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Ed Smith 10-12-2009 09:57 PM

Finally - I started my build!
Greetings - I have studied, comtemplated, visualized, and boasted about building my wood-fired oven for a decade. I have finally started - I have my base built, my super isol board (courtesy of Forno Bravo) in place - the floor layed out and ready for the dome construction. Of course here in the Northwest the weather is starting to turn. I took off early from work to pick up my fire clay and lime for the mix.

This web-site is a fantastic resource. Thanks, Ed

Breven 10-15-2009 02:10 PM

Re: Finally - I started my build!
Sounds like you're on your way Ed. Don't forget to post pics of your project!

ThisOldGarageNJ 10-26-2009 04:04 AM

Re: Finally - I started my build!
how's the build going ed ???

Cheers Mark

Ed Smith 10-29-2009 05:17 PM

Re: Finally - I started my build!
I have completed the first three courses of my dome - it has been raining a lot so I am on hold for a few days. The homemade refractory mix of 3 parts sand, 1 part each of lime, fireclay and calcium aluminate seem to be working well - it dries quickly and is holding things very well.

I did learn to reduce the amount of motar that I make at one time - since it dries so quickly.

thanks for the support guys.

kebwi 10-29-2009 07:18 PM

Re: Finally - I started my build!
I'm in Seattle, just a tad behind you. Haven't cut any bricks yet, but I hope to cut and lay down my insulating board this weekend and start cutting floor bricks.

On advantage of rainy weather is it's warm. Nice blanket of clouds. I staying in the 40s/50s for a while, so I intend to plow ahead if at all possible.

jmhepworth 10-29-2009 08:12 PM

Re: Finally - I started my build!
Ed, you may be the first to use the calcium aluminate. I would really be interested in more detail on what you think about it.


nissanneill 10-30-2009 02:15 AM

Re: Finally - I started my build!
Hi Ed


it has been raining a lot so I am on hold for a few days
I built mine in just 2 days (the dome as he base was already built in a retaining wall), and it rained the whole time. I strung up a tarp over the site, set up a fluoro light and went for broke.
Don't procrastinate, go get into it and get it done mate!!!
Check out my build for the pic of the set-up.


Ed Smith 11-04-2009 07:28 PM

Re: Finally - I started my build!
HI all! Thanks for the encouragement. Today in Tacoma it was 62 degrees and sunny. I went in to work and by 0830 I told my boss I was taking the rest of the day off to work on my oven!

Was a perfect day - I completed the 8th level and built the first level across my entry way -- I used the angle iron approach.

I am finding that I have to cut the interior top corner of each brick to get a good fit. I opted not to build a mold, I put together some shims - but I found it difficult to fill the area with mortar..... So I opted for the eyeball method. It seems to be going okay.

It is very forgiving - wood, fire, brick - I am sure it is going to work.

I am really happy with the motar mix of Calcium aluiminate, lime, fire clay and sand. I am to the point where my angle is getting very agressive. The motar is holding the bricks in place with no assistance! I put the mortar down - grease up the brick and press it into place and it is holding.

With daylight savings time off now - it is getting dark here by 5. So weekends or taking days off will be my time to work on it. I hope to have the dome done this weekend = the weather forecast is iffy right now.

I forgot to mention - I became fanatical about wood fired pizza when I was stationed in Pisa Italy while in the Army. I struggle to eat the traditional pizza. I've been making pizza in electric ovens using 6 pizza stones - nice and thin and tasty, but it is still not the same as the wood fired oven.

Take care and have fun with it. In one of the threads someone said it does not have to be perfect...... I am good with that.


Ed Smith 11-04-2009 07:40 PM

Re: Finally - I started my build!
Joe, I am really happy with it. Of course my experience is limited I have used mortar to affix the fake brick to the rest of my grill island that was the extent. I did a lot of reading before I started and this seems to provide the best alternative to ordering the refrac. I had a hard time finding it - until I located a contractor supply masonary business. They were nice enough to sell me a couple bags. I saw a couple mixes _ I ended up following James suggestion for the 3 sand, 1 lime, 1 fire clay, 1 calcium aluminate. I do vary it slightly 3 parts sand, 1 light part lime, 1 + fire clay and 1 calcium aluminate. I had read that the lime can cause a problem if you get too much - so I adjusted a little. It does dry quickly - so I went to mixing small batches - enough to lay about 4-5 brick and build up the outside. I start with 12 ounces of water and then add the dry ingrediants until it seems still just a little too wet. I let it set a couple of minutes and then it comes out just right. As I work it seems to dry out a little - I remix it and it returns to a peanut buttery consistency.

I have found mixing it in a small pail - I use an old powder dishwasher pail - I mix it with a 4 inch putty knife and then use that and a small towel to rework it and put it in place.

I tried to be cleaver and use a masonary bag to squeeze the mortar in place but - it did not flow - now that I think about it I did make the first batch too dry and too much. I may try my new technique in the masonary bag and see if that works - that would go a little faster.

Take care. Ed

kebwi 11-04-2009 10:14 PM

Re: Finally - I started my build!
Yeah, I'm working on a build in Lake City, so you and I are operating under the same circumstances. Daylights saving time killed me, although I can finally do a little bit in the morning before work now. I cut bricks at night, place them in the morning. I'm not mortaring yet, still doing the floor...but I'm done with the floor tonight. I'm going to spend this week cutting bricks in the evening and them I plan to start mortaring the side walls (soldiers, but horizontal in my case) this weekend.

I agree with you, weather's been fabulous. I joked about taking time off from work, but I just can't do it.

Where did you get the calcium aluminate btw?

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