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Casa 100 Progress Photos & Story (Sacramento, CA) - Forno Bravo Forum: The Wood-Fired Oven Community


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Casa 100 Progress Photos & Story (Sacramento, CA)

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  • Casa 100 Progress Photos & Story (Sacramento, CA)

    Greetings Wood-Fired World! I?ve been lurking in these forums for over a year now, and have gotten a lot of great information that has helped me along the way. I figured it was time to post some pics and share my story. We included the WFO as part of an overall outdoor kitchen project, and I?ve done all the work myself. Our main goal was to be able to make pizzas, and we settled on the Casa2G100 as the ?just right? oven for us.

    I had initially planned on building a CMU stand per the FB installation guide, but ended up switching to a reinforced concrete stand design. I figured that way I could tie it into the patio slab easier, get exactly the dimensions I wanted, and be able to do a nice arch for the opening that matched the oven arch, and probably even do it in less time. So the stand walls and top slab are all 6?, with 1/2? rebar at 18? O.C. in the walls and 12? O.C. in the top. I also dug out space around the bottoms of the walls to form a footing.

    The photos below show the stand construction, starting with the forms built from 2x12?s (and plenty of 2x4 kickers to hold them together -- didn?t want to take a chance on blowing out a wall!). The day after the concrete pour, I stripped the forms and found 3 of my kids? (still missing one other kid somewhere, but ah well.)

  • #2
    Re: Casa 100 Progress Photos & Story (Sacramento, CA)

    The second story shot shows the stand a few weeks later, after the patio was poured around it. The inside of the stand was sloped forward so no water would accumulate in it, of course. When the oven was delivered, the delivery guy said he wasn't allowed to come any farther than the driveway. I tried to bribe him to bring it around back, but he wouldn't. So I finally talked him into letting me use his lift and I took it back myself to put it next to the stand. That was definitely worth it!

    I unpacked the crate, and everything looked good, nothing broken. Pretty neat the way they pack it all in there. Once I started putting it together, I noticed one of the oven wall pieces had a chunk missing at the top where it looked like the form just didn't get filled completely at the factory, but after e-mailing a pic to FB, they assured me it would be fine, that the cap + the mortar would cover it up since there was nothing missing on the inside surface.


    • #3
      Casa 100 - Oven Assembly

      The oven assembly begins? first up, centering the insulation board on the stand. I thought I might have to tack it down with some mortar, but it stayed in one place pretty well. I did find that I couldn't keep the gaps down between the insulation pieces very well, but putting a tie-down strap around them kept it manageable. I combed the sand out to level the oven floor pieces, and that went pretty well until I encountered a problem: for the life of me, I just couldn't get the front flat, level, and flush with the adjacent pieces. I kept messing with the sand under it until I finally realized the piece had a subtle warp to it. Another e-mail to FB, and they shipped me a replacement piece (2, actually). The new piece worked well, though it was cut to a slightly different shape that didn't match the front oven piece as well, but they said the gaps around the sides would fill with ash and it would be no problem. Alrighty then, onward?

      That notched trowel in the second pic is not the one I used (I used a 1/4 x 1/4), so I'm not sure what it was doing in the picture. Same goes for the screwdriver in the third picture -- I think it just snuck in there because it wanted to make it look like it was working.

      Had a buddy help me lift the wall pieces in place, then I set about sealing it up with the refractory mortar. I never did get the wall pieces as tight as I would have liked inside, but these things aren't meant to be perfect, I suppose, and they'll be expanding and contracting during use. So I just jockeyed them as best I could before putting the mortar on.

      By the way, the pieces of OSB from the shipping crate have sure been handy for temporary work surfaces and for protecting the patio. And I chopped up the 2x4s and figure they will make some nice kindling.


      • #4
        Casa 100 - Chimney, Insulation, and Diamond Mesh

        Chimney installation was pretty straightforward, just went to a fireplace store and got the caulking/adhesive, slopped it on there, and screwed the flange down with some Tapcons. It's worth taking the time to make sure everything's centered on the overall oven itself, not just the hole.

        Insulation was also pretty easy. They provide enough for three wraps around the whole oven, with some left over. I put another layer on the top of the oven, and also used a piece to wrap around the flue. After looking at lots of pictures of other folks' installations, I decided I didn't like the bare metal flue look, so I wanted to cover ours to match the rest of the oven. I didn't know how hot the flue would get, but why not insulate to reduce any thermal stress on the stucco, right? I like the picture of the final insulation at night, as it looks like snow.

