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  #21  
Old 01-08-2014, 09:55 AM
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Default Re: North House Folk Scool

I know a lot of folks, probably myself included, overthink it. I have just found it is always wise to seek advice from people who have experience doing things and try to do it right the first time. I have some time to absorb some words of wisdom from you all, since it will be spring before I really start the base. For my hearth slab, I plan to pour a decorative/colored concrete slab, but only in the areas that will be seen later. There will be a small work area adjacent to it, also decorative (stamped) concrete.
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  #22  
Old 01-08-2014, 10:08 AM
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Default Re: North House Folk Scool

Pertaining to use of the "IT", how is it attached at the pivot point? Is it best to attach it to a piece of wood? If so, does it being raised up the thickness of the wood, does that have an effect on anything, etc? I don't want to have to drill into the hearth bricks, etc. I have seen some photos where the builder had it on some 3/4" inch wood, etc.
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  #23  
Old 01-08-2014, 10:12 AM
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Default Re: North House Folk Scool

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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
If you intend to enjoy the process from scratch, (and like me - no prior masonry experience) you might find yourself taking the time to ensure a minimum level of quality (joint size, symmetry, brick bond, etc). After all, you only get to build your oven once and your signature will be all over it.

How fast do you need it completed? If you don't need to custom-fit every brick like Les or Colin (Oasiscdm), the IT may be the route to go. I used a template and can assure you my oven is not close to being perfectly round.
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  #24  
Old 01-08-2014, 11:46 AM
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Default Re: North House Folk Scool

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Originally Posted by GianniFocaccia View Post
After all, you only get to build your oven once ......
Or in my case 2 going on 3, as soon as we move!

In all seriousness, if you plan to make oven building part of your business, you should build a least a couple before you offer them to clients. It will give you something to compare to, and put you ahead of the learning curve when you have client pressure.
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  #25  
Old 01-08-2014, 01:36 PM
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Default Re: North House Folk Scool

I definitely want to build mine first, but also want it to look good. I am not worried so much about speed, although tasting that first pizza gets put off if it takes too long. I am fascinated by the IT tool and would like to be able to go that route, if I can master it. I know with experience, each one "should" be a tad easier. John.....where are you in SC?
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  #26  
Old 01-08-2014, 01:51 PM
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Default Re: North House Folk Scool

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Originally Posted by stonecutter View Post
In the time it takes to construct one of those tools, I can build up three or four courses freehand ( after the soldier).
You are one seriously quick bricklayer if you can lay 3 or 4 courses of brick in the half hour it takes me to construct and install an IT.
It appears to me that, for anyone who has built more than one oven, the method that worked the first time is the way they are comfortable with going forward.
(BTW, I simply draw a circle on the base and lay the first course freehand against the line.)

I tried to talk my mate into an elliptical oven, after I had a brainwave about how I could do it with the IT quite easily, but he was against the extra depth due to he's got shorter arms than me.

NCMan, when I strike the left to right and front to back centre lines on top of the insulation, I make sure I keep them clear and mark them on the inside of the bricks after I lay the first course. This gives me marks to align a piece of timber that I hold in place with a couple of bricks. Then the tool is simply screwed to the timber.
The thickness of, say, a half inch of timber doesn't matter much. If you are using the IT, you are most likely building a simple hemisphere from square blocks, there will be some tolerances involved. In any case, you don't lay the keystone with the tool, so the height of the dome ends up being whatever the tool lays the last course at, which is a slight angle, so you see a little height subtracted.
Last week I was aiming for 425mm internal height, and ended up with about 438mm. What's a half inch between friends?

When I lay each brick , I push it in firmly, so that the top corner makes physical contact with the brick I am laying it against, and also push it down firmly so the two bottom corners touch the bricks below. If you are laying the bricks so they overlap the joints below, the bricks won't touch in the middle. You can feel when each brick makes contact.
I do this is so that, if the mortar fails, then each brick is physically supported at each corner regardless.

Anyway, a half dome template will work just as well, if you want to go that way, especially if you prefer a low dome Naples style, rather than the high dome Tuscan oven.

Last edited by wotavidone; 01-08-2014 at 02:13 PM.
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  #27  
Old 01-08-2014, 03:19 PM
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Default Re: North House Folk Scool

I don't consider myself a fast bricklayer at all....the first few courses are a piece of cake.

But it's masonry, and I happen to do it full time, and I have built more than a couple ovens. I'm not fixed on only one way to center the dome..... in fact, I plan on using a sand form for my next oven, which will be at least 40". The half dome form worked for me mainly because it was fast and accurate, and clients like to see progress.
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  #28  
Old 01-08-2014, 04:29 PM
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Default Re: North House Folk Scool

With regard to sand forms, when the Italian commercial builders lay their bricks dry on a sand dome form, then pour a really runny mortar mix over the top, what do you reckon the mortar is?
That'd have to be the quickest way of forming a dome, but I haven't come up with a mix I'd be comfortable diluting so runny that it flows between the bricks.
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  #29  
Old 01-08-2014, 04:35 PM
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Default Re: North House Folk Scool

It is some brand of castable refractory. As you probably have seen, most commercial Neapolitan domes have some sloppy brick work. It's all strictly built for function... A big difference from what everyone is doing here.

A homemade refractory could be designed, all the components are available, and it would be an interesting project. The trick is getting the ratios correct.
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  #30  
Old 01-08-2014, 04:52 PM
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Default Re: North House Folk Scool

My guess, not a WAG, but still a guess, is that it is a pozzolan based refractory mortar. It is appears very runny, but does not exhibit much shrinkage cracking, which would be indicative of a water reducing mix, like pozzolans create. Plus it is local and cheap for them to use.

The advantage to a half dome template is the same as for the IT: You can lay the brick and clean the mortar up right away. With a half dome form, however, there is no calculating or fiddling, you slide the template in, lay the brick and move to the next.
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