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benguilford 05-29-2011 12:01 AM

Ben's Brick Oven in Berwick
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Having spent months drooling over all of the beautiful pizza oven creations on this site, I decided that it was well and truly time to get my own project started. I am building a 36" Pompei in my minuscule backyard, and I could not possibly be any happier about it!

The background: My wife and I moved into our newly built house back in October 2010. The back yard is tiny, precisely 6m deep by 8m wide, not exactly the 1.5 acres I was wishing for... The builders had decided in their wisdom (and cheapness) to simply fill the back yard with sharp, angular 'landscaping gravel' which my dogs were most displeased about. So, that had to go, and we really wanted to have a decked area for entertaining and giving our pups (Beau & Bella) somewhere to chillax in the colder months. Therefore, we had a 3m deep x 7m wide decking built just before Christmas of 2010 which effectively took up half of the back yard, but the dogs were once again happy and had stopped giving me the stink-eye so it was worth it.

It was at THAT point that I decided to build a pizza oven. Darn. As you can imagine I really didn't have a whole lot of space to put it, so I decided to build it into the decking. Photos show the decking (as yet unspoilt) and the beginnings of the foundation prep.

david s 05-29-2011 12:29 AM

Re: Ben's Brick Oven in Berwick
Be careful, most councils won't allow anything built up to an adjoining fence. If that is your neighbours fence and they found your oven troublesome, they could dob you in and you'd have to pull it down. Check with the Berwick Council. Up here we have to be 1.5 m inside the fence. My sister lives in Upper Beac. and has a WFO, if you PM me I'll give you her number.

benguilford 05-29-2011 12:49 AM

Re: Ben's Brick Oven in Berwick
Well, thankfully I have the best neighbour out there. In fact, we're building pizza ovens together! He's building a barrel vault, but I don't hold that against him.

In fact, we've had to pull his fence down on a number of occasions to get a wheelbarrow into my backyard, because there is simply no other way to access it, other than trying to wheel one through my house...

david s 05-29-2011 12:55 AM

Re: Ben's Brick Oven in Berwick
Sweet! This is going to be some collaborative, competitive neighbour thing. Can just see you passing loaves of bread over the fence try ing to outdo one another.

benguilford 05-29-2011 01:50 AM

Re: Ben's Brick Oven in Berwick
You're darn right it is. And in terms of handing stuff over the fence, that has been a constant and ongoing process! Timber, tools, tie-wire, tomatoes... what else starts with T... Yup, he's the man alright. And he is whipping me in terms of his progress!

Vicbrickie 05-29-2011 03:39 AM

Re: Ben's Brick Oven in Berwick
hey ben good luck with the oven building. i'm no expert but if you got any questions for a guy who's a bit further along put them out there. i think someone will give you an answer these guys all seem really helpfull.

benguilford 05-29-2011 03:54 AM

Re: Ben's Brick Oven in Berwick
They are really helpful aren't they?! I have been telling my friends (in fact anyone who will listen) about this forum, and how I explain it is;

"It's a forum for people building their own pizza ovens - everyone is either building an oven, or already has built an oven, and it may well be the happiest place on the whole internet."

benguilford 05-30-2011 01:19 AM

Time to slice and dice my new decking...
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So the next stage was to bust out the ol' circular saw and go to work on my brand new decking.. I ripped up the nice, new merbau (this is only a few days after I've finished oiling it mind you) and stabilised the bearers (or are they joists?) with solid timbers driven into the ground, so the decking wouldn't collapse after I chopped a big section out of it.

Then it was time to chop up what I just paid a professional a considerable sum of money to build for me! A tad on the daunting side, as I've never dealt with structural timber before...:)

brickie in oz 05-30-2011 01:57 AM

Re: Ben's Brick Oven in Berwick
So whats going to hold your deck up?

benguilford 05-30-2011 05:21 AM

Re: Ben's Brick Oven in Berwick
Hi Brickie in Oz, I have been following your exploits for some time. I am glad you ask what is going to hold my deck up, a nice segway into the next phase of the project.

When I form up the 'decking side' of the foundation slab, I'll use the same size treated pine as used for the main bearers/joists, and put long galvanised bolts through this timber, protruding into the foundation slab. Then, when the concrete is poured, it will set around the bolts, providing an anchor to support the formwork timber which will be left in place as the new decking substructure. Confused? Basically I'll be bolting the decking substructure to the pizza oven foundation! Darn it, I should have just said that in the first place.

I am hoping this will work well, the foundation is going to be about 200mm thick, on a bed of 100mm compacted Class 2 crushed rock. A layer of 8mm reo mesh at 40mm cover from the base, N12 rebar in the positions shown in the Pompeii oven plans, plus another layer of mesh 40mm from the top for crack control. If I get even the tiniest crack in that slab, I will be equally surprised and dismayed! What do you think? I am by no means a builder but a big slab of concrete seems like a good support for my freshly mutilated decking.

Interested to hear what others think!

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