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thebadger 04-06-2008 04:12 AM

The Badger Build
3 Attachment(s)
Well, I guess it’s time that I start my official thread of my oven build. I actually started working on the foundation last fall (see my earlier threads) and just finished the hearth pour last weekend. I’m building the 36” and I’m going to try the arched entryway.

Just some background about me and my family
  • Married 8 years this month
  • 3 boys – 6, 4 and 15 months
  • Live in Cincinnati, Ohio
  • I’ll turn 41 this May

I’ve been planning this build for about a year. The” obsession” started when I saw a show on HGTV about outdoor kitchens that featured some pizza ovens. I’ve been making homemade pizza for over 10 years and it’s usually a weekly family event. I thought this was out of my reach due to the cost until I found the FB plans and forum!

My wife wasn’t too thrilled on the initial idea – mainly because I was right in the middle of our basement remodel. I guess the look on her face was probably the same look Noah’s wife gave him when he told her “God wanted him to build the ARC” :) . But now she's been very supportive giving me pretty much card blanc to proceed - I'm very lucky that she puts up with me.

Location - We had an old Deck that we tore down to pour a new patio. I then used a lot of the wood to build a play tower addition to the swing set for the boys and the pergola over the patio. I got a good deal on a piece of granite (2x5) that I plan to use as a small prep area to the right of the oven.

One comment about the forum/members: When I first embarked on this project I didn’t think there was anyway I could afford to do this. From the pictures I’ve seen it looks like most, if not all, of us are just your average, hardworking “middle class” person who LOVES pizza. Typically you would only find these ovens (at least in our area) in the “Homeorama” ($750K+ range). Thanks to the FB plans, James and you guys and gals I’ll be able undertake this project.

aka thebadger

thebadger 04-06-2008 04:17 AM

The Badger Build (Foundation)
5 Attachment(s)
Here are some pics from last fall when I dug the footer (past the frost line). I came up with an idea to get the footer pretty level. I built a frame that I leveled on top of the ground. I then built a screed to the proper depth and just poured the concrete in. It worked really well – when it was all done I was only “off-level” by just a little bit. As you can see everyone “helped” with the pour including some of the neighborhood kids – don’t tell social services. I then dry stacked the blocks and filled every core with concrete/every other with rebar – yes I know it was overkill!


thebadger 04-06-2008 04:22 AM

The Badger Build (Hearth Pour)
4 Attachment(s)
I built my supports and opted for backer board that I’ll just leave in place instead of trying to take out plywood forms. It seemed to work well – no issues. I did add a lot of extra support underneath the hearth. My brother-in-law suggested the 2x4 bracing on the sides mainly to help the ratchet straps remain tight on all sides.

The hearth pour went well – 2 neighbors my wife and me (and my oldest son) 17 bags in 1 hours. I know, I know - “why didn’t I rent a truck.” The bags were on sale AND it offered me a lot more flexibility. In all honesty, it probably was a lot easier than taking wheelbarrow loads back and forth given how wet the ground was. Plus, I paid a neighbor kid to haul the bags back and forth.


The one picture is of my mother-in-law inspecting my work to make sure it's level. She is VERY handy and helps me with a lot my home projects - drywall, painting etc - she doesn't do electrical or plumbing :)

The crew: Eric, Lou, Linda, me and Sammy

thebadger 04-06-2008 04:27 AM

The Badger Build (Insulating Hearth)
3 Attachment(s)
Insulating hearth – I wasn’t sure if the vermiculite I founds was the “right” type (see my earlier posts) so I went with perlite. I can see why most don’t like to work with it – kind of like small Styrofoam chunks (don’t want to work with it on a windy day). But all in all it wasn’t that bad. Just remember to mix everything first before adding water. Anyways the insulating hearth pour went well. I used 2 1/8 bags of perlite and 1-94 lb bag of Portland for a 3 ” thick pad. I then plan to put 2” of Iso on top. Given the posts I’ve read I’m pretty sure I did it right. The top is a little crumbly so I’ll probably put a thin layer of Heat Stop 50 to smooth it out. Onto the floor layout next. I’m hoping to start laying bricks next weekend.

Just realized my bricks are only 2 1/4" thick, not 2 1/2". I think this will be fine given I've read getting/keeping the floor hot is an issue. Let me know if this isn't okay.


thebadger 04-10-2008 07:10 PM

The Badger Build (Cut my Isol Board - Question)
I cut my Isol board using a jig saw and used a respirator just to be on the safe sice.

As you can see I put down 3 1/2" of perlcrete. My isol board will fit in that space with ~3 inches all around.

My bricks will fit within the Iso board so I'll essentially have "steps" aournd my oven - concrete base - perlcrete - iso board - brick.

I was going to pour concrete around the lower portion just short of the top of the brick lip to level everything off - (does this make sense?) Kind of like filling in the "moat"
Question - Should I put perlcrete around the "steps" or just pour the concrete around the base?


gjbingham 04-10-2008 09:47 PM

Re: The Badger Build
I'd insulate around the "steps". I didn't, but doing it again, I would. If you have concrete butted up against the sides of the brick floor, it will wick heat away faster than if it was insulated. Probably a minor flaw, but all the little heat sinks add up.

You kind of have to plan ahead for the entryway and landing at this point. I messed that up a bit. Depending on your finish for the landing, you need to pour concrete, or some material, up to the level of the floor of the oven, minus the intended depth of the landing. If you use a brick landing outside the oven, the entire hearth, concrete and insulation layer can be all the same height.

Really nice pics and build so far Dick. Thanks for posting them.

Acoma 04-10-2008 10:12 PM

Re: The Badger Build
Badger, it must be a beautiful thing having family help. I wish mine was given the opportunity. Winter here did not allow it.

dbhansen 04-11-2008 08:14 AM

Re: The Badger Build
Dick, will you be pouring anything else onto the 2 pieces of rebar that are sticking up? Or what is your plan for using that? Looks great so far!

thebadger 04-11-2008 08:43 AM

Re: The Badger Build

Hope this makes sense.... My plan is to pour a regular layer about 4 inches around that will take the height to about halfway up the Iso board. (I should have about 3 1/2 inches from the iso board to the threshold of the oven landing.) I then plan to pour a color concrete that will come up to the lip of the oven opening and cantilever out about 10-12 inches in front of the oven. I'll then put perlcrete around the dome and faux stone around the base.


thebadger 04-13-2008 04:13 AM

The Badger Build (floor layout)
3 Attachment(s)

Im cutting my bricks and Im starting to lay out the floor. My cheap HF 14 dry saw is working well (just kicks up a lot of dust) Im soaking the bricks and wearing a respirator plus Im cutting the bricks outside so that helps. I made a jig to increase the deck area on the saw and to make my brick cuts so I dont to measure each one working great so far.

I still need to position and level my floor. Ill only have about 11-12 inches from my back vent threshold to the front. That should give me 6 inches for the vent and 5-6 inches for the front arch. I then will cantilever my landing in front of the opening.


PS The green dot on the right foundation side is the cavity where we placed our Family Time Capsule! I was going to mark it with a little engraved plaque after I put up the stone veneer.

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