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wateronlydries 07-04-2011 09:20 AM

Rolling Alpine Oven Build
 
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Well. After years of planning I finally took the first step and started running. We settled on a steel base that will move up against our patio/deck. The deck is 3/8" plate that we plasma cut to shape. It took a few weeks here and there putting the base together. Then last Friday had a few guys help lift the plate on top and once I welded it on we were ready to get started.

I put 2.5" of (FREE!) insulation board under the whole thing. Saturday started the dome and got up 3-4 courses. Took the day off Sunday and here it is Mon the 4th of July and I hope to have the dome finished before the fireworks. We have some family events scheduled for 2 weeks from today hence the deadline and rush. I want to give it a few days to dry and then get fires going so it'll be ready without rushing.

I know it isn't perfect but it's going smoothly so far. I meant to document the whole thing but it's moving so fast and I'm a mess and don't want to ruin my camera. My wife is snapping a few shots here and there.

wateronlydries 07-04-2011 09:28 AM

Re: Rolling Alpine Oven Build
 
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Sorry for the rotated images. Here are a few more. Just waiting for a few showers to pass and then back to work!

wateronlydries 07-05-2011 03:19 PM

Re: Rolling Alpine Oven Build
 
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I was able to finish late last night with fireworks going all around me. I was thinking mobile when we started this but really the word should be "movable" as I don't want to move it unless necessary. We rolled it into the garage to avoid the thunderstorms that are rolling in this week. When I took a closer look last night and today I noticed a large crack! Not what I was hoping for. At this point I have seen recommendations to leave it and use it and others to cover with wire and coat the outside with more mortar. The crack hasn't opened up wide but we also haven't started any fires yet so I think I will try and get some more mortar in the gap and coat the outside.

Am I nuts or should I just let it dry and heat it up before trying to patch it?

wateronlydries 07-05-2011 09:46 PM

Re: Rolling Alpine Oven Build
 
After work today I grabbed some chicken wire and jammed the crack as full of thin mortar as possible and covered the outside of the dome with the wire and mortar. I'm sure the crack will return but at least it shouldn't be as big? I put a halogen work lamp in to light it up while I worked and I could feel the heat. I'm going to leave it on for a little while to help with the drying.

KraemerBAC 07-06-2011 08:14 AM

Re: Rolling Alpine Oven Build
 
Was it just the outside coating that cracked? Otherwise what an interesting idea. Are you insulating the dome at all? Also it will hold temps well into the next day so be careful if you move it soon after firing.

Peter

wateronlydries 07-06-2011 09:05 AM

Re: Rolling Alpine Oven Build
 
Right now the dome is just firebrick. It will get insulation blankets over it as soon as it dries a little more. The crack was up to 1/8" in spots and I just figured it was still wet so I might as well minimize it as much as possible. I was disappointed when I first saw the crack but I'm ok with it now. As long as it doesn't collapse it just adds character right?

The patch seemed to work but I really won't know till it gets some heat. Then the outside will be covered with corrugated steel to match other buildings in the yard. In the end it should be almost a cylinder with a slanted roof.

As for moving it, I don't think we will do that too often. It will roll but changing directions with it is tough.

wateronlydries 07-19-2011 03:47 PM

Re: Rolling Alpine Oven Build
 
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Well it's been a few busy weeks. I was going to keep this updated but literally didn't have time. I would get home from work and have 5 minutes till I was outside working. Stop around midnight and do it all again the next day. It is almost completely finished now. All that is left is to put the roof on. Here are some snapshots since last time.

As for the crack. After slowly heating it up and then several very hot fires it didn't return. There may be other ones but they aren't big enough to really see yet.

Our old pizza stone suddenly cracked in the middle of all of this. He knew his days were numbered.

More pics to follow.

wateronlydries 07-19-2011 03:59 PM

Re: Rolling Alpine Oven Build
 
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We then rigged up a smoke and heat deflector as the weather was unpredictable and I needed to throw some cover over it as the thunderstorms rolled through. Heated it us slowly and roasted some marshmallows with the first fires. Now the kids want them every time. They toast all the way around and through. Very tasty!

At the same time we cut out a hood and made room for the chimney. It's an old grain chute from a flour mill nearby. Most of the old odds n ends have come from the mill which is an antique store now.

After about 5-6 days we were up to 500 degree fires. It's tough to leave it alone when it would be so easy to add a few more pieces of wood and get really hot!

First Pizza is next!

wateronlydries 07-19-2011 04:11 PM

First Pizza and more
 
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The first pizza came out of the hotter fire but it still wasn't hot enough. It cooked and tasted great but took a while to finish. After about 10 pizzas the floor had cooled off and they stuck a little. We found some Antimo Caputo flour and San Marzano tomatoes locally and tried our hand at fresh dough.

Then was time for the skin. I created a steel frame with square tube spaced out for the corrugated tin. This also came from the Star Mill. I tried to space the tubing so that the tin would lap just a bit and whaddaya know? It worked! Some self tapping metal screws and the sides are on. I still need to do the roof but ran out of time. All this was leading up to a couple days of parties. To sum up we started with the brick on July 2 and had to be ready for parties on the 16/17th. Feverish pace to make time for the warming fires but we made it.

We moved a few tables outside and made a prep area that worked incredibly well. Originally we were going to put the oven by the deck but plans have changed. It's much harder to move than anticipated so it will stay on the side of the house. The benefit is the smoke doesn't bother us or the neighbors and it's a short trip through the garage if the weather is bad. I'll take it.

It is somewhat tall but I found it to be fine for me to put pies in and out. I'm building a rolling platform for everyone else to use if they want. One step up should be about right.

wateronlydries 07-19-2011 04:20 PM

Re: Rolling Alpine Oven Build
 
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The party weekend came and we fed about 50 on Saturday and 100+ on Sunday. There was other food too so we didn't do whole pizza for each person. They would grab the slices as fast as I put them out.

By Sunday I was able to get the dome completely white and have pizza coming out as quickly as we could make them. Cooking 3 at a time was about right.

In all we probably cooked about 40-50lbs of dough in 3 days. I couldn't have done it without some great neighbors and family. Our neighbor is having an oven on a trailer built and we are all learning together. We also found out our 14 yr old daughter is a dough maestro! She picked it up instantly and was teaching everyone else what to do.

It was a fun project and definitely worth the time. I've been monitoring the heat retention with the thermocouples and find it to hold extremely well even without an insulated door. We have a few fun ideas for doors that should happen soon.

I started this project without any experience with metal or brick and was able to work my way through it thanks to the knowledge here. If you are like me and plan for much too long, just start and figure it out as you go. You'll be glad you did.


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