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shepster 07-02-2008 11:46 PM

Sand form
Has anyone used sand to form the dome? I am not a master bricklayer (teacher actually!) and am about to start on the dome. Styrofoam is very expensive in the UK. Could build out of wood but sand seems practical. Could be wrong but interested to know whether there are any posts.

Puy de Dome 07-03-2008 12:47 AM

Re: Sand form

I have not used this method, but with a little intuition - I could make things worse!

Seriously though, have you seen those sand sculptures at the seaside? Where they carve dragons from sand?

I think they are able to do this by adding something to the sand. I know not what that is, but it might be something simple like PVA glue - in large quantities I would have thought.

If that's the case, how you would shape the dome from the sand is another question. Perhaps create a quarter circle from a piece of wood, fix this to a vertical post in the middle of the dome and then scrape around removing excess sand?

Like I said, I have no experience of doing this - it's just my initial thoughts.


nissanneill 07-03-2008 02:23 AM

Re: Sand form
There are several problems with using sand as a pattern for your dome:
• you will need to get the exact shape for the dome to replicate it. (although a shaped semicircular wood pattern eill achieve your dome shape)
• you will not be able to get into or under your bricks to clean them (as you build the courses) as the mortar is squeezesout past the bricks ont their 'oven faces',
• you will probably need to mix a small quantity of cement to stiffen up the sand if you are going to take more than a single day to construct. This will make it's removal considerably harder.

Don't get me wrong though, I used a sand mold for the top 3 courses and as soon as they were complete with the keybricks in position, I removed the brick stack, the board and sand, and then immediately stood on the dome top to check the strength and then immediately stood on the dome top to check the strength, then cleaned the bricks. See my pictures and explanation at:


Frances 07-03-2008 04:43 AM

Re: Sand form
I thought the point of those sand sculpture competitions was that they use only sand and water...

Shepster, building the dome is actually much easier than it looks and I really would recommend not using a form for the lower rows. If you want to do it with a form you could make a single template out of wood, and hold it up against the oven wall each time you lay a brick.

I would think that building a dome without being able to see what the inside looks like is a lot harder...

CajunKnight 07-03-2008 04:54 AM

Re: Sand form
The sand in the sculptures is mixed with natural dirt and silt from the body of water they are near. Clay powder mixed with the sand does the same thing, could possibly use the clay from your foundation dig. If you opt to use the sand someone had mention wrapping the sand with wet news paper to prevent sand from sticking to the mortar work.

thebadger 07-03-2008 09:21 AM

Re: Sand form
I used the sand form. It worked but I wasn't too happy with the results. At a minimum I should have placed wet paper over the sand. I had a lot of sand that stuck to the mortar.

Also, you can't clean out any mortar spills.

I built a platform that held a small amount of sand in place. In hindsight (if I were to use sand again) I would use wet paper and take the form down to clean the bricks.

You can see what I'm talking about in my thread "The badgerbuild."

Net, the oven seems to cook well - just not as pretty as the rest.

good luck.

Puy de Dome 07-03-2008 09:35 AM

Re: Sand form
More on sand sculpting if it helps with te oven dome. fwiw, I was convinced they used an additive.

Wrong again!

Sand Sculpture How-to-do text

Frances 07-03-2008 01:12 PM

Re: Sand form
Cool link! :)

Alfredo 07-04-2008 07:20 AM

Re: Sand form
Those who haven't yet decided on the final decorative effects their WFO will have may find some inspiration here: OREGON SAND CASTLE CONTEST • The life N times of a Donna • Blogs :cool:

shepster 07-04-2008 09:48 AM

Re: Sand form
Thanks everyone...............I think I might use hendos method with the camera mount, It looks ingenious!

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