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Lars 06-06-2009 04:19 AM

Fire igloo in Nebraska.
Hello from Nebraska,

I have always had a faint notion that a small fireplace in a kitchen would be really cool, but didn't really think about exactly how that might work.

Then, while researching the Rumford fireplace, I stumbled on the wood oven concept. I decided to build one outside first, to get some experience and decide if it would be something I could have in a kitchen.

That was last fall. Now ( june) I am 7 chains up, and wondering how I am going to hold up the 1/3 bricks on the last few chains! Getting some great ideas, and frankly, most everyone's work looks much better than mine!

I am making a fire pit opposite the oven, and finally found a supplier for fire bricks at a somewhat reasonable cost ( $1.29) after buying about 50 at $1.75! Yikes.

I am going about this the old fashioned way ( brick chisel, no forms, fire clay/ portland mix mortar, odjob bucket to mix concrete) and, I hope I am not the only one who gets a strange sense of satisfaction cutting bricks with a chisel and building a dome -- you can just about imagine yourself in any time, from thousands of years ago to now.

I really don't even know about how I will use this oven, or what exactly it is like to try to build a fire in a tiny dome and cook and clean it out, etc... believe it or not, I just really want to build it.

I calculated the angle to cut the bricks at for the various chains, and, to my surprise, the 4" 5" angle ( about 12 degrees ) seems to work almost all the way up the dome! I am jealous of those of you with tapered bricks!

Well, enough for now


not sure if the 'trackback' URL will work...

dmun 06-06-2009 08:22 AM

Re: Fire igloo in Nebraska.
You're tapering bricks with a chisel? At twelve degrees? Most of us hesitate to do a fully fitted dome with a diamond wet saw.

This we want pictures of!

dmun 06-06-2009 08:27 AM

Re: Fire igloo in Nebraska.
Oops, found the image:
It's pretty amazing. I'm hoping you have insulation under that floor...

Lars 06-06-2009 09:43 AM

Re: Fire igloo in Nebraska.
Thanks for finding that picture. ( I tried putting a URL in the reply box... didn't work too well)

I think you can see pretty clearly from the arch, the style of cuts I am making to taper my bricks. After laying out a 3D model ( using a program called Rhino) I found, to my surprise, that almost all the bricks will make the proper rings if cut into two pieces, each with a 4" edge and 5" edge for the inner and outer face.

Then, as you go up, of course, there is wedge shaped mortar joint horizontally, AND a wedge shaped mortar joint vertically. I am just, today, going to determine the way to cut 1/3 bricks.

It seems like it ought to work.

Oh, and yes, there is 2.5" of vermiculite/portland under the entire oven floor, except for the front of the vent/door area. I know that may be shy of recommended, but it is doubtful I will be there for hours baking anyway. I also used a 2" styrofoam layer to keep the structural layer ( which I haven't removed ) and I thought I would just see how hot it actually gets when the oven is being cured. It may work out to keep that in place as well.


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