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Old 08-01-2014, 08:43 AM
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Join Date: May 2014
Location: Bainbridge Island, WA
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Default CASA2G 100 build start to almost finish

Below are pics of our 40" Casa2g oven which was first fired about two years ago. We're about ready to do the tiling of the dome and cabinet structure. This was a great experience and was well worth the effort. I had never done cement or brick work before so this proves that not having the skills is no excuse for not doing it. Once you get going there is plenty of help available online and from friends that experience in building things.

Of course, the pizza oven project expanded into outdoor counter space with a built in BBQ. And, since we've been know wo drink a little vino we had to add a little bocce court as well. Now it's a favorite place for our family and friends to get together and hang out.

This first section of pictures covers the crate we received with the modular oven packed inside. You can see the ceramics wool insulation, oven pieces and other items. Everything arrived undamaged. The edges of the modular pieces seemed a little rough but once we placed them together and added mortar everything looked and worked just fine.
Attached Thumbnails
CASA2G 100 build start to almost finish-pizza01t.jpg   CASA2G 100 build start to almost finish-pizza01u.jpg   CASA2G 100 build start to almost finish-pizza01v.jpg   CASA2G 100 build start to almost finish-pizza01y.jpg  
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Old 08-19-2014, 03:10 PM
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Default Re: CASA2G 100 build start to almost finish

Deck Preparation:

To prepare the location I had to dog-eared the deck. The plan was to put the oven at 45 degrees and have about 11 foot counters coming down the rear and right side of the cedar deck. 11 feet because that's all the space I had. On the right side I created space for a built in BBQ and on the left I had a counter sink at the far end. That leaves about 6 or 7 feet of work space on either side of the oven. I'd like another foot or two because I've found that it's best to prepare the pizzas al fresco next to the oven opening. Usually, there is an army making pizzas and watching so the more prep space the better.

I was a bit concerned about embers but have not had a problem after 100s of pizzas. I could always replace the cedar near the oven with something that does not burn. I've noticed that apple wood does not create popping embers.

The slab is a little over 6 inches thick. Cinder-block would leave about 2 inches of slab showing around all sides. I made a drawing using Visio to get the general layout down on paper so those helping me would have something to work with.
Attached Thumbnails
CASA2G 100 build start to almost finish-pizza01z.jpg   CASA2G 100 build start to almost finish-pizza02.jpg   CASA2G 100 build start to almost finish-pizza_plan.jpg  

Last edited by JohnF; 08-19-2014 at 03:14 PM. Reason: Added drawing
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Old 08-19-2014, 03:55 PM
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Default Re: CASA2G 100 build start to almost finish

Cinder Block and Oven Platform:

As mentioned above, I've never done any brick work. So, I hired a mason to do the cinder block base and oven platform. Actually he's a local artist that creates these really cool metallic salmon sculptors (Unique one of a kind artwork from the Pacific NW...Glasswork, Metal work, Metal Sculptures, Stonework and Northwest Art.) - but he also does masonry.

Were I to do it over again, I'd still hire this out. It was a lot of work and keeping things level and uniform would have been difficult for a total newbie. I did get my hands on a few bricks when I made the oven door arch. I copied Bob's method he used on the two arches at the rear of each cabinet.

For wood storage I decided to have the hollow of one counter and the hollow of the oven platform open to the rear with a brick arch placed over the opening.

Two reasons I did this -first is because I live in a forest and there are lots of spiders that like wood piles. Second, my wood is usually apple and it's craggy old branches and does not stack well. Accessing from the rear allows me to use more of the area (the deck is raised 18 inches off the ground) and not have to worry about it not being neatly stacked. And be further from spiders.

For the oven platform we used rebar that anchored to the bottom of the cinder block voids. The platform is 7 inches thick with all holes filled with poured concrete.

Flash-forward to now: When I have the oven hot for many hours the most heat loss I believe is coming from the cement directly under the oven. The dome will reach 100 degrees after a few hours - still very cool. The sides of the platform are not hot. It's the underneath portion that is accessible from the arched doorway in back of the oven where I store wood (actually there is oyster shell there at the moment). I've not shot this with my IR thermometer but I will.

