Landing / Prep Area - Depth & Material
Most input on material in this forum indicates granite is material of choice. My wife would like copper or possibly stainless steel, but I am concerned over heat transfer from oven, whether or not it remains bacteria free, keeping it clean and attaching it with wrap around front edge. All feedback would be appreciated.
Our hearth is 9" deep and the base will extend outside of the oven width by 8" or so on either side, allowing room for add'l prep area, storage, etc. What is suggested depth of landing for someone 5' 4" (my wife). She is concerned over it being too deep and allowing her to reach into oven with peel, build fire (she insists she will learn), etc.
Re: Landing / Prep Area - Depth & Material
I did concrete, but that's because it's a material I am fond of and I could DIY it in the shape of my choosing very inexpensively. I have concrete counters indoors, and they clean up just like stone once they're sealed.
I think metal IS going to transfer a fair amount of heat, particularly if it's directly up against your hearth bricks. If you go that route I would try and come up with some kind of thermal break, either using insulation board or a buffer of stone or another material between the start of your metal top and the hearth bricks, maybe both.
You'll need to consider what kind of substrate you'd have under the metal and how that will be affected by heat and outdoor environment, too. Copper would most likely require a substrate for support. When I've seen this used as a surface indoors, the substrate is plywood or MDF. SS could be stand alone if the gauge is heavy enough (think restaurant prep tables). In that case, I'd figure out the means of attachment and spec that as part of the fabrication.
Copper, unless it's sealed with something fairly heavy duty, is going to be a PITA to keep clean outdoors, IMO. I'm also not sure what you'd find for appropriate food-safe sealers for copper.
As far as being able to reach into the oven...I am a shortie myself at about 5'5" so this was definitely something I gave a fair amount of thought to. I wanted to create as much landing/workspace as I could without feeling like the reach was uncomfortable. The landing I ended up pouring has a radius front which extends 18" out from the front face of my outer arch. That puts me about 32" away from start of the actual oven interior. Not a problem for cooking, but I do keep a little step stool out there that I occasionally need to stand on when I'm setting up my fire.
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