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  #51  
Old 08-28-2012, 07:51 PM
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Default Re: Under way in Socal

Thx Ute!

It's starting to look like something more than another crazy idea I had for our backyard!
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  #52  
Old 08-30-2012, 03:41 PM
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Location: Carlsbad
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Default Re: Under way in Socal

Alrighty... I started reading through a few threads and I'm starting to get a little nervous that I'm doing crappy work here..but I think it looks good?!? It seems to be going faster than alot of peeps out there (I have probably spent a total of 4-5 hours putting the dome bricks up so far) and it's dead level. I didn't even think about checking it but my IT started flexing out of it's cradle so I thought I better check it.

My hope is that because I'm using splits, they do indeed set faster and as GF said they are easier to "eyeball" in place if need be. Also the joints are not a big allowing the mortar to set stiffer and quicker so I can press against the set brick a little for alignment on the next one?!?!

Either that or I am going to end up with a pile of rubble in a few days..
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Under way in Socal-wfo-progress.jpg   Under way in Socal-wfo-joints.jpg   Under way in Socal-wfo-bubble.jpg  
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  #53  
Old 09-04-2012, 05:39 AM
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Location: Bungay, Suffolk, UK
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Default Re: Under way in Socal

It looks good to me Bud, but...

Don't wish for your mortar to set too quickly! It'll kill the mortar and it'll be as weak as sand. The second photo seems to show it is in fact going off too quickly, with the mortar showing signs of shrinking back off the bricks. This is the suction drawing the water from the mix. Before each course/chain you'll be better off soaking the bricks for 30 seconds in a bucket of water, take them out and then set them aside. Allow the bricks to sit for a further few minutes until any water has gone from the face of the bricks before using them. This'll control the amount of water the brick want to pull from the mortar. The mortar will dry slower. Just work slower. Then, if its warm, spray the laid bricks occasionally with a pump hand sprayer and cover with dampened hessian or any other cloth when the days work is complete. You must give the mortar enough time to "cure" not force the drying process.

Look at the spots of mortar that are on the floor of the oven, they'll crumble to dust in your fingers. This is what the joints could do, if they dry out too quickly.

Last edited by Bookemdanno; 09-04-2012 at 05:40 AM. Reason: smelling pisstakes
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  #54  
Old 09-04-2012, 03:54 PM
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Default Re: Under way in Socal

Judging from the looks of your mortar, it was mixed a little dry and even though you're in cooler San Diego county, the bricks were hot enough to suck all the moisture out of the mortar quickly. This same thing happened to me originally. I would recommend mixing your mortar more wet to the point that you can literally 'press' your bricks into place with the pressure of your hand. The mortar should squeeze out (which you can recover), but you will soon learn to apply the right amount to limit this. Ideally, you don't want to move the brick once it has been pressed into place. I would also lightly (not soak) spritz your brick with a bottle sprayer so that the mortar bleeds into the brick and make a solid bond.
John
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  #55  
Old 09-04-2012, 04:30 PM
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Default Re: Under way in Socal

Agree with GF and bookem, your mortar appears to be separating from the bricks. If you give one of them a soft knock with a rubber mallet from the back, I bet it breaks loose. The bricks should be solidly attached w/in a day.

I do like that sunken IT. Perfect for getting a low dome! Splits are clever too.
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  #56  
Old 09-06-2012, 12:25 PM
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Default Re: Under way in Socal

Many thanks for the replies!

I was definitely afraid of the mortar pulling away from the bricks. I went around the whole thing and gave it a decent whack w/ the mallet and nothing popped loose. I also grabbed some spots off the floor and they were hard- no crumbling. I saw a stucco wall one time go off and the guy brushed the wall with pushbroom to remove it, I am assuming that is the crumbly you speak of bookem?. Nonetheless, should I take it down and start over or just do better w/ the next courses? I actually started soaking the bricks for 2-3 minutes and when I take them out they seem like they want to suck in more water, weird!

