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Cdubs 03-20-2011 06:29 PM

Questions for a new build
Hey Guys....I'll be starting my build in a few weeks and need a little help/suggestions. I have been reading the forum for about 6 months and have gained a lot of knowledge from many of you. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

1) I want to make sure that the height of my oven is enough where I dont have to bend too far everytime I need to check a pie. Are most of you using 4 or 5 rows of standard cinder blocks? BTW I am 5' 10".

2) Is it nessasary to use standard block or could I use 4x8x16 or 6x8x16 block to build my base?

3) I have been unable to find 8x8x8 block in my area and dont have any experience cutting them myself. Whaat are most of you using to cut your blocks?

4) Being that I have no masonry experience I am worried about "shaving" the blocks that will touch the angle irons on my top row. Is there anything I can do so that I caan leave them whole and still have a level heaarth?

Sorry for all of the questions but being that I will be spending a lot of time and money on this project I want to make sure I do it right.

Lburou 03-20-2011 08:33 PM

Re: Questions for a new build
I went with five eight inch blocks....It is almost too tall, but not quite, and I'm shorter than you. I've read several posts where owners wished their oven floor was a bit taller....No posts wanting a lower oven floor. My back hurts without any bending....I will not have to bend to see into the oven. There is a poll thread about the oven floor height, somewhere.

Use the blocks available to you -keep looking for the eight inch blocks. Look at the 'Photo gallery' for ideas on being creative with the oven stand if you must use the smaller block. The stand design is one thing I would change if I could.

Get a small four inch grinder and cut with masonry blade, or redesign the rebar so you don't need to cut for the steel. The grinder will cut the block too.

HTH :)

azpizzanut 03-20-2011 09:24 PM

Re: Questions for a new build
Hi Cdubs,

It isn't difficult to determine a custom height for your stand. First, determine a comfortable height and add the slab thicknesses (top and bottom) then determine what size block is available to you. Since you will probably dry stack the blocks all you need to do is add block thickness to get to your predetermined height. My stand has 8x8x16" and 4x8x16" blocks. However, I placed the bottom slab over an existing slab that was already 4" above grade. That's why I went with a 4" block at the top to give me the height I wanted. You should physically measure the thickness of the block you buy since there will be no mortar joint.

I used angle iron from a bed frame for my stand and didn't shave the cinder blocks. The slight gap seemed insignificant. You will level the form for the top slab anyway. If you feel there could be lateral movement, even with all that weight on the iron, then point in some mortar at the ends.

Do you have Harbor Freight stores near you? You can get inexpensive grinders and small tile and brick saws from them. You can also order from them on-line. I bought a hand held tile saw that looks like a carpenters framing saw. It will cut cinder block through the thin sides and variable depth grooves as well. I also have a 10" block/tile saw that I used on the fire bricks. I was able to cut enough fire bricks for two 36" Pompeii ovens with the original diamond blade.

I've made two cinder block stands. I made a scale drawing of each one using the size blocks available to me. This gave me an accurate count of each size block that was needed and their locations as well. It's worth the time. I was sure to stagger each row of blocks because each cell was filled with a rebar and cement to lock them in place. Also, be sure to lay your blocks straight and within the chalk lines. It helps with alignment of other elements of your build. You will also find a 6" level useful to keep later adjustments to a minimum.

Best of luck and please ask us lots of questions if you need clarification or help.


Neil2 03-21-2011 08:59 AM

Re: Questions for a new build
There is a good discussion re hearth height on this thread:

Cdubs 03-21-2011 04:55 PM

Re: Questions for a new build
Thanks everyone for all the responses. Being that I am going to buy a Casa90 I will probably not need the tile saw but will buy the grinder as many have you suggested.

After spending over two hours today at my township getting permits I became curious to hear how many of you got permits for your ovens. Being that I live on the east coast it gets very cold...I have been told I need 3 foot footers. Does that sound right to everyone?

C5dad 03-21-2011 05:48 PM

Re: Questions for a new build
Permits, we dont need no stinkin permits!

At least here in AZ where I live we do not need the permits.

As for the height. I am living with the 4 block height and wish I would have gone with the 5 blocks as it would have been easier on the back, though one of my friends stated he would get himself an appropriate sized chair!

AZpizzanut is spot on with regards to grinders - you can get them cheap at HF and other locations.

Good luck on the build.

rodeair 03-21-2011 06:26 PM

Re: Questions for a new build
I researched the desired height as well when planning my build. I opted for a 44 inch cooking floor even though it's a little shorter for the magic "elbow height" as I'm 6'3. Keep in mind the actual dimensions of the cinder blocks are 3/8" smaller on all sides to compensate for the mortar joints. I elected to stack 4 1/2 blocks, 4 inches of hearth slab, 4 inches of vermicrete, then 2 1/2 inch fire brick. That will put the cooking surface right about 44 inches or so if I figured right. Good luck with your build. I uploaded a couple of pictures of the progress so far today in the pompeii section under Pensacola Build.

Cdubs 03-21-2011 06:49 PM

Re: Questions for a new build

I just went through your build and love what you did. I see you started by building a diving wall in your base but in your final oven it was no longer there. Any reason for that? Also, what are the dimensions to your foundation?

rodeair 03-21-2011 06:58 PM

Re: Questions for a new build
As far as cutting blocks, along with the grinder, a 7" masonry blade in the skill saw works great. I was also able to get a 7" grinder blade for the skill saw for cutting rebar and 2" angle. With the skill saw it was fairly easy to cut the relief in the blocks for the steel angle.

dmun 03-21-2011 07:33 PM

Re: Questions for a new build

Being that I live on the east coast it gets very cold...I have been told I need 3 foot footers. Does that sound right to everyone?
I dug down three feet, and poured one foot thick footings six inches beyond my walls, but I was building a two story chimney attached to an existing structure. (That's masonry fireplace code.) Freestanding ovens usually only need a slab on well drained crushed rock.

That said, if you pulled the permits, you pretty much have to do what they want. They'll inspect your footers before you build.

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