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Eddie4 03-04-2009 12:50 PM

Still thinking..............
Im still thinking of building an oven this spring.
Im in MA and have been contemplating for over 2 years now.
I would be building by myself and have no masonry experience at all. Just the ambition to cook in brick oven in my back yard.

I really don't want to get half way thru and give up.
Can anyone share the frustrations you had when building without experience?

Man I really want to do this but am very nervous about taking that first shovel full of dirt.

Any help would be great.


bimbo 03-04-2009 12:55 PM

Re: Still thinking..............
If you have a look throught he build up threads i would say that the majority of people who have built ovens had never layed a brick before.

One of the great things about forums like this is that if you run into problems or arn't quite sure about how something fits or works you can jump on here and search for it and chances are that someone has asked the question before and if not everyone on here is more than happy to try and answer.

If you are unsure about the build i find drawing scale pictures help me vision where it will fit in the yard, ,how the oven will sit on the slab etc.

The old rule of measure twice (or 3,4,5 times), cut once reins truer than ever

dmun 03-04-2009 12:57 PM

Re: Still thinking..............
Very few of us had masonry experience. I had lined an old fireplace with firebrick splits so I had an idea of how heat-stop worked and how easy it is to cut firebricks, so I was a bit up on most people.

Download and follow the instructions. Ask questions, you'll be fine.

Les 03-04-2009 01:12 PM

Re: Still thinking..............

Originally Posted by dmun (Post 51838)

Download and follow the instructions. Ask questions, you'll be fine.

Eddie, Davids right on. I think as a whole - we have pretty much seen it all. You just need to supply the $$$ and sweat - we can do the thinking ;)


Eddie4 03-04-2009 02:07 PM

Re: Still thinking..............
Thanks for all your advice. I guess you just have to dive in and do it.
How does the saying go?... " shoot and ask questions later" I guess that applies a weird twisted sense.
Lets see if I can get my head around this by spring then break ground.

dmun 03-04-2009 03:28 PM

Re: Still thinking..............
Spring is good: the ground is soft to excavate for your crushed stone and footings. Start shopping now. Find out what your local brickyard carries before they get busy.
A longer lead time also lets you scout used or repurposed materials.

gjbingham 03-04-2009 07:14 PM

Re: Still thinking..............
Great idea by dmun. Look at the materials list and spend some time on the phone calling around to see what you can get locally, without waiting, and what materials you will have to order. Delays waiting for concrete to harden and materials to become available were my biggest stressors during my build. Otherwise, very few frustrations. The whole project is pretty straight forward. You'll have a blast with this one once you get going.

pwcoppard 03-05-2009 06:14 AM

Re: Still thinking..............

That was me, eighteen months ago. I had never laid a brick before the first block of the foundation. Built the oven in about 5 weeks of work. The coolest thing I have ever done, and the sense of satisfaction is incredible.

A couple of things I learned:

1. don't read this blog too much before you start. It can be scary.
2. follow the instructions closely, they are fabulous.
3. if you get stuck, the blog will solve your problems. The posts are less scary and more helpful when you are trying to figure out some specific thing.
4. get the refractory mortar mix right. this took me a long time, and caused a few problems later - that I was able to fix.
5. seriously take the advice to be patient with the tempering of the oven.
6. don't try to do it in one or two hour chunks. you need at least 3 - 4 hours to get set up, do some work, and clean up.

I still get a kick firing the oven, we have far better parties, and we can cook anything in there. Winter or summer, rain or shine.

Go for it, and good luck.


carloswlkr 03-05-2009 07:06 AM

Re: Still thinking..............
I agree with David, Les, George and Bimbo. Many of us had little or no experience prior to jumping in. The Forum and PDF are invaluable resources. I had never laid a brick in my life, and the fear of not being able to do it properly put my oven on hold for nearly two years. But I got a burst of energy over the new year, and started on the 1st of January. It definitely takes time, if you're doing it by yourself, but I found that the joy of seeing it go up kept me going.

Without a doubt, the forum and especially those who participate are a huge source of encouragement. I found myself starting in on my build, posting a few questions and doubts or ideas, and within minutes, had words of encouragement and helpful advice. I still haven't finished my build (have taken time off for travels), but have had my first few batches of pizza and bread already, and can say, without a doubt, that every drop of sweat and moment of doubt are only distant memories!

Look over the plans, adjust them to your space and aesthetic tastes, research local suppliers, but take the plunge! You can do it, and you'll be beaming when you have your friends or family over to enjoy the fruits!

Good luck!

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