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paulages 10-07-2005 08:41 PM

time to participate in my oven design
ok, so i'm having a hard time deciding how to finish my arch here. as the first picture shows, both the brick and shape of the structural archway aren't the most appealing asthetically:

the second picture: an arch laid out made of really old red clay brick i had laying around, complete with moss and everything. this arch would pretty clearly look better, but a different shape would hinder the ability to put a door in place behind it. that's not really that big of a deal, as i'm sure i could build a door that would work (two piece maybe?). however, i also feel like it would be a shame to build a facade arch that hides the fact that a real one is actually holding up the chimney. also, i decided to go with the perlite concrete formed around the vent section idea (which explains the forms on top of the arch), but home despot didn't have any vermiculite or perlite just now. i could just form mortar around it, but that would leave little room for insulation, and mortar around a chimney would surely get hot.

any opinions?

Les 10-07-2005 10:36 PM

Paul, I would go with the facade - moss covered brick (too me) looks a hell of a lot better than fire brick. Covering up your good work is not a crime -think of it this way, when a home is built, does anyone get to see how well the nails were driven? It's the results! I am of mind to follow Stanley's (and others) approach and cover the entire oven with an encloser, gable roof and all. I don't understand your concern about the door - to my understanding it needs to be set right at the dome before your vent. How would the brick facade effect this?

You are light years ahead of me on this project - this is just my opinion but I respect it :-)


paulages 10-08-2005 01:59 AM

i agree that the point of something being well built is that it is well built, and looking good in the end is important.

as for the door---if the facade arch is smaller than the inside part that actually needs to be closed off, then this could make it hard to fit the door in place.

thanks for the advice though. i was pretty much going in that direction.

Marcel 10-09-2005 08:27 AM

Time to participate in Paul's oven design. Go slow for awhile.

(M) The most difficult considerations are the aesthetic ones. With structural ones, there are quantitative factors weighing the decision. If I had only one suggestion to offer it would be to live with the present arrangement for awhile, Paul. Your oven functions as is.:)

(M) But of course I usually have more than just one suggestion to give::rolleyes:

(M) Because you haven't mentioned what style your gable house will be I assume that you haven't made any decision(s) in that regard. Consider what you want the finished product to look like and then make arch decisions based on that design. If, for example, you go with the mossy red brick then the arch dictates the style will have to be rustic as opposed to Jim Hatch's neat quasi Bavarian look. That seems to be the wrong order to be making decisions. I'd look at the big picture before being boxed in by the details.

(M) I'm surprised to have read your view that:

(P) ..."both the brick and shape of the structural archway aren't the most appealing asthetically"

(M) The "yellow" firebrick arch seemed to please you initially. You spent extra $ buying the preformed bricks. The mortar stains which detract from it's appeal are only on the surface. Perhaps muriatic acid or a finishing disk on your angle grinder could restore them to their former glory?

(M) An alternative approach could be to replicate the existing curve by buying another identical set of preformed bricks; maintain that curve outside your front gable wall.

(M) this is just my opinion but Les doesn't respect it :p



paulages 10-09-2005 11:52 AM

yeah, i think i was initially just happy to have built a damn arch at all. now, after sitting on it for a while, it's not quite the look i am going for. i really have had the rustic look in mind the entire time---as a matter of fact, the "pre war tuscany" oven in the photos section on the website was always my favorite because it looks so rustic. i'm gonna have plants growing on my roof, for's gonna look rustic. the plan was to do some kind of nice old looking stone veneer all of the way around, but we'll see how the pocketbook likes that decision. :o

the yellow firebrick would look nice with the right accompanying wall material, but the red mossy brick just looks nice no matter what.

i'm still stuck on pouring that section around the vent, due to pouring rain yesterday and a lack of perlite. i might try using that castable insulation, but i really don't know whether it's strong enough to hold up the weight of the chimney above it. i could go with straight mortar, but i worry about it heating up the inside of the gable structure too much if i can't insulate around it.

dmun 10-09-2005 12:33 PM

arch aesthetics
The rustic stone look is really good. Even in highly finished structures, accents in rough-finished or "rusticated" stone are very effective.

From Jame's provence arch tour, this suggests the sort of thing that could be done with three-dollar belgian blocks. It would be nice to have this contrasting with cut face stone on the walls, but it would also look good against stucco, or field stone set in concrete.

Brick is really good, too. A call to a demolition contractor might get you a truckload of uncleaned old bricks for pennies, especially if you were willing to do your own carting.

Grass on the roof? Make sure it's sealed and well drained below, you don't want your insulation soaked. Remember the biblical prohibition of goats grazing on the roof. ;)

james 10-09-2005 12:45 PM

If you are going all the way back to a rustic (ivy growing around the oven) look, natural stone could look nice. Sometimes it seems like no matter how much you try, brick looks pretty modern.

You could either us a rough cut stone to make a lintel, or stack natural stones in an arch. If you really wanted to go crazy, you cound find a source of local stone, and cut the stone with a diamond blade, then chip the lintel and side pieces to fit. Hand cut stone can look nice.


james 10-09-2005 12:51 PM

What about the Bagno a Ripoli oven? It has a stone lintel, held in place by two stone corbels. It was our neighbors house, and was old -- no one knew how old. It's look nice against a stucco background.


paulages 10-09-2005 01:55 PM

as long as i've decided that i AM going to do a facade arch, there's no real rush deciding what to use. i needed to decide, so that i'd know where to orient my upper walls. i like the natural stone idea. maybe i'll find something easy to shape with a chisel.

i just filled my form around the galvanized piece with the castable refractory insulation. this stuff seems pretty hard, and two sections of doublewall aren't really that heavy.

the sod roof installation is done with a heavy pondliner separating the decking from the soil. shouldn't be a problem, as long as i can flash around the chimney well.

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