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Bec1208 01-21-2013 11:08 AM

Possible approach to hearth
Hi, I am looking at the feasibility of building an oven largely on my own. I contracted polio in 1954 when I was two years old. I am now affected by post polio syndrome and use crutches for short ambulation and a power wheelchair outside the house. So I am trying to design a stand that is within my physical capability (I can get some help) and within my budget. I am wondering if a stand could be constructed using a shelving unit that is currently on sale at Costco for about $67. It is a five shelf unit (shelves are 18" by 48"). Each shelf is rated to hold a static load of 1,000 lbs and the entire unit for 5,000 lbs. Two units could easily be assembled to form a 54" by 48" surface and and addition shelf could be used to add 18" to the front for the approach. I could use one or more 5/8" cement boards underneath the ceramic board insulation. I am thinking a 32" inch oven would meet my needs and fit on this stand.

I have searched the forum and read much of the content related to brick oven construction. I have not seen where such an approach has been proposed. This makes me think there is some major flaw in my thinking on this. Please give me your best advice for this build. It looks to me like the building of the oven itself can be done in small increments.

If the basic concept looks promising, I also would appreciate suggestions for dealing with the "foundation." I may be able to set this up on an existing slab. If so I could use the metal vertical rails that come with the unit perhaps with some addition support from stacked cinder blocks. If the location has to be on ground, I would need advice on a minimalist approach to footers. I live in Tallahassee, FL so frost and freezing should not be an issue.

Thanks for taking the time to read this post and for any advice you might have for me.

Thanks again, Bruce

azatty 01-24-2013 05:04 PM

Re: Possible approach to hearth
Others have built ovens on metal stands, but you ultimately need some real structure under the hearth. Cement board won't cut it unless you're pouring a reinforced slab over it or you have very little open span. You might be better off dry stacking cinder block to form a solid cube and then build on top of that. It would probably cost about the same, and you probably only need to go up 24 inches if you plan to use it from your chair.

Laurentius 01-24-2013 08:59 PM

Re: Possible approach to hearth

I can't imagine building anything on a $67 dollar shelf from Costco, heavens forbid, anything safe. $67 might get you enough blocks for your support?

gdest 01-24-2013 11:14 PM

Re: Possible approach to hearth
If I understand you correctly the cement board you want to use is just a "fire break" and is fully supported by the costco shelf. This might work but I don't know what the shelf is. But I just want to say is for about the same amount of money, you can build your base with about as much effort it would be to modify the costco shelfs.


cobblerdave 01-25-2013 12:31 AM

Re: Possible approach to hearth
5/8 in compressed cement sheet is pretty strong stuff, I have seenit used as floor on verandas before tiling. Can't remember the joist spacing under it but I don't think it would be any less than 15 in. I recon it should make a strong slab under an insulation layer otherwise the heat will destroy it.
With the shelves your using from what I understand your putting a few together to achieve your size. From the specs it seems strong enough but there not built for outdoor use and would be effected by rust
Perhaps consider going a more conventional method and using someone else to help you even that compressed cement sheet is very heavy stuff.
Hope you project goes well I assure you I lot of the builds here were built by one person so time and determination are just as important as strength and skill

Regards dave

Bec1208 01-25-2013 03:51 PM

Re: Possible approach to hearth
Thanks for all the input. I spent some time today looking at possible sites and rethinking approaches. The best site would be just off our driveway next to the woodpile. Unfortunately that means I would not be able to build on an existing slab.

I know the easiest and likely best solution would be to hire help or buy an assembled or modular oven. However I have an irrational desire to try and build this myself, at least to the degree possible. Though I suspect that in addition to cost savings, this is a motivation of many who choose to DIY their oven.

Anyways, let me throw out some ideas. The main thing I am trying to avoid is having to mix and deal with large volumes of concrete. If there is no DIY alternative I could contract the slab or at least have pre-mix delivered and poured. I could make the stand using dry stacked cinder block and QUIKWALL® Surface Bonding Cement. Still open to suggestions regarding hearth (and foundation). I looked up the specs of durlock board and will add the link below. Looks pretty strong. Again, I appreciate your suggestions. Hoping this turns out to be a feasible project for me.

deejayoh 01-25-2013 06:34 PM

Re: Possible approach to hearth
I'd look into having premix delivered. No shame or loss of DIY cred in that! you still need to build forms, your oven dome, your enclosure... Lots to do. If I could have gotten concrete delivered to my site, I would have jumped at it. Unfortunately, I've got 50 stair steps between the street and my oven...

Bec1208 03-11-2013 08:29 PM

Re: Possible approach to hearth
Thanks for all the advice. We decided to have the foundation slab put in by some pros and to have them pour a pad where I can park my wheelchair van that is too tall to get in the garage. Hopefully they can get started this week. I bought a used Felker tilemaster saw off Craig's List. I was in Jacksonville today and filled the back of my van with the ceramic fiber boards and blanket that is not available locally. I also bought three bags of the HW 413 dry mortar mix. Not sure how I will manage the slab, though Azatty's and Laurentius' suggestions to use extra cinderblock seem more practical then my first approach. I find the more I learn the more questions come up. Once I get started I will start a new thread. Agains thanks for the feedback.

Laurentius 03-11-2013 11:16 PM

Re: Possible approach to hearth
Hi Bec,
Happy to see you moving forward with your project. Remember a person with no questions has all the answers.

WJW 03-11-2013 11:57 PM

Re: Possible approach to hearth
Hey it.

The DIY thing is pretty universally irrational...but in a good way. Take pics and post them.

I have to concur on using the block instead of metal stand.


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