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Tapir Force 04-03-2011 08:42 PM

Tapir Force Steps up to the plate!
I have been wanting to construct a wood-fired oven for years. My wife and I moved to the Palmer Divide on the high plains of Eastern Colorado 14 years ago and started building our home. We are now both retired teachers, but for years, we taught by day and built our ranch by night. Before I was a teacher, I was a builder. As school teachers, we decided early on that the only way we could afford our dream was to build it ourselves using recycled and surplus materials. We have done just that and it has been a labor of love. My original plan was to build a Russian stove with a wood-fired oven in it. We are at 7,300 ft. of elevation on sixty acres with about half of the land in Ponderosa pine. We wanted to heat the home with the wood from our property. The five year plan has taken us fourteen years and as you can imagine, the plans had to be very fluid. Initially we built a hybrid straw bale home in a barn with the idea that we would store building supplies from auctions, etc. in the barn until we could build the main house. I have had all my firebrick, insulation blankets, refractory mortar, flues and block for over a decade. We changed our mind about the Russian stove in favor of a Garn wood gasification boiler. When that decision was made, I started following any site that I could find that had wood-fired oven plans. Forno Bravo has been my classroom for years now, and I am now at a place where I can take the plunge. I have finally signed up to post my build. So many before me have graciously shared their experiences with honesty and humility. Now it is my turn to attempt to give back to all the wonderful people who have decided to carry on the tradition of building the wood-fired oven. Now, on with the show.

Robert Thomasson

Lburou 04-04-2011 07:12 PM

Hello Robert :)

Know your area pretty well. We are retired from the AF Academy. You are close to the Castlewood Canyon State Park, no?

I'm subscribed to your thread, where are you taking us? :)

Tapir Force 04-04-2011 07:25 PM

Re: Tapir Force Steps up to the plate!
Hello Lee,

Yes, we are close to Castlewood Canyon. I love that canyon. We are 20 miles south and 10 miles east. I am taking you on a journey through the trials and tribulations of creating a 42" Pompei Dome using the Forno Bravo plans as my initial starting point. I have a ton of pictures and will start posting fairly soon. I use several forums, but for the life of me, I can't figure out why Flickr and FB are not hooking up. Cut my floor in today and am sitting here figuring my soldiers course. Thanks for being my first responder!


Tapir Force 04-04-2011 09:24 PM

Re: Tapir Force Steps up to the plate!
5 Attachment(s)
Here is the beginning of the stand and floor forming. The foundation was started a couple of years ago. The ground here is just a little soil on top of a layer of conglomerate rock.

brickie in oz 04-05-2011 12:05 AM

Re: Tapir Force Steps up to the plate!

Originally Posted by Karangi Dude (Post 110662)
Welcome from down under (I don't know why people say that)

I thought we were up over, and the map was upside down? :confused:

Tapir Force 04-05-2011 07:44 AM

Re: Tapir Force Steps up to the plate!
Karangi and Bricki,

Thanks for reading. I used to have friends in Queensland who were teachers and did an exchange here in the States. Their kids went around everywhere toward the end of their stay buying Cheese Doodles, a snack food. I was always surprised when they wouldn't eat them and instead packed them away for friends at home. Quite honestly, I told them they that not only were they not very healthy for them, but that they tasted like something that one might pick off the ground. The kids roared with laughter. The parents explained that a doodle was a slang term for something you might find in diaper. Of course being a teacher, I understood the mindset of an adolescent. Kids are the same down under or up over. What a great forum this is. :rolleyes:

Tapir Force 04-05-2011 07:58 AM

Re: Tapir Force Steps up to the plate!
5 Attachment(s)
This is the forming of the concrete work on top of the block walls. The cinder blocks were amazingly cheap as they had a cosmetic flaw on a special order for an architect. The faux seam down the front was off by 3/8" and were rejected. I bought a truck load of them years ago to build walls, bases for my greenhouses and other miscellaneous projects. I still have a ton of them. The plywood is fall off, full dimension 1"marine grade. Odd sizes, again very cheap from a buddy of mine who sells surplus lumber.

Tapir Force 04-05-2011 08:09 AM

Re: Tapir Force Steps up to the plate!
2 Attachment(s)
I did my concrete pour and instead of the rebar across the slab, I found some specialty reinforcement mat that was large enough to cover the floor. It is 3/8 welded and I connected it to the rebar sticking up from the channels in my block that I had poured earlier. I did not get good pictures of the stuff tied in, but did manage to at least show that it was in there.

Tapir Force 04-05-2011 08:35 AM

Re: Tapir Force Steps up to the plate!
4 Attachment(s)
Okay, so I just went over the last few posts and figured I better add a few details.The slab is 3 1/2" thick with reinforcing steel mat. The slab rests fully on top of the back three block walls that were dry stacked, poured concrete in every other channel, rammed earth in the rest and rebar in all. The front wall has a 12"x8" Douglas fir beam spanning the front. The slab rests on that beam in the front. The beam is part of my idea for a decorative front later on in the project. Next, after waiting about four days the forms for a vermiculite concrete layer 3.5"deep were set. This slab covered all of the original concrete slab except that I had set bolts in the concrete slab along the edge to place my metal sill plate. That sill plate acted as my form for the insulating layer.

Tapir Force 04-05-2011 09:39 AM

Re: Tapir Force Steps up to the plate!
4 Attachment(s)
When the vermiculite and concrete died, I leveled the surface with sand, clay mix and water. Then, I had a boat load of 15"x12"x2" fire bricks. I wanted a good sized mass under the oven floor, so I put in a dull level of these. They make a very level and sable floor on which to start the oven floor and soldiers.

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