I see many ovens that have the cement platform 'hang' from rebar in the center of the oven support structure. I'm not an engineer but I'm curious as to how much heat loss results from it seeping through the floor into the side walls of the support structure.
Attached Thumbnails
CASA2G 100 build start to almost finish-pizza03.jpg   CASA2G 100 build start to almost finish-pizza04.jpg   CASA2G 100 build start to almost finish-pizza05.jpg   CASA2G 100 build start to almost finish-pizza06.jpg   CASA2G 100 build start to almost finish-pizza07.jpg  

CASA2G 100 build start to almost finish-pizza08.jpg  
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Old 08-19-2014, 04:27 PM
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Location: Bainbridge Island, WA
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Default Re: CASA2G 100 build start to almost finish

ASSEMBLING THE OVEN:

Best to have a couple people around to extract and carry out the oven pieces. We used a wheel barrow with a moving blanket underneath. After brushing off the cement platform base we assembled the fire bricks and insulation on the deck to get exact measurements.

Once we penciled in where the firebrick & insulation where going to sit we placed a thin layer of sand below and atop the insulation to help us level the oven floor. This process goes quickly - perhaps an hour. You can see me placing the top circular dome piece atop the almost completed oven.

The dome pieces are dry fit together on top of the insulation and around the fire brick floor. This also goes quickly - less than an hour. A small amount of high temperature mortar is used to seal the outside of the oven section joints. You don't want to get the mortar on the inside half of the joint area. The manual explains this in more detail.
Attached Thumbnails
CASA2G 100 build start to almost finish-pizza09.jpg   CASA2G 100 build start to almost finish-pizza10.jpg   CASA2G 100 build start to almost finish-pizza11.jpg   CASA2G 100 build start to almost finish-pizza12.jpg  

Last edited by JohnF; 08-19-2014 at 04:31 PM.
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  #5  
Old 08-20-2014, 05:24 PM
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Default Re: CASA2G 100 build start to almost finish

Brick Arch Over Oven Opening:

I think this was the first brick work I have ever done. Did not come out too bad - so anyone can do this. I created a wood frame to match the arch shape. I then laid out the bricks on the ground to ensure they fit. Then I winged it..
Attached Thumbnails
CASA2G 100 build start to almost finish-pizza14.jpg   CASA2G 100 build start to almost finish-pizza15.jpg   CASA2G 100 build start to almost finish-pizza16.jpg   CASA2G 100 build start to almost finish-pizza17.jpg   CASA2G 100 build start to almost finish-pizza18.jpg  

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Old 08-21-2014, 08:43 AM
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Default Re: CASA2G 100 build start to almost finish

Chimney and Insulation:

The chimney sets in easily - I sealed the outside gap with a little high temp mortar. Plan here is to add a copper sleeve around the chimney when I tile the oven. The ceramic wool insulation layers on about 4 inches thick. It is easy to cut. I drilled about 10 1/8th inch holes around the outside of the insulation to hold thin rebar rods - you can see them sticking out of the oven platform. I tied wire around the base of these rods and wrapped it around the insulation to keep it snug. I then added thin rebar arches over the dome and secured them to these rebar rods. This was used to create a cage upon which to drape the lathe used to support the mortar.
Attached Thumbnails
CASA2G 100 build start to almost finish-pizza19.jpg   CASA2G 100 build start to almost finish-pizza20.jpg   CASA2G 100 build start to almost finish-pizza21.jpg   CASA2G 100 build start to almost finish-pizza22.jpg  
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Old 08-21-2014, 09:10 AM
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Default Re: CASA2G 100 build start to almost finish

Mortar and 1st Pizza:

I used a regular mortar to apply about a 1.5 inch dome atop the lathe. The only place I used high temp mortar was around the chimney. The outside of the chimney will get very warm to the touch at the top. Down 6 inches or so it only gets a little warm so I do not think the high temp mortar is necessary.

I had fired the oven several times by this point. The curing process took about a week of consistently larger and longer fires. After the oven was fully cured I had to cook something for the wife.. this was my first attempt.

These pics were taken about two years ago. Since then I've added the built in BBQ, cement counters and made about 400 pizzas. I'll take some as-is pictures and hopefully get some feedback on tiling the oven - which I'd like to do in the next couple weeks.

