Old 07-03-2011, 09:43 PM
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Virginia
Posts: 6
Talking Chestnut's 42" soapstone oven & rumford

Hi Everyone,
Thanks for such a great resource! This forum has given me the courage to try my hand at building a pizza oven (and a fireplace). I am building this onto my garage where I have transformed an old gravel drive (weedtrap) into a lovely patio. The majority of my oven dome will be built into a garage bay with the front only protruding about 2 feet out from the wall. I am going to build a 36" rumford fireplace next to my oven and will build a double flue chimney to accommodate them both.

I am at the point now where I have just framed for the concrete floor and will be doing the pour tomorrow morning if the weather holds. I am going to be building my oven out of soapstone which is very heavy, so I have put a block wall in the center of my stand and will be pouring the concrete floor to 5.5" thick instead of the 3.5 recommended.

I picked up a large bag (350 lbs) of vermiculite last week at Virginia Vermiculite. Check out the size of that "pouch" in the back of my truck! This should take care of my needs for this project with some left over for the garden.

I am getting soapstone from a local quarry and should have enough for the oven and fireplace at this point (I've made a few more runs since taking the attached picture).

I was thinking about doing a soapstone veneer on the outside of this structure as well but recently paid a visit to Frasier Quarry in Harrisonburg (Limestone). I think I am sold on their Stonewall Grey Frazier Quarry: History of Stonewall Grey: The Valley as an exterior veneer although I still might use the soapstone for the chimney (with a liner).

Wish me luck on my pour tomorrow, my wife and I are going to be mixing and pouring individually, 60 lbs at a time.

The pic of the fountain was last years project and is positioned next to where the oven and fireplace is going. It was a find on ebay from Pennsylvania. I built the catchment basin out of the same soapstone I am using for the oven and fireplace. The Fountain itself is 100-300 years old and was hand crafted from sandstone by a Hessian immigrant. Hopefully my finished project will not have too many different types of stone.
Attached Thumbnails
Chestnut's 42" soapstone oven & rumford-20110617_195017.jpg   Chestnut's 42" soapstone oven & rumford-20110617_195214.jpg   Chestnut's 42" soapstone oven & rumford-20110617_195256.jpg   Chestnut's 42" soapstone oven & rumford-20110617_195104.jpg  
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Old 07-04-2011, 02:55 PM
GianniFocaccia's Avatar
Il Pizzaiolo
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Disneyland, CA
Posts: 1,610
Default Re: Chestnut's 42" soapstone oven & rumford


Welcome and thanks for sharing your plans on yet another groundbreaking oven design. I am most interested to watch your build. Do you have your plans drawn up yet?

Now that's a bag of vermiculite!

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Old 07-04-2011, 03:08 PM
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Virginia
Posts: 6
Smile Re: Chestnut's 42" soapstone oven & rumford

My wife and I were able to pour the slab this morning. It came out pretty good I think (although I haven't taken down the form yet. How long do I need to keep the stilts and platform under the floor?

I started cutting brick from my scrap soapstone rubble. I am going to use the thinner stuff (1.25" thick) and remnants from the bigger stuff to do a thin herringbone for the fireplace floor, walls, and back.

Next step is pouring the vermiculite crete. I believe that I have read that you want 4" of this stuff. Is there any reason not to go thicker? I'm thinking about 6" as it will bring the floor up so I don't have to bend down to slide the pizzas in and out (plus the extra insulation can't hurt).

John, Thanks for the welcome. I haven't drawn up any plans at this point. I have been reading through the forum and have been saving pictures of my favorites though.
Attached Thumbnails
Chestnut's 42" soapstone oven & rumford-20110704_140623.jpg   Chestnut's 42" soapstone oven & rumford-20110704_140541.jpg   Chestnut's 42" soapstone oven & rumford-20110704_112626.jpg   Chestnut's 42" soapstone oven & rumford-20110704_134002.jpg  
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Old 06-18-2012, 07:36 AM
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Virginia
Posts: 6
Default Re: Chestnut's 42" soapstone oven & rumford

Wow, just looked at the date of my last post, it has been a while since I last worked on this oven! To many projects and vacations I guess. I just returned from 3 weeks in southern italy eating wood fired pizza, so this oven project now has priority again . My wife and I poured our insulating pad and finished cutting our soapstone floor this weekend. I used a couple of my larger scrap pieces for a prime pizza cooking area.

I'm renewing my permit this week and inviting the inspector out to talk about clearances before I go any further. I'll post as I plow through this project.

Attached Thumbnails
Chestnut's 42" soapstone oven & rumford-dsc06960.jpg   Chestnut's 42" soapstone oven & rumford-dsc06964.jpg   Chestnut's 42" soapstone oven & rumford-dsc06965.jpg   Chestnut's 42" soapstone oven & rumford-dsc06966.jpg   Chestnut's 42" soapstone oven & rumford-dsc06967.jpg  

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Old 06-18-2012, 08:00 AM
UtahBeehiver's Avatar
Il Pizzaiolo
Join Date: May 2012
Location: Salt Lake City, Utah
Posts: 1,552
Default Re: Chestnut's 42" soapstone oven & rumford

Wow Doug,

How nice would it be to have access to all that surplus soapstone, would give my eye teeth to be able to put some in my oven. If you build is anything like the fountain than I will be really cool. Going to keep an eye on your build.

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