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  #11  
Old 01-07-2014, 12:44 PM
cleverdick's Avatar
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Default Re: North House Folk Scool

Quote:
Originally Posted by NCMan View Post
Hi, everyone. I am set up to attend a weeklong class up in Minn., at North House Folk School in a few months on Wood Fired Brick Oven Building. Does anyone have any experience w/them? I want to build an oven for myself, then, hopefully build them for others. I do have a concrete/masonry background, but know next to nothing about building brick ovens. Thanx, Carl from NC.
I know it's not entirely in the spirit of this forum, or necessarily what you wanted to do, but don't discount a pre-cast. (You'd still have plenty of building to do with the enclosure.) Some would say it's cheating, but the time between now and your first pizza would be greatly reduced. Possible disadvantages are: (1) it could cost a lot more if you want a really large oven, (2), the thermal mass may not be as great, and (3) you won't get quite the same sense of achievement. But there are at least plenty to choose from.

PS Went to NC about 15 years ago - visited some freinds near Dunn. Pizzas not good - Pizza Hut had just won "Best Pizza Retailer of the Year" or something...
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  #12  
Old 01-07-2014, 02:19 PM
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Default Re: North House Folk Scool

Thanks, but I do intend to build from scratch. I am really fascinated by the whole process.
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  #13  
Old 01-07-2014, 05:02 PM
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Default Re: North House Folk Scool

Personally, I am glad the tool works for so many people, but it is not needed, nor is it the fastest or best way to build. A simple half-dome template works just fine.
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  #14  
Old 01-08-2014, 04:45 AM
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Default Re: North House Folk Scool

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Originally Posted by Tscarborough View Post
Personally, I am glad the tool works for so many people, but it is not needed, nor is it the fastest or best way to build. A simple half-dome template works just fine.
Can't agree with you.
I'm sure a template works fine, and an IT is certainly not essential, but I reckon an IT is the best and fastest way to build a dome.

The only trouble is, most guys overthink the tool and spend far too much time on the engineering.

If you use a simple stick, L bracket and hinge arrangement it takes about 30 minutes to construct and install.
Then, if you butter the brick with mortar properly, and clamp the brick into the L bracket with your hand as you position the brick, the tool aligns the brick perfectly and the joint fills with mortar properly. Scrape off the excess and you are done.
No crawling inside the oven to clean bricks and fill gaps, as often seems happen when guys use various wooden or sand forms.
The template gives you a curve to follow but it doesn't set the angle of the brick for you.
Also, I explained in another thread the tool can also be used to construct low domes and domes that are not an exact hemisphere with little if any modification.
The speed limiting factor when we built a dome at my mates place last week was cutting the bricks. (And lunch and beer breaks. )
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  #15  
Old 01-08-2014, 05:46 AM
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Default Re: North House Folk Scool

I think it is a matter of perspective and your level of experience whether the IT is the best and fastest way to center the dome. Using one must take away some of the anxiety of running off course or keeping the correct angle for new builders, but here's another take....

In the time it takes to construct one of those tools, I can build up three or four courses freehand ( after the soldier). I use a half dome template for checking the inner shape as the brick go up, and I don't need support until the last few courses, because the domes I have been building are elliptical, Neapolitan ovens. Once I reach a point where the brick needs more support than a few seconds, then I use a half dome template. I have been making them out of rigid foam insulation.

IMO, the best centering that is used has everything to do with the individual builder, and what they are comfortable using. The IT is a crafty centering tool for sure, but it comes with its own fiddily problems...no different than the unique obstacles that are present when using a sand form or template.
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Last edited by stonecutter; 01-08-2014 at 05:54 AM.
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  #16  
Old 01-08-2014, 09:48 AM
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Default Re: North House Folk Scool

Thanks to you both. I appreciate the words of wisdom that come from folks who have built these. Nothing like experience. As I said earlier, I do have a masonry background and that will help, naturally. I just have never been exposed to much but stone work, block and brick and concrete work. So, the base and even the enclosure I can easily handle. I just want this WFO I build to be done right, since I hope to gain enough confidence afterwards to build them for others and will be using mine as a reference to show people, etc. One thing I'm still not sure of is the layout process, as it pertains to the arch, etc. I haven't seen much (it is probably on this forum somewhere) showing the layout process to be sure it all ties together, etc. One thing for sure, is I love this forum and having access to folks who have "been there, done that".
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  #17  
Old 01-08-2014, 10:14 AM
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Default Re: North House Folk Scool

The layout is pretty straightforward, once you decide on oven dimension and door opening. Add the weidth of the mass and the width of the insulation (and walls if it is a doghouse). Then you need to decide your entry depth, find center and go.

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  #18  
Old 01-08-2014, 10:35 AM
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Default Re: North House Folk Scool

If you care for a complete amateur's point of view, for what it's worth: I loved building the dome! I used the IT exclusively, mine took minutes to make (oh, I actually had to make 2, my first one got ruined when it rained) it was not very precise and I lost centimeters with each row, so I didn't even really use it 'right'. I had absolutely no clue what I was doing the entire time but my dome came out great and looks mighty impressive. I think too many folks overthink it, I just kept going uninhibited. I had to knock out my top rows and redo them too, I tried to use a support to set the top in and being blind to it didn't work for me, so I figured out how to do it without and came out much better off the second try.

For perspective, I can't lay brick level to save my life, I am not patient enough (and completely untrained) for masonry, so I laid my brick in a 'patchwork' style which hides my lack of skill pretty well, and accents my mismatched bricks too.

The focus is on the pizza the oven produces, not on any tiny (or in my case, hugely) flawed areas of brickwork. I think an eye for proportion is far more important if you are looking to market yourself as an oven builder, I would want to be sure you have an eye for balance and consideration for workspace. I LOVE my giant counter and would make it bigger if I had the space to expand it. (I may build a matching table to the side one of these days for serving space.)
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  #19  
Old 01-08-2014, 10:41 AM
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Default Re: North House Folk Scool

I'm thinking of going w/a 36" inside dimension. That should be plenty big enough. I guess it's at the transition of the beginning of the arch and the dome is where I am still trying to clear up. I am open as to what to do w/the arch width and height. I like the full semi circle for the arches. Just a "normal" width and height is fine. I have gone over the FB plans a couple of times and I guess I am still not clear whether to build the arch first, at the same time as the dome, etc. I've seen some very skillful and talented samples in photos on here and I only hope I can do as well.
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  #20  
Old 01-08-2014, 10:48 AM
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Default Re: North House Folk Scool

The arch height is set by the dome ceiling height (at 62-65% of the ceiling), the width is what ever you want, but probably 16-18". I do not think it matters which way you build it, but for a hemispherical arch in an oven with no soldier/sailor first course, you can't go wrong building it after the first course of the dome.
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