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Gordoni 02-17-2014 06:06 AM

42" Started in Fountain Hills, Arizona
Hi all! I've been lurking lusting and learning tons here for years. I want to thank Forno Bravo for hosting such a site, as it gives many of us confidence and inspiration. I have FINALLY began my build, and thought an introduction was in order. I am an avid cook and enjoy all types of cuisine and artisan bread baking. I have always liked cooking with fire. We have a Big Green Egg which gets used about 3 - 4 times a week as well as a large chiminea in the garden elevated to table height where we do table side cooking. The WFO was the next logical step in playing with FIRE!!

As many of you have encountered getting a project like this off the ground can be challenging. My main challenge was WHERE to put our new oven. There were so many options. We have a great inviting garden with a few different location possibilities but proximity to the kitchen was not good. I was also concerned with possible fire hazard since we have lots of desert vegetation that is often very dry during the summer months. The other possibility was on our back patio, which initially I didn't seriously consider since it is somewhat small as it is, and it is a balcony (12 feet off the ground), so expanding out into the yard wasn't possible. We finally decided that there were more good reasons to build it on the patio that not to. Close to the kitchen, under the patio cover so weather is never an issue, also shaded during the build and has good lighting and the existing level steel reinforced concrete foundation. Any other location in the back yard/garden would require extensive excavation and retaining walls just to get to the foundation. Even with the oven on the smallish patio we can still host around 10 people (seated). We also decided that the little extra space required for a full size 42 over a 36 would not be an issue.

I have completed the foundation/hearth and now need to purchase oven components. I plan on 4 inches of ceramic fiber board underneath the floor and 4" of the ceramic blanket over the dome. I am shooting for heavy insulation (and likely a thermal break) since I make a lot of artisan type breads which will benefit from the good heat storage.

So, at this point I am soliciting resources in AZ (hopefully some in the Phoenix area) for insulation and fire brick. For the cooking surface I would really like to go with larger tiles and maintain 2.5 - 3 inch thickness. So far I am aware of Phoenix Brick and Marvel, but haven't really checked them out yet. I also know of Skyline in Tucson for the insulation components. I have to believe there is a source in the Phoenix area for insulation.

As soon as I figure out how to post pictures I'll post the project thus far.

Thanks all!


Gordoni 02-17-2014 06:47 AM

Re: 42" Started in Fountain Hills, Arizona
6 Attachment(s)
This is obviously the described site of the project. This first picture is the demolition of an existing half wall. I also included a picture of the view as seen from the balcony where the oven is being built. This is looking 45 degrees S.E. Built this house in 1996 and I never get tired of the view. The floor plan is rotated on the north/south facing lot 45 degrees east to fully take advantage of the view and the solar pattern. In the winter months the house is flooded with warming sunlight, but in the summer the sun rises due east and tracks directly overhead sparing the windows and heat gain.

As mentioned in my original post I decided to build a reinforced slab on the existing patio slab, both for a little more peace of mind and to keep wood storage up off the main level to keep wood dry during the occasional washing of the patio.

The third picture is the beginning of the forms and also the termite treatment. Those with sharp eyes can see the old termite activity where the existing wall used to be. Ii was unaware of a patio roof leak which attracted them, no real damage done. Al fixed now and the termite treatment completed.

A couple of obstacles had to be overcome before the dry stacked block could be poured. i had to extent a gas line from the back corner to the front. I left the existing valve intact and formed around it. i have a second valve at the left side of the oven face. I didn't want to remove the existing valve for fear that unscrewing it could disturb the threaded fittings in the interior wall.

I also had to contend with the steps, and then the vent for the masonry fireplace on the opposite side of the wall. I left a relief and room to actuate the vent at the lower left front.

I had to cut several block to get the wood storage opening proportions I wanted and to get around the steps. I poured every cell solid leaving half of the top coarse empty. 1/2 rebar in every other cell and in all cells at the opening corners.

