Timo's Oven...Because I can!

11 Jul, 2009

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...


Powered by LifeType