My Lessons Learned So Far:

1- It's not as difficult as it seems.
2- Do it now. I thought about this for 3 years before pulling the trigger.
3- For my skill level, a kit makes the most sense. There is a lot of engineering in an oven that radiates, convects and conducts heat properly.
4- Put the oven as close to the kitchen as you can.
5- Create ample counter space immediately next to the oven for prep
6- In sizing your oven understand that you can cook 3 pizzas in 90 seconds - you and all your friends can't make them any faster than that.
Attached Thumbnails
CASA2G 100 build start to almost finish-pizza25.jpg   CASA2G 100 build start to almost finish-pizza27.jpg   CASA2G 100 build start to almost finish-pizza28.jpg   CASA2G 100 build start to almost finish-pizza29.jpg  
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  #8  
Old 08-21-2014, 10:10 AM
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Default Re: CASA2G 100 build start to almost finish

Two good design decisions: 1st the extra counters for preparing many pizzas at a time, 2nd the back-looking wood storage due to the reasons you have mentioned. That is a neat and practical design.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnF View Post
Flash-forward to now: When I have the oven hot for many hours the most heat loss I believe is coming from the cement directly under the oven. The dome will reach 100 degrees after a few hours - still very cool. The sides of the platform are not hot. It's the underneath portion that is accessible from the arched doorway in back of the oven where I store wood (actually there is oyster shell there at the moment). I've not shot this with my IR thermometer but I will.
Are you talking about the curing process? These modular ovens clear in less than half an hour when insulated, where no heat will seep through the floor.

Good lessons learned so far, especially lesson 5.
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Old 08-25-2014, 03:44 PM
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Default Re: CASA2G 100 build start to almost finish

Hi V12 Spirit,

Thanks for the comments.. Yes, during regular firing I will see a little heat loss under the oven. The bottom of the cement platform - under the fire brick, below the insulation and below 7 inches of concrete - will get warm, not hot.

My oven clears in about 40 minutes, unless I load it with wood. I do have two hairline cracks in the firebrick floor so I prefer to heat it up a bit more slowly these days. I don't notice any performance degradation with the cracks though. They are tighter than the seams between the fire brick and much shorter in length.

Forgot one lesson learned - and happy to say I did have to learn this lesson the hard way:

Ensure the firebrick floor that makes up your second row back from the oven opening is at or below the height of the first brick. Always best to make everything even, of course. If the second fire brick is even a hair higher, the peel will hit it as you slide it - in every time.

John
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Old 08-25-2014, 04:07 PM
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Default Re: CASA2G 100 build - What it looks like today

Here's some recent shots of the oven. I had a local guy fabricate some cement counters that are working great. We do freeze here near Seattle and going with anything ceramic I hear is dicey. There's an unplumbed sink that we use as an ice bucket for wine that is very useful. I could have gone with granite for about the same price, or did it myself but chose to go with this. I like the color -we're from SoCal and it reminds me of the Saltillo and terracotta tiles we had at our old house.

Next phase is tiling the dome and platform the oven sits on. I have a few samples - leaning toward a hexagon marble that is an off white. Looks white to me but the wife says it's not. Again, stone is OK when it freezes I am told.

Any suggestions on mortar? The mortar I have on there now is rough so anything should stick. I was going to wet is down a bit and apply the hexagon tiles. I've read pros and cons on waterproof versus non-waterproof mortar. This oven is outside and uncovered. Anyone have any thoughts?

I do have a case of Liquid Nails in the garage - just throwing that out there if it's an option. That may have just demonstrated my novice status as a tiler but I thought I'd check.

Here's the pics, note the rear arches where wood is stored. You can see the hairline cracks in the pizza picture. Last picture has the bocce court in it - adds to the Italian vibe. And gives you something to do while you eat pizza and drink wine.
Attached Thumbnails
CASA2G 100 build start to almost finish-pizza32.jpg   CASA2G 100 build start to almost finish-pizza30.jpg   CASA2G 100 build start to almost finish-pizza31.jpg   CASA2G 100 build start to almost finish-pizza33.jpg   CASA2G 100 build start to almost finish-pizza37.jpg  

CASA2G 100 build start to almost finish-pizza36.jpg  
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