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BrritSki 07-02-2008 07:43 AM

BrritSki's Build in Italy
Well despite everything I decided to get started this year in the probably vain hope that I'll be able to produce some pizza at my son's wedding which will finish up here in early September.

I definitely won't be completely finished by then (if my Gaudi-style finish comes to pass!), but possibly will have a cured oven that I can cook in if there are not too many other distractions like Wimbledon, heat, pool, visitors, brush-cutting and other gardening tasks, wine, beer.... It's tough being retired :)

Anyway, my builder friend (mention in my introduction in March, and who now has a new pre-fabricated oven in his new house which works well), delivered some sand, cement, blocks & fire-bricks a couple of weeks ago and I got started.

First task was to build the base of a wall for a shed in another part of the garden which will partly be in gabion form so I can dump all the cement bits, ugly stones, bricks, tiles etc that I want to get rid of.

Once the cage was done I mocked up what the oven base will look like - concrete blocks are 50x50x20cms, not the easier-to-use 40x40x20, but I came up with a layout that is not too difficult.

I'm going to include my ancient barbecue grill on one side of the oven with a small counter at the side of it, and then a full-length counter on the other side of the oven, but I need the slab to go off and position things to see how they look within the other constraints of flower beds etc before the final plan is decided.

Now to figure out how to post pics/thumbnbails in here...

Meanwhile apart from the pics of our rustico on the pbase site mentioned in my intro, there are some other pics here, although some of the albums are password-protected at the request of those pictured:

Pictures have been uploaded to the Hearth and Stand category and included in an album entitled "BrritSki's Pix".

Ciao Rog

Frances 07-03-2008 05:05 AM

Re: BrritSki's Build in Italy
Wow Rog, I love your location. I was looking at the pics and thinking, hey nice wall in the background, reminds me of our trip to Italy last year...

So whereabouts in Liguria are you building this oven? We stayed in a tiny place on top of a hill called Poggi (near Imperia), and I kept fantasizing about dismantling one of the walls and carting the stones back home. My husband wouldn't let me though... :(

BrritSki 07-03-2008 06:38 AM

Re: BrritSki's Build in Italy

Originally Posted by Frances (Post 36537)
So whereabouts in Liguria are you building this oven? We stayed in a tiny place on top of a hill called Poggi (near Imperia), and I kept fantasizing about dismantling one of the walls and carting the stones back home. My husband wouldn't let me though... :(

We are in Ceriana, which is in the hills behind Sanremo, not far from Imperia. In fact one way that we can go to Sanremo passes through a village called Poggio which is at the top of a slope looking out over the sea - are you sure it wasn't that one ?

BrritSki 07-03-2008 06:54 AM

Re: BrritSki's Build in Italy
Ah no, waife informs that I should know Poggi as we have driven through it :)

Ciao Roger

Frances 07-03-2008 01:19 PM

Re: BrritSki's Build in Italy
Lovely part of the world anyway!

The Gaudi style finish intriuges me, too. I'll be watching this thread closely...

BrritSki 07-10-2008 09:52 AM

Re: BrritSki's Build in Italy
Slab has now gone off (surface is a bit powdery but my pro. builder friend says it's OK) and visitors gone, so the blocks are all in place (see pic in "BrritSki's Pix" album).

Design changed slightly to allow for a change in position of the barbecue by moving the front columns to line up with the sidewalls rather than stick out by a couple of inches.

These front columns are still free-standing though as a) it's difficult to tie in 50x20 blocks and b) I didn't want the stand to come out any further. At the moment it's 1500mm wide and 1400mm deep, but if required I can gain another 100-150mm at the back because of the sloping terrace wall.

To anchor the front columns to the rest of the structure I cut a notch and laid a thick galvanised-steel wire butterfly-tie (home-made) on each side at the top of each course. Both these holes will be filled, so that should make it nice and solid.

The other slight change to the FB plan is that I will use a pre-fab reinforced concrete joist to bridge the gap between the columns rather than angle iron and a single course concrete block. This will make it easier to access the wood store amongst other things.

Rebar is all in place too and I've left it standing proud so the reinforcing mesh for the hearth slab can be attached to it.

Slab was nice and level, but blocks aren't precisely the same so there's a couple that rock and there's a couple of mm height difference left to right, but that can be corrected when I lay the hearth slab and shouldn't be noticeable. Neither will the gaps in the blocks once the outside is stuccoed.

Great fun, but my it's hot ! Roger

berryst 07-10-2008 07:16 PM

Re: BrritSki's Build in Italy
Very cool, you are going to have sooooo much fun on this build

BrritSki 07-26-2008 07:26 AM

Re: BrritSki's Build in Italy
I have now completed the concrete part of the base and hearth (photos to follow soon) and will be ready to mix and pour the Vermicucrete insulation layer on Monday.

A few questions though:

1. The instructions say Portland cement, the bag of Italian vermiculite says use refractory cement - I'd prefer Portland, will this be OK ?

2. Is the vermicucrete strong when it's set - it will have the full weight of the oven on it ?

3. Is the ratio of vermiculite:cement 5:1 by volume or weight

4. How would you define "oatmeal consistency" to a limey ? :)

TIA for advice...

Ciao Roger

BrritSki 07-26-2008 07:31 AM

Re: BrritSki's Build in Italy
Sorry, another ?

Is an infra-red thermometer reading to 365C (690F) high enough ?

If not, what max. temp should I be looking for ?

Thanks again Roger

christo 07-26-2008 07:35 AM

Re: BrritSki's Build in Italy
I think most of us have had their ovens at 900 F plus. 900 degrees you have to be pretty skilled not to burn your crusts.

I think something in the 1100 F range should be plenty. It would be a crematorium at that temperature...


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