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janprimus 09-19-2005 11:44 AM

Bellingham Bread Oven
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Hello, I am Chad and I am building an oven here in Bellingham Washington. This is the very beginning of my oven. Actually, it is the physical beginning as I have been working on this in my head for quite a while now.
Anyway here is the foundation.

james 09-19-2005 11:58 AM



I already like your oven, as I can see you are building a round foundation and stand. I've always liked that design. Simone built her oven on a round stand in Nor-Cal that looks great.

Looking forward to seeing your progress.


janprimus 09-19-2005 01:27 PM

I found another oven in Point Roberts Washington
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I was pretty surprised, but I found this one just wandering this small community in the very northwest corner of Washington. A funny place because you have to leave the US drive 30 miles through Canada and drive south again to get here.

PS. James, where are the photos of Simones oven? Are they here? I'd like to see them.


janprimus 11-03-2005 08:22 AM

Poured mud
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I poured my foundation yesterday. 2.5 yards with less than a wheelbarrow leftover. It was just perfect. The circle dimension is 5 feet and there is about 45 feet of wall foundation as well. It will be a mixture of brick and stone somewhat similar to the other picture in the post.

Marcel 11-03-2005 09:01 AM

#66 Is that a Pre-Fab I see in the Photo. ?

(M) Chad, that looks like a great begining. At first I interpreted the curved concrete to and from the oven slab as paths, but then I saw the re-bar.

(M) In the background of your first single Photo I see what appears to be a circular slab cooking floor as well as a quasi dome like shell. Will they form the basis of your actual oven?



janprimus 11-03-2005 09:41 AM

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Good eye Marcel. I got a 4 foot dome and slab from a local manufacturer. They are both precast 4 inch thick refractory cement. I almost feel like a traitor for not building the firebox out of brick, but the rest of the process is so similar... You guys have been a great inspiration for me.
I will build the wall with 6X8X16 inch masonry blocks and face it on both sides with stone and brick. The base for the oven will have the stone and brick and then kind of a wavy ribbon of smaller stones sort of sweeping around the perimeter of it. Here is the inspiration for the flowing band of smaller rocks. It is a bit blurry, but it is from a section of floor in the Castle Gruyere in Switzerland. The stones just seemed to flow like water in this section and I just loved it. My sons and I went there a year ago last summer. I have a brother that lives in Fribourg.

janprimus 11-15-2005 08:24 AM

I have laid some cinder blocks
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Well I have a goodly portion of the block base laid up. Unfortunately I was not paying enough attention to plumb, but it will all work out. This will all be covered on both sides with the brick and stone treatment. I decided I didnt have enough rebar in the circle and added two more lieces after the fact, by drilling into the slab 3.5 inches with my hammer drill and epoxying rebar in there. I have also intertwined the block wall and the circle at course 2 and 5 so that will give me added stability. This is really satisfying to come home and mix up a half batch of mud and lay some blocks till it gets dark, which is pretty early around here... Oh well, tomorrow, I will finish up the base for this section and begin work on forming my slab to support the hearth.

I do have one question for the folks here, how high, generally, do you put the deck of your hearth? I have seen a lot of pics and they seem to be going pretty low. I was thinking about 4 to 4.5 feet to hearth level. Any ideas, caveats, kudos, kicks in the wazoo?


aikitarik 11-15-2005 10:23 AM


Originally Posted by janprimus
I do have one question for the folks here, how high, generally, do you put the deck of your hearth? I have seen a lot of pics and they seem to be going pretty low. I was thinking about 4 to 4.5 feet to hearth level. Any ideas, caveats, kudos, kicks in the wazoo?

I went up 4 blocks before pouring the deck.

When cooking, I something think I should have gone up one more block so I wouldn't have to bend over to look into the oven, but then, I'm quite tall.

When loading the oven with wood, I'm grateful that I didn't go any higher, since reaching deep into the oven is enough of a challenge (I do have a 12+ inch counter in front).

My wife thinks it's fine the way it is. :)

james 11-15-2005 11:32 AM

Oven floor height
In general, I think most people like between 38" and 45". I'm about 5' 10" and like the oven floor on the higher side -- you don't have to bend as much. My first oven was lower (38"), and I think that is too low. You can always put a 4" high course of blocks in the stand to get the height you want.

Don't forget to account for the hearth and the cooking floor itself when calculating the height of the cooking surface.

janprimus 11-17-2005 01:13 PM

wall and oven base treatment.
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Here are a couple more pics of how I am going to finish the exterior of the wall and the base of the oven. My sweetie is a mason. She does nice work eh?

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