GF- I will mix my mortar a bit runnier for sure. As of right now I can set my bricks by hand, maybe a hammer fist here and there and it I will ooze. The thing is that those bricks are sucking the moisture right out of the mortar so I think if I get more water in there I'll be OK.

DJ- The splits were actually a product of economics in my case, seconds at $.25 per brick, but I too like the way it's shaping up. I'm hoping to have a lower than hemispherical dome, and I think it will end up that way, but I'm not going to have an issue with it if not, just hope my opening size isn't too out of whack.

Hopefully I have some more time in the next few days to spend on this puppy.. Thanks again for all the advice!!
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  #57  
Old 09-06-2012, 12:52 PM
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Default Re: Under way in Socal

Quote:
GF- I will mix my mortar a bit runnier for sure. As of right now I can set my bricks by hand, maybe a hammer fist here and there and it I will ooze. The thing is that those bricks are sucking the moisture right out of the mortar so I think if I get more water in there I'll be OK
If your mortar is oozing, you're good. 2-3 minute soaks is too long (real masons reportedly don't wet their bricks at all, I'm guessing it's all in the mortar), plus it adds to your build (soaking) time. I just kept a water bottle handy and sprayed the brick sides and bottom, buttered it up and pressed into place.

Getting a slightly lower dome won't be difficult at all. I used a plywood dome template (no IT) to set the angle of the first brick on each course and just stayed with that angle all the way around. I might've checked for angle consistency every 5-6 bricks, but it was easy to make minor adjustments.

My son is attending UCSD. If you don't mind, I'd love to stop by one of these weekends when I go down to watch him compete (he's on the swim team). Would really like to see your dome progress since it promises to be one of the best-looking ovens on the site!.
John
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  #58  
Old 09-07-2012, 01:40 AM
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Default Re: Under way in Socal

Stone and brick are different materials, with different methods and levels of suction to deal with.
Firebrick will definitely need a dunk, you'll see millions of bubbles escaping but 30 seconds or so will suffice. Like i said, you want no surface moisture when you come to laying the brick or it'll cause the mortar to stain the face of the brick and dilute the actual mortar at the face of the brick as the fines (cement/clay) will bleed from the aggregates.

if those bricks you've laid are still there, i'd carry on regardless and just adopt the new method. But i'd spray the laid bricks first to control the suction from them to the new mortar.

Your mortar should be wet enough to allow you to simply press and wiggle your brick into place. Make sure you mix it for as long as you can to get it good and fatty, and don't add too much water too soon. A good test is to take some onto your trowel, and tap it against the bucket once to settle it then invert the trowel. It should stay there. Think "cake mix", not dough.

Last edited by Bookemdanno; 09-07-2012 at 01:47 AM. Reason: more info
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  #59  
Old 09-07-2012, 03:49 AM
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Default Re: Under way in Socal

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bookemdanno View Post
. Think "cake mix", not dough.
THAT is the best description you could ever come across...well done


Regards Dave
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  #60  
Old 09-09-2012, 03:53 PM
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Default Re: Under way in Socal

Very good analogy for us lay folk...batter not dough. Thanks! I mixed up another batch today and laid some more. I'm telling the truth when I say that

1. I soaked my bricks for about 1 minute
2. My mortar was mixed to the consistency of a batter, I slapped the trowel on the end of the bucket and it settled right on there like I think it should (I've seen masons work and had my fill of youtube videos!).

And sure enough it seems as though the mortar is pulling from the brick. I'm using the homebrew method with 1:3:1:1 ratio. I started using silica sand because I used it for the clay/sand leveling medium and switch to a washed plaster sand. The only thing I can really think to do it soak them AND spray them just before they get laid.

GF- Congratulations on being a UCSD dad! Their aquatic dept is pretty respectable in the collegiate world if I remember correctly? That place has come a long way from some old buildings in a Eucalyptus grove when I was a kid..freaking palace now!! Your are more than the stop by anytime, my schedule is all over the place so just let me know and we'll see if it works!

A caveat- my dome is pretty photogenic. It might look like one of those Hollywood types who you wouldn't recognize in person because they don't have makeup on!
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