Timo's Oven...Because I can!

Ouchy Fingers

General — Posted by timo @ 01:26

As you can see from the picture, the spacing has to be just so when placing the half bricks of firebrick. The angle between the bricks determines the final shape of the oven dome. Too much space and it's too low, not enough and it balloons out at the top.


I went back and forth with the spacing for about two weeks until I settled on a piece of wooden trim used for an interior door. It just happen to have little ridges and the perfect spacing depth to make a 39 1/2" arch. As you can see, as I get to the top, the top most blocks will be completely upside down and almost level. That is the final keystone area.

Now before I ever get that far, I have to let my fingers heal. Seems the portland in the mortar wants to make your fingers disintergrate at the pressure points. So now I have tiny, painful holes in my fingers. So, I have learned my lesson and will always wear gloves when working with the mortar. It's just I took so long to finally get the spacing and the first two courses level that when I got to the first angled course, it really started to go quickly. And you know how you get when you get into a "flow".

So, yesterday I cut another35 whole bricks into 70 half bricks. I am now on my fourth wet saw blade. But to be honest, the last blade was a close out from ACE Hardware and was a cheapy for only $11. The latest one is much better and a full 4 1/2". Breaking through the rest of the brick is very easy after cutting through both sides of the brick.

Here's a mock up of the pizza peel and the first arch made with no mortar. It was too small, so I made it 2" wider and 1" higher. Looks like fun, doesn't it? That's a 13" pizza pan. The opening was a bit too small for working a fire and moving pizzas around.

Well, today it's suppose to storm, so I will try to scan some pages from the book, Bread Alone, by Dan Leader. The link takes you to the website for his bakery in New York. Learning how to make real Naples pizza and bake bread is a hobby that will last the rest of my life. And some nice benefits for family and friends, too. :)

6 Months Work in a Month

General — Posted by timo @ 04:14

This picture represents about 6 months of normal night and weekend available work time actually squeezed into one month. The inner arch was done first. Then the dome was built up and then the outer arch and vent opening was completed.

As you can see, the bricks take on the dome shape. The first three courses were the hardest. I had to level and place them just right to make the outer ring just right. As it turned out, after setting the first three rows the dome actually built itself. The laws of math and physics took over and there was really only one way to place the bricks. The hardest part was trying to get the offset from the lower course so there wouldn't be too many seams lining up, but that did happen quite a bit. I hope the overall integrity is such that it makes up for any seams.

This is the outer arch. The last top tapered brick had to be carefully tapped in with a rubber mallet. Luckily it displaced some mortar from the other joints, instead of moving the whole side of the arch. It may not look pleasing to the eye, but nobody will ever noticed it as I take out a steaming pizza. I actually took out the forms about an hour after laying the bricks, and set the flue tile on top of the arches and it was already strong, so I don't have any worries about its strength. Besides a decorative brick fascade goes over it, too. If you look closely you will see a small indentation on the inner arch. That's what they call a reveal. The reveal allows you to snug a door up to the inner arch to seal off the oven for breads, or roasting. But please never cut off a live fire! The door actually goes past the vent opening so you actually cut off the flue. With any luck all of the high tech insulation will keep the oven at 500 degrees for a day or two.

Well, as I mentioned, 6-months-of-work-in-a-month time has just about come to an end. As of July 19th, time is up and the rest will go very slowly. Luckily, if next week I get the dome closed in and the flue tile set, I can wrap the whole thing up in a tarp and leave it for the two weeks of vacation. That's two whole weeks of cure time. I have placed a lot of mortar into all those joints. So far I have used 1 1/2 bags of masonry cement, 1 1/2 bags of fireclay, 3 bags of sand and gallons and gallons of water.

All that water has to be driven out VERY SLOWLY! If it goes out to fast, it turns into steam, which has enough pressure to move mountains, it will explode the bricks and mortar joints. So, if I get the masonry work done by July 19th and let it sit, the curing fires will take place each day for 10 days right after we get back from vacation. In the mneatime I can put a decorative brick arch around the outside and fill the small landing area with brick, too. The rest gets a coating of stucco. But before any of the stucco goes on, I have to insulate the oven dome.


That's it for now. Hope it gets done next week...

Dome Done with Flue

General — Posted by timo @ 04:09

Here is the finished dome with flue. I have another 8x8" flue tile to set on top of this one in case I need more draft to draw the smoke up and out. I went in to clean up the rest of the mortar and that was not easy, but it's done. Now I'll let it sit for about three weeks to let the mortar harden. There are lots of other items left to do, but the biggest ones are now done.

That's all for now :)

First Fire

General — Posted by timo @ 14:48

Watch the video. It's all about my first fire. OK, it was just paper strips, but it's a huge step forward in getting to completion. Today I went over designing the oven door with Dennis and I think Steve at Wilson Steel and Railing will be able to make something. I just hope it doesn't get too expensive, maybe $50-60 and a few loaves of the best bread around.



Oven Door!

General — Posted by timo @ 15:08

I was able to get the basic layout of the door finished. I still have to drill a few more holes and attach the leaning guide at the bottom, but I think it looks great!

 The middle has 1" SuperIsol in it, so I think it will do a good job of insulating. The outer layers are 14 gauge 304 stainless steel held together with #10-24 stainless steel bolts and nuts. Very fun job!

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