The forms for the top slab worked out great. The one thing I did at the last minute before pouring was to staple painters masking plastic to the 3/4 OSB to facilitate form removal, worked great. Once I chipped a corner of the form a pry bar released it in one piece. The top slab is just shy of 5 inches thick with steel on 9 in centers in one direction and 7 in the other. All of this steel tied into the vertical steel in the block cells.

Thanks all for your support and suggestions, looking forward to meeting this community.


Gordoni 02-17-2014 07:31 AM

Re: 42" Started in Fountain Hills, Arizona
3 Attachment(s)
So here are the remaining images showing the current status. That's dad up on the forms, You can see the patio ceiling height and composition. The flue will extend perfectly so I don't have to cut any of the rough-sawn framing. At this point I have a rough idea as to how I will enclose the oven and chimney.

Also scored a nice saw used on a couple homeowner jobs for $320.



kbartman 02-17-2014 05:14 PM

Re: 42" Started in Fountain Hills, Arizona
Great start............Beautiful view, I don't think anyone would ever get tired of that view........Looking forward to following your build.

Gordoni 02-18-2014 04:30 AM

Re: 42" Started in Fountain Hills, Arizona
Thanks KB, looking forward to it. I'm sure I will have lots of questions for all. I know it will be a challenging and fun build.

Take care,


Gordoni 03-15-2014 09:52 AM

Starting next phase....a few questions
Ok, I'm finally starting the next phase of my build. It involves mostly gathering materials. I'm in the Phoenix area and shopping for medium duty fire brick. I called Marvel Masonry Supply and the guy told me they don't have different duty ratings, just different colors beige yellow red.........$2 each.......Called Phoenix Brickyard and they have the brick for 1.44. Wow big difference when your buying so many. I will be going the Homebrew mortar route since the HS50 is $110 50# bag!!!!

Design question. I am using 4 inches of Ceramic Board underneath the floor (2- 2 inch layers) I am somewhat concerned about settling over time and losing good support for the structure. I had an idea and wanted to pass it by everyone. Would it be ok to put down 1/8 or even 3/16 steel plate on top of the board to distribute the load more evenly and minimize local compression. Since the brick would not be adhered to the steel any difference in thermal expansion shouldn't be an issue.

Thanks in advance for all the expertise here!!!

GianniFocaccia 03-15-2014 10:04 AM

Re: 42" Started in Fountain Hills, Arizona

No need for the steel. Virtually all of the builders here placed their firebricks directly on their boards. A previous thread here stated that the compressive strength of the board exceeds the lbs/sq" weight of the dome.


deejayoh 03-15-2014 06:17 PM

Re: 42" Started in Fountain Hills, Arizona
+1 to John's comment. No need to worry about compression

Gulf 03-15-2014 06:28 PM

Re: 42" Started in Fountain Hills, Arizona

Originally Posted by deejayoh (Post 170702)
+1 to John's comment. No need to worry about compression

Make that 2 plus :).

Gordoni 03-18-2014 09:46 AM

Re: 42" Started in Fountain Hills, Arizona
Thanks John, DJO and Gulf.................I was more concerned with the settling over the span of years. With your input, I'm no longer concerned.
So now I'm laying out the herringbone floor patter and getting ready to cut the perimeter bricks. I have seen mention on some builds of sand or fire clay under the floor bricks for leveling In the event there is some uneven brick to brick. I assume dry since bonding is not preferred. What have you guys used under the floor bricks? Additionally with the gap from the edge of the floor to the dome, what keeps the smaller bricks in place? Should the perimeter floor bricks be mortared?

Picked up my bricks on Saturday after stressing over having to get "low duty" vs "med duty" bricks. They quoted (Phoenix Brickyard) me $1.44 for med duty, but after the hour drive to get there they were $3.89!!! ARGGGG! I even specified the 35% Alumina and the associated Silica content........YUP $1.44! "They made a mistake on the phone!" So, I convinced myself that low duty would work fine, even though they didn't have the data sheets with the technical description. Then I asked for 2 bags of fireclay for the homebrew. Shame on me, I get home and it's some kind of premixed stuff I mix portland and sand with......not using it, don't trust it......

Just venting a little. I guess part of the "fun" is finding the materials.



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