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  #121  
Old 02-01-2013, 05:49 AM
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Default Re: 36" Pompeii in DC

Winter finally showed up in DC, putting oven work more thoroughly on hold. I'm still cooking when I get the chance though. In the meantime, I'm trying to figure out the logistics for my counters. Current plan is polished concrete, raised up on bricks or something so that the landing counter is at the level of my entry.

I have a crazy thought of adding a mini ash drop in the counter. That is, a gap in the countertop where it meets the firebrick entry, such that ashes would drop into the space between the counter and the structural hearth. Maybe have some kind of stainless box/drawer in the space, so that the ashes could be removed.

On the cooking front, I managed to lay hands on a large quantity of Caputo Tipo 00 pizza flour at a decent price. Went by my local WFO Pizza restaurant and asked where they get their flour (since they tout their VPN certification prominently). They gave me the name of their distributor, which turned out to be located behind my local Costco. Landed a 55# bag of the flour for $42. The distributor also stocks imported cheeses, tomatoes, etc, so I'll have to check them out when we start thinking about a big pizza party in the spring.

The Tipo 00 flour has kicked my already pretty good pizza crust up a couple of notches. Also tried it in some Italian sandwich rolls the other day with very good results. My instinct was to save the expensive imported flour for pizza, but at ~$0.75/lb, it's actually cheaper than what I've been paying for King Arthur AP Flour the last several years!

Attached: my flour, and my entry into the "Fire+Snow=Good Insulation" club.
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36" Pompeii in DC-img_7542.jpg   36" Pompeii in DC-img_7543.jpg  
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  #122  
Old 02-01-2013, 09:56 AM
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Default Re: 36" Pompeii in DC

Funny, I have also been playing with the idea of incorporating an ash drop in my counter top. Assuming my counter top is 2" thick, I'll only have about 3 1/2" to use for the drawer (depth) which is kind of shallow. Given your double layer of insulation you should have plenty of room. My only concern/misgiving for this idea is the potential for water to get down to my insulation layer. I'm sure I can engineer around it but given the amount of work I still have ahead of me (oven enclosure, counter tops, built in bar and BBQ pit), I'm not sure it's really worth the effort.

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AT
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  #123  
Old 02-01-2013, 11:05 AM
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Default Re: 36" Pompeii in DC

Hmm, had not thought about the problem of water getting down to the insulation. I've found sweeping ashes and small coals into a round can sufficiently annoying that I'm still tempted, but that will take some thought.
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  #124  
Old 02-01-2013, 12:01 PM
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Default Re: 36" Pompeii in DC

I think most builders who do an ash drop put it at the back of the arch, not the front - which keeps it from being exposed.

That said, I don't find cleaning the oven to be that much of a chore or even very messy. I don't now that trying to get ashes to go down a small slot would be any easier than brushing them into a dustpan, but that is just my $0.02. Take it FWIW!
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  #125  
Old 02-02-2013, 10:18 AM
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Default Re: 36" Pompeii in DC

Quote:
Originally Posted by rsandler View Post
Hmm, had not thought about the problem of water getting down to the insulation. I've found sweeping ashes and small coals into a round can sufficiently annoying that I'm still tempted, but that will take some thought.
I totally agree. I have a small coal scoop/shovel that helps, but i'd rather sweep the whole mess down a hole and be done with it.

Keep us posted on what you come up with. You've done a real nice job so far, I'm sure whatever you come up with will be good. I'm thinking about installing my ash drop behind a cast iron door and sealing the front edge of my insulation layer with a dam of concrete and fire brick.

Another thought I have been kicking around (since I have a ton of wasted space under my hearth), is putting my old shop vac back there with a metal canister installed between the vacuum and the end of the hose. That way I could just vacuum out the ashes and the canister can catch the coals (I like to reuse the charcoal when I start the next fire - they heat up fast). Now if I could just figure out a clever way to switch the vacuum from sucking to blowing, I would have a killer oxygen supply for stoking the fire!

If I do this, I'll definitely start my own thread.

Good Luck,
Regards,
AT
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  #126  
Old 02-15-2013, 07:08 AM
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Default Re: 36" Pompeii in DC

Alright, here's crazy idea #54, which may rule out the mini-ash drop for aesthetic reasons. So far I've been thinking of doing polished concrete counters in the usual way, with exposed aggregate, etc. But then my wife found these when browsing pinterest:



These are created by pressing a rubber doormat into the concrete. While doing exactly this wouldn't make very good counters (all bumpy), what if one were to fill the gaps with slurry of a contrasting color, then polish the whole thing? Say with a dark colored concrete and a slurry made with white Portland cement. You'd end up with what would look like a fancy inlay. This would probably rule out the mini-ash slot, since it would get in the way of the pattern.
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  #127  
Old 02-15-2013, 07:47 AM
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Default Re: 36" Pompeii in DC

Ummm, interesting idea, do they have any small ones or broken ones that you could experiment with? Could turn out quite nice if the slurry will bond well enough to withstand polishing and the winter conditions of DC.
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  #128  
Old 02-15-2013, 07:55 AM
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Default Re: 36" Pompeii in DC

Not sure if I was clear, the picture is just an idea found online, not something someone is selling. I'd just go buy some rubber mats and press them into the concrete when I pour it. Certainly I'd want to do a small sample before pouring a whole counter top. In addition to figuring out the slurry, I'd want to test the colors, and figure out the polishing process (in particular, how to deal with the inevitable bug-holes on the raised bits).
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  #129  
Old 02-15-2013, 09:39 AM
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Default Re: 36" Pompeii in DC

Very interesting idea, so many possibilities. Something like that would even make an interesting inlay to cover the sides of the base. Even if it wasn’t filled in and polished as you described above. So many cool/creative ideas out there…so little time. Keep us posted.
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  #130  
Old 02-15-2013, 10:07 AM
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Default Re: 36" Pompeii in DC

I think it is a great idea but I might do it the other way arround and pour the concrete over the mat inside of a form that way you would end up with a very consistent depth on the impression from the mats.

Chip
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