it really helps. It's been a long time since I priced anything, but I guess I'd budget about $1000-$1500 for everything; I may be way off on that figure.


                      • #12
                        Re: New builder, some new tips, and a question

                        thanks mike, I was considering this one,,, But if you think the inert gas is better I will start doing my homework some more
                        - Harbor Freight Tools - Quality Tools at the Lowest Prices Its Model # 94164 in case the link doesnt work...

                        Appreciate your help...
                        Last edited by ThisOldGarageNJ; 08-16-2010, 05:53 PM.


                        • #13
                          Re: New builder, some new tips, and a question

                          Actually, the inert gas is an accessory to the MIG consisting of a gas bottle along with the appropriate plumbing and wiring. It creates an "envelope" around the arc that shields it from the oxygen, giving you a cleaner weld. There's a solenoid that turns the gas on as you pull the trigger on the MIG handle. It's not the same as a TIG welder. Mike