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wlively 11-10-2006 07:02 PM

Another Texas oven
Howdy All

All the recent posts finally prompted me to post my progress. A big thanks to James for this website and everyone else who share their progress, ideas, and advice. I am building a 42" and am going to try an expanding arch doorway. Also, special thanks to whoever posted the Harbor Freight tile saw, awesome buy!


Pict# 1 . Is outside hearth forms just removed. You can still see 2x4 braces that are supporting the Durock floor.

# 2. Insblock 19 just mortared down.

# 3. Trying to visualize entry

# 4. Course 1 and 2 of the dome done.

Lastly, the reason I am not moving as fast as you other guys. My other project. :)

wlively 05-10-2007 08:11 PM

Re: Another Texas oven
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OK, I am ready to take my lumps about my masonary technique. :)

Finally getting around to posting some more progress. I have the dome almost finished. I will be capping the dome with a poured piece of KS-4 (about 9" in dia) instead of the jumble of cut pieces. I am tired of cutting bricks and thought I would take a short cut.

Sorry, James, I did not take alot of pictures of the casting of the vent transition. I was a little to eager to cast it and I was using more KS-4 than I wanted to so the transition looks pretty ugly and I cut it short of true round. Will try and cast an extension when I pour the dome cap. KS-4 by the way is awesome stuff. It is so dense that when I hit it with a hammer it makes a nice ping, like when you hit a block of steel. If I were to do another I would cast the entire vent arch opening with it. Don't use aluminium foil as a mold release by the way. Found out is sticks incredibly well to KS-4 and it has taken alot of work to get only about 60% off.

Notes about my frankenstien. My expanding arch opening was not as much a pain to make as I thought, but it is making the vent transition difficult. We will see how well it pulls the smoke later and I hope it makes moving around the peel and tools easier. You will notice an unusual shape to the dome. I started out with 1/2 bricks and after reading posting here I decided to transition to 1/3 bricks near the top. The 8th ring is made with alternating 1/2 and 1/3 bricks, hence the unusual shape. Thought I had enough thermal mass and would not hurt to make the top of the dome a bit lighter.

james 05-11-2007 06:18 AM

Re: Another Texas oven
Way to go Wade. Looks great to me -- it will be fun to see how you cast and set the top of the dome.

Has everyone notice that there are lot of photos of oven construction taken at dusk? I've done that -- just working until you can barely see in the dark, and then taken a handful of photos. Working late is kind of a mix between being fun, and just wanting to get it the heck finished.

Also, I am noticing many new ovens have brick vents.

Is that becoming the preferred method? Maybe we need a poll.

wlively 05-18-2007 04:34 PM

Re: Another Texas oven
3 Attachment(s)
Well I poured my KS-4 cap without much fuss. A piece of pink foam board, backed up by a piece of 1x6 and held up by a 2x4 worked well for the floor. Lined hole with thin plastic and poured. Covered with 2 wet towels, plastic sheet, and another piece of foam board and then a tarp and let cure for 48 hrs.

I was concerned about how much left I had so I embedded a keystone cut firebrick in the center and drilled a hole in it for a thermocouple. Used the thermocouple hole to pull it right out of the dome, pretty easy. Last night I finished a 5 hr cure in the oven per manuf instructions and I dropped it in permanately today.

Now all I have to do is wait a week and then start the curing fires.

Hendo 05-18-2007 09:06 PM

Re: Another Texas oven

Great job in what looks like a beautiful setting.

I like the idea of the plug, rather than messing around with lots of small bricks and zillions of cuts!

I notice that the sixth ring is made up of what looks like quarter-size bricks, then above this half size bricks again. What was your reasoning for this, as a matter of interest? It looks great, but I guess you had another reason, rather than purely aesthetics?

Cheers, Paul.

wlively 05-19-2007 06:50 AM

Re: Another Texas oven
Thanks allot Paul.

I live on the north end of the runway in an airpark. So, that wide open space way behind the oven is the runway.

Your attention to detail is very impressive; you must be a very good engineer. I have been pondering what story to say for those that noticed that. Artistic expression... Engineering load distribution device..... :) But real reason is.... I started by using 1/2 bricks and for the first few courses and that works fine. Then the overlapping bricks start to protrude from the lower level seams and I was not happy with the appearance. I then tried cutting indentions in the faces to match but that was a real pain and had inconsistent results. So next logical solution was to reduce segment length of the arc so I split the bricks. The consequence of that was it took twice as long to lay then next course. Well I have too many projects plus two toddlers, so I can only afford patience on one (the airplane). Well then it was back to half bricks.

christo 05-28-2007 06:54 AM

Re: Another Texas oven

How are the drying fires progressing? Cooked anything yet?


wlively 05-28-2007 08:17 AM

Re: Another Texas oven
Murphy's law reared it ugly head!

We have had 7 inches of rain, that started on the day I was to start fire number 1. In fact it is rainning again today and the same for tomorrow.

So my oven has been sitting under a tarp for almost a week. Hopefully wednesday.

wlively 06-01-2007 06:35 PM

Re: Another Texas oven
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Finally the rain has stopped!

So back to work. Got the oven insulated, TC's wired and 3/4 of the walls up.

And about 1 hour ago the first fire! Really amazed how much heat remained in the dome after just a couple of paper balls were finished burning. I guess it is offically an oven.

The icing on the cake is a friend at work has granite connections. My one piece countertop is being made next week out of Sicilian granite. What could be more perfect?:D

james 06-02-2007 08:47 AM

Re: Another Texas oven
The first fire! That's a well-earned great feeling. Now there is a race -- which is will happen first? Seven days of curing and your first pizzas, or the framing on the enclosure gets done? :-)


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