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  #41  
Old 05-18-2013, 09:50 AM
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Default Re: 32 Inch Pompeii in Northern California

I'm impressed how fast (and nicely) your build is coming together. I did notice on your last pics that more and more of your course brick joints are lining up...try to keep those alignments to a minimum to reduce "crack potential" in the dome for the remaining courses.

I don't know if you've decided on the brick chimney or not at this point. I do think if you add the "heavier style" chimney you will want to beef up the buttress mass/support for the entry/chimney arches...remember that a lot of weight will be pushed out to the sides from above. I don't think that what you have now will be enough for a brick chimney...and I'd tie those extra support buttresses down to the slab on each side if possible.

Fabulous looking setup! Looking like you'll be able to develop your pizza skills in plenty of time for the Fourth of July.
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Last edited by SableSprings; 05-18-2013 at 09:56 AM.
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  #42  
Old 05-18-2013, 12:28 PM
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Default Re: 32 Inch Pompeii in Northern California

Thanks so much for the feedback, Mike!

Yes, I have been a little concerned about the weight of the chimney and the arch buttressing. I do want it to have a brick surround but i realized that I think I can support the brickwork on the foundation and not necessarily on the oven arch. I have ordered a 6" DuraVent flange and chimney sections which I will place inside the outer brickwork. (I think 6" is big enough for a 32" oven). I don't think those weigh much and then I only have to support the chimney "box" (which will be made out of bricks) on the arch.

Good input on the brick joints! Yes, they have been getting too close so on this next course I was more liberal with 1/4 bricks where necessary to get the alignment back.

Neil
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  #43  
Old 05-18-2013, 12:38 PM
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Default Re: 32 Inch Pompeii in Northern California

Sixth course done and I finally have a circle! (or at least as close as I am going to get to a circle!)

The dome-arch transition was a bit of a PITA as I suspected - and it is not nearly as elegant as most here on this forum.

One question, because of the way I did the transition I do have a gap behind the arch and in front of the dome. It is only about 1 1/2 inches high. I guess smoke and heat could collect there? I tried to take a photograph to show this - see attached. Is this anything I should be concerned about? It is completely sealed and at all points there is always at least 2 inches of brick between the interior and exterior of the oven - but if necessary I could try and fill the gap with mortar. I am hoping it is no big deal.

Neil
Attached Thumbnails
32 Inch Pompeii in Northern California-sixth-course-top-circle.jpg   32 Inch Pompeii in Northern California-sixth-course-front-arch.jpg   32 Inch Pompeii in Northern California-sixth-course-gap-under-dome.jpg  
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  #44  
Old 05-18-2013, 01:34 PM
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Default Re: 32 Inch Pompeii in Northern California

I had similar, smaller gaps on the upper sides of the dome/entry arch join. I chose to fill them with refractory mortar and chunks of leftover firebrick. After 3 1/2 years of use, the patch/plugs are still intact. One of the things I've noticed on my oven is that the heat and flame during firing come out of the oven curving pretty quickly up. I now wished I'd built a more curved path up and out into the flue. I think this heat/flame path might be more of an issue for you down the road with the gap.

It doesn't look like you can grind out the gap totally, but you could grind it down significantly so the gap and arch lip are reduced and the hot gas/flame flow out & up along a more curved path to the flue instead of hitting the arch lip dead on. I'd also think about using a little firebrick & refractory mortar fill to minimize the transition bump & gap. As a side note, I get creosote build-up in a couple dead spots I have in my chimney entry area sides (from the oven to the flue) and I find it can drop "chunks" on my landing when I least expect it. I suspect the gap you have now will fill with "crap" if you don't fill it and/or grind it out a bit...and although it won't probably affect your oven's performance "black s---" is going to drop on your food and/or turbulence will put more smoke out into the room than you'd like during firing. Easier to address it now...
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Last edited by SableSprings; 05-18-2013 at 01:45 PM.
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  #45  
Old 05-18-2013, 09:23 PM
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Default Re: 32 Inch Pompeii in Northern California

Thanks again Mike,

that is great insight on the gap... thanks so much for sharing your experiences.

Unfortunately I had already almost completed the seventh course when I read your reply. Which means that I think the window for an "easy fix" has passed. I can no longer easily access the arch from the inside of the dome in order to grind it down.

So, what to do?

I can access the gap from the front of the dome - so I can still fill the gap with firebrick and mortar from the front.

I think I am going to do the following:
Complete the dome, and then start curing the oven with test fires. I think that this will give me a sense of how much of a problem I will have with this transition? Does that make sense? Then I can decide how aggressively I want to tackle the problem?

With regards to "soot" - stupid question - but won't the soot burn off when the oven reaches a proper operating temperature?

Neil
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  #46  
Old 05-18-2013, 09:33 PM
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Default Re: 32 Inch Pompeii in Northern California

Seventh Course done. Unfortunately this essentially happened before I read Mike's reply so I can no longer easily access the dome-to-arch transition to try and make it smoother. I will attempt to address this later from the front.

