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Tim F 10-11-2008 04:24 PM

Tims oven - on the way
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Well, I finally have concrete in the ground!

The location of my oven had to be dug out of a bank of loose dirt, and I'm making a curved brick retaining wall around it. The first pics show where I dug the foundation trench (about 400mm) and poured a footing. You can see the location of the wall with the first course in place, and how I'm cutting the bricks to fit around the curves nicely. I thought that it would be good practice for the dome. I'm going to do the first 3-4 courses double skin for strength.

Next I cleared some more shrubs out of the way and started to dig the foundation for the oven (bit rough with a hangover). I got a mate who is a concreter to help out, but we still found the quickest way to get the forms square was to loosely tack the boards together at the right widths with a couple of nails. Then it was just a matter of dropping them into the hole and getting the diagonals equal before getting the level right and staking the boards.

You can just see some holes cut in the plastic; I dug a row of piers down each side of the foundation for extra stability. After putting in some mesh, we used a laser to mark off the correct height on the inside of the forms, and we were ready to pour!

My cement mixer has now been in the family for 3 generations ;) so it was pretty noisy. After the first load I saw why my friend had wanted to start early, you need a lot more concrete than I realised for such a small slab. We ended up using about 1 ton of pre-mix and 8-9 bags of cement.

Tim F 10-11-2008 04:29 PM

Re: Tims oven - early days!
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After pouring enough concrete, we screeded it, using the marks we made earlier as a guide to get it level. After a few hours it had firmed up enough to shape the corners and finish the surface. The next morning I took off the boards. Next step - laying besser blocks for the stand.

dusty 10-11-2008 05:14 PM

Re: Tims oven - early days!
Cool. I can tell this is going to be a great thread. I look forward to watching your progress.


Tim F 10-13-2008 02:29 AM

Re: Tims oven - early days!
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Well, I started laying out the besser blocks today and spotted my first drama. I went with slightly thinner bricks (390x190x140)to save a few dollars, but realised that they don't fit together neatly like bricks should (although you can't see this in the pic with just the first course). This leaves me with 2 options - either cut the corner blocks to the right lengths, or stack them all without offsetting each course (obviously wouldn't be as strong).

Any thoughts on the best way to go? I think cutting would be preferable but they are just too big to fit under the disc of my chop saw. Any other ideas on cutting? If I just stack them all and fill the cores will the structure be too weak?

At least my slab is level! ;)

Edit: after talking to another mate I reckon I'll just cut them with an angle grinder + diamond blade - although I'm open to any other solutions!

egalecki 10-13-2008 06:44 AM

Re: Tims oven - early days!
The angle grinder should do ok cutting. Wear a mask and eye protection, it's unbelievably dusty.

If you look at my thread (link's below, I think it works) you can see my stand isn't standard, and two of the sides are freestanding except for the lintels on top. We put rebar into every core and filled them all, and believe me, when it set up, you'd have to really work at it to push them over. When you get your slab on top it gets even sturdier.

Tim F 10-14-2008 03:30 AM

Re: Tims oven - early days!
Good call. I picked up an angle grinder and diamond blade today (ironically it would have been cheaper to just buy the expensive bricks, but at least now I have an angle grinder) and it cuts through the blocks like butter.

egalecki 10-14-2008 07:49 AM

Re: Tims oven - early days!
You'll use the grinder a lot, particularly in the last stages of the oven. I used mine to custom-cut a lot of the bricks that attached to the arch- it was much better to use than the saw. I also used it to shape the keystones. No joke, though, use the eye gear and mask. (and hearing protection, too) I had a red-hot piece (a speck, really) fly out of a brick and smack me on the face- left a welt and burn, and heaven only knows what would have happened if it had hit my eye without the glasses!

Tim F 10-15-2008 02:40 AM

Re: Tims oven - early days!
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I did my best darth vader impression in a dust mask, goggles and ear muffs today, cut my bricks, and almost got the stand finished. I just need to get a handful more bricks and some rebar tomorrow and I will be ready to start filling the cores!

egalecki 10-15-2008 06:22 AM

Re: Tims oven - early days!
Looking good, Darth!

Frances 10-16-2008 12:22 AM

Re: Tims oven - early days!
Impressive (hhuuuhSHAAAA... hhuuuSHAAAA...*)... very impressive..., but its not an oven stand yet...

*this of course would be the heavy breathing.

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