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Pompeii Nate 06-26-2012 05:45 PM

Pompeii Nate's 42" Oven Build
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So after over a year of constantly reading through others' build threads and asking a ton of what I am sure were annoying questions I have finally started my own Pompeii oven. I am excited to get started and I hope I can do half as well as all those I have been studying. So here it goes...

I started by digging down about 15 inches into the compacted clay we have here in Eastern Idaho. I started with my cousin's rotor tiller by loosening up the ground then shoveling it out but then after about two passes with that and about 5 inches down the tiller broke when I was turning a corner and ALL the oil poured out of the engine and into my hole. I felt horrible. (Luckily my cousin is a very resourceful guy and he was able to fix it as soon as I took it to him). I finished the rest of the dig with a shovel and it almost seemed to go easier than the other method.

After I got the hole dug and leveled I took a compactor to it but I really don't think it did a whole lot since the ground here is really compacted. I then added pea gravel about 4" at a time then ran the compactor over it until I had about 12" of the compacted pea gravel. The last three or so inches was reject material and again I compacted that down so that it made a pretty solid base. In reality, I did the last three inches of reject material because my neighbor got me worried when he almost laughed when I said I was using pea gravel. So instead of using all pea gravel I compromised and used the reject material for the last few inches. Anybody see any problems with this? I guess if you do it is too late now but I am interested in your thoughts.

I put in conduit for the time in the future when I can afford to tear up my backyard and patio to run power to the oven but for now I don't have that money. The conduit is about 12 inches deep and I have it running about 10 inches beyond the concrete foundation so that it will be easier to find when that time comes.

Here are some pictures of these steps.

Comments and critiques are always welcome.


Tscarborough 06-26-2012 05:57 PM

Re: Pompeii Nate's 42" Oven Build
Pea gravel is round and a tad small for that use, you ideally want sharp (broken) stone to 3/4", but that is minor. Looks good, rock on!

Pompeii Nate 06-26-2012 06:08 PM

Re: Pompeii Nate's 42" Oven Build
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So after I got the foundation ready (I sure hope that I allowed for sufficient drainage with only 12" of pea gravel) I formed up my foundation using 2x6's. I actually believe my edges are six to eight inches and the middle is probably closer to 5". I put about 100' of rebar in my form so it should be plenty, if not overkill which I am totally okay with.

When it came time to pour the slab I recruited a good friend and my teenage neighbor who just poured a slab with his dad whom I have convinced to also build a WFO. Since this is my first attempt at concrete work EVER I hope we did okay. I cut down a metal post to be able to get the concrete trailer into my backyard because I did not want to haul all that concrete with a wheel barrel. It wasn't anything fancy but it worked great. I had to rent the trailer from a rental company and then take it to the concrete company to fill it. I actually ended up with about a yard and a half and once the pour was done I had to figure out what to do with the rest. Since I didn't have anything ready it just went wasted out front in a gravel parking area.

Here are the pictures of the form and the pour. That's me up on the trailer trying to get the concrete out while my two friends move it around. I guess time will tell how well we did.

Pompeii Nate 06-26-2012 06:16 PM

Re: Pompeii Nate's 42" Oven Build
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So I ran into my first problem. In my attempts to get the concrete out of the rental trailer before it started to harden too much I forgot to put in my rebar that would go from the slab into my cinder block base. So by the time I got back to do it the slab had begun to set and my rebar did not go in as I had hoped. So after tenting the slab and letting it sit for a couple of days, when I pulled off the tarp tent this is what I found. The rebar pretty much just sits loosely in the holes and some of them even come out. Hopefully I haven't compromised any of the structural integrity of the slab.

So my question is what can I do to better secure the rebar? Should I get a bunch of epoxy and put it into each hole or should I just build my cinder block base then fill with more concrete and let it just seal itself?

I really have no idea what to do so any suggestions and input are greatly appreciated.

Thanks in advance!


Pompeii Nate 06-26-2012 06:20 PM

Re: Pompeii Nate's 42" Oven Build
Thanks Tscarborough. I thought about getting the sharp rocks after I had packed my first load of pea gravel but I decided to just continue with what I had. Time will tell how good of a choice it was.

Tscarborough 06-26-2012 06:43 PM

Re: Pompeii Nate's 42" Oven Build
Are you in an earthquake zone?

Pompeii Nate 06-26-2012 06:51 PM

Re: Pompeii Nate's 42" Oven Build
technically yes we are. And supposedly we are long over due for the quake that is supposed to level Yellowstone National Park (if the scientists are correct, of course).

Tscarborough 06-26-2012 07:09 PM

Re: Pompeii Nate's 42" Oven Build
If that one let's go, I do not think your oven will be your primary concern. If you want, you can epoxy the bars in place (and if you don't, don't bother to grout the cells of the CMU or carry the rebar connection into the slab). Personally I would not worry about it since anything big enough to shake your oven down will probably take down your house too.

However, what rules is your local code, which probably requires the bar to be epoxied in with continuous reinforcement through the hearth slab.

UtahBeehiver 06-26-2012 07:35 PM

Re: Pompeii Nate's 42" Oven Build

When you decide to get with it, you get with it. Will be watching your build and you will probably pass me up. Great start.

Pompeii Nate 06-26-2012 07:47 PM

Re: Pompeii Nate's 42" Oven Build
Thanks Russell! It was seeing your build that convinced me to change from what I was going with to what I ended up actually doing. Thanks for the inspiration. I don't know if I will pass you up since I was kind of using you as another source of ideas. Thanks for the encouragement, though.

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