It's probably difficult to see from the picture, but there is only a circular gap of about 10-11 inches remaining. I think this means two more (small) courses followed by a center plug.

I have a couple of weird bumps which I think occurred because I didn't use small enough bricks for the last two rows. But my interior mortar joints are still acceptably small (for me at least!) and so I will make any necessary adjustments on the next course.

I think I will attempt to close the dome tomorrow!
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32 Inch Pompeii in Northern California-seventh-course-top-circle.jpg  

Last edited by boerwarrior; 05-18-2013 at 09:38 PM.
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  #47  
Old 05-19-2013, 12:04 PM
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Default Re: 32 Inch Pompeii in Northern California

Here's a couple of photos of my chimney transition area after a bake. The minor soot/creosote buildup I normally have after a firing is concentrated in areas where I don't get good, smooth airflow out of the oven and into the chimney. This is why I'm a bit concerned about your oven exit/chimney entrance gap & "arch dam". Yes, the soot does burn off inside the oven, but as you can see it doesn't clear very far outside of the oven's main chamber.

I know you want to finish and start the curing fires, but you'll get a lot of soot/creosote buildup during the initial firings...which will make cleaning and "fixing" this area much more difficult (and dirty work!). Again, while you've got home brew made up - use it with some fire brick scraps to fill/pack and smooth this transition area.

FYI: These pics were taken (Sunday) after my bread baking session on Friday. I normally fire the oven Thursday night late and at 7 or 8am Friday morning bring the oven up (from its overnight 400-450F range) to 650-700F when the dome clears. I make sure I've got clearing all the way to the floor and then clean out all the ash/coals. The firing door is left slightly open until I get into the low 600s when I close it to equalize. Door's usually closed from noon until 2:30-3pm when I start the bake. The first two pics are my chimney transition area so you can see the soot/smutz buildup. In the third picture you can see a portion of my cleared dome (note that I did not clean up brickwork mortar, only smoothed it) and the upper right side door opening/angle iron frame at the oven exit. The last picture is to show you some of the crap that falls down on top of my firing door.
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32 Inch Pompeii in Northern California-dsc02131_sm2.jpg   32 Inch Pompeii in Northern California-dsc02132_sm2.jpg   32 Inch Pompeii in Northern California-dsc02138_sm2.jpg   32 Inch Pompeii in Northern California-dsc02141_sm2.jpg  
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Last edited by SableSprings; 05-19-2013 at 12:10 PM.
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  #48  
Old 05-19-2013, 04:45 PM
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Default Re: 32 Inch Pompeii in Northern California

Quote:
Originally Posted by boerwarrior View Post
Thanks KB! I might try and close the dome this weekend - depending on how much time I have to work on it.


You must be almost closed yourself? Or maybe already done? I think the last picture you posted was course 6 or 7.

Hope it's going well!
Neil
Been quite busy with the family........Slow but steady for me........Your builds looking good you will be closing your dome long look before me.......Today I dry fitted 7th course...........
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  #49  
Old 05-19-2013, 05:54 PM
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Default Re: 32 Inch Pompeii in Northern California

Mike

thanks so much for explaining this to me and taking the time to post the pictures. I have a much better idea of what to expect! Wow it sounds like you have a fine-tuned process for firing your oven.

Well, your explanation and pictures convinced me!

I think I actually managed to do better than some brick off-cuts and mortar. I was able to carefully cut two firebricks which fit the gaps fairly well. They were tricky to cut but my firebrick cutting skills have improved immensely since this project started! I was then a little concerned that these bricks might me too heavy to mortar in upside down but I was able to wedge them in fairly well into the side "pockets" so I don't think they are going anywhere!

I had to do everything from the front of the arch with a mirror but I managed pretty well. (Maybe I should have been a dentist! )

I then smoothed everything out with mortar and I now have a pretty smooth transition from dome to arch! I'm not sure how well you can see the attached picture which was taken with a light and a mirror. But you should be able to see it is now smooth.

I think I am going to owe you once I get firing!

Neil
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32 Inch Pompeii in Northern California-gap-filled-.jpg  
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  #50  
Old 05-19-2013, 06:17 PM
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Default Re: 32 Inch Pompeii in Northern California

The oven is closed!!!

I wasn't sure I would be able to finish it this weekend especially after I decided to take SableSpring's advice and repair the dome-to-arch transition so that it didn't have deep crevices in it.

I used a Dremel to carve my initials in the plug.

My final courses are not very pretty but I think they will work.

It is extremely satisfying to smooth out the oven exterior once it is all closed! (Like I said I probably need to get out more )

It feel like a big step to have gotten this far. My respect to all those of you with much bigger ovens - it is a lot of work to build them!

As you can see I still have some cleanup to do on the interior - which I will do before it dries solid!
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32 Inch Pompeii in Northern California-plug.jpg   32 Inch Pompeii in Northern California-oven-closed-top.jpg   32 Inch Pompeii in Northern California-oven-closed-interior.jpg  
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