        I doweled and epoxied two pieces of 1/2" rebar into the stand, to give some definitive shape to the dome and to keep the whole damn oven from sliding off in an earthquake (or a wild pizza party!). We don't get quakes in Sacramento like our neighbors in San Francisco, but I remember Loma Prieta in '89 giving us a little nudge.

        Forming the diamond mesh took a lot of time. It's not easy covering a spherical surface with something flat, but I just figured I'd get it close, Frankenstein-style, and let the stucco make up the difference. In hindsight, I wish I'd made the stand a little wider to accommodate the variability of the mesh and put one more bar across the middle, but no biggee. Good leather gloves are indispensible at this point, btw. Don't ask me how I came to realize that.

        We had concrete countertops made for the kitchen, and I had given them two templates I'd cut out of plywood for the oven landing and front arch piece. We attached them using only silicon -- and it's still standing so far! One thing I decided to do that I haven't seen anybody else do was put some flashing in front behind the arch piece. It went under the diamond mesh and over the insulation, down to the front of the oven. I figured that way the water that makes it down behind the front piece will not make it into the insulation.

        You'll notice two tiles stuck in the gap between the landing concrete piece and the oven floor... I just put those in to provide the proper spacing for the landing, as when I do the finish tile work I will install bullnose tiles all across that front space. Will I regret not having the oven landing flush with the oven floor? I dunno, but I figured it would be OK, and it's too late to worry about it now.


        • #5
          Casa 100 - Stucco

          After spending the winter under a tarp, it was stucco time! (The oven was under the tarp, not me.) Got the wife to help me with the scratch coat, as it was my first time stuccoing and I was worried about it setting up before I could get it all in place. It went pretty well, though I scratched it too deeply in places. I should have fixed it then, as I ended up having to scrape some of the droopy ridges off before the second coat. We used the scratch/brown coat stucco mix from Home Depot, with the fiber reinforcement. I think it ended up being about 2 bags for each coat.

          I was really glad I put that rebar in to define the dome shape. You can see in the pictures how the mesh kind of collapsed between the bars. I ended up filling those in a couple days later with a "scratch patch", another lift of stucco, so that the brown coat wouldn't have to be too thick there. In hindsight, I thought maybe I should have tried to force the mesh back up (convex instead of concave) while the stucco was wet, but it worked out OK. You can also see in the pictures I'm following one very important rule: good stucco starts with good hair.

          There were a couple inches of airspace on the top, and I filled it as best I could with vermiculite before sealing it up. The bag ripped and a bunch spilled down the side of the fresh stucco, and I just left it stuck on the surface (you can see it in one of the pictures). I know there are still air gaps between the stucco and the insulation in spots, but the insulation is compressible and should keep them from heating up, so I don't have to worry about it turning into a bomb like back in junior high ceramics class!

          The brown coat was fun, working to get the shape as shapely as possible by plopping little bits here and there and blending them in. The chimney was a major headache, though… I think it was just too thick from adding bits here and there to try to straighten and smooth it out. I should have just started over with a thinner coat, as it kept falling off in spots when I messed with it. I had everything as wet as I dared make it, so it was sticky enough, just too heavy. In the end, I just stopped touching it, and put some scratches in one side where I'll add a patch to straighten the worst of it out.


          • #6
            Casa 100 - Mo Stucco

            I roughened the overall surface, though the southern side set up quicker and I was later than I should have been to start roughening it up, but it still worked decently. Just didn't get the nice smooth additional shaping that I did on the other side.

            It's been perfect stucco weather, cool and cloudy, and now it's raining a lot so we're getting great hydration while the stucco cures. I even spray it down if it goes for a half-day with no rain. I've seen two cracks in the chimney, but none on the dome so far (after 3 days of curing). So fun to see it really close to its final shape!! In the coming months I'll be putting a finish coat on, probably SBC, to make it more watertight. And after that, whenever I get around to finishing the rest of the outdoor kitchen, I'll be tiling the outside of the oven and stand with some crazy tile design.

            Oh, and I'll be curing the oven so I can make some pies. I gotta remember, there was a point to this whole project! ( :
            Last edited by NoFrets; 03-25-2011, 06:25 AM.


            • #7
              Re: Casa 100 Progress Photos & Story (Sacramento, CA)

              Nice work Nofrets,

              Your poured stand came out really well, I like the arched wood store. And I really like the way you stuccoed right up to the top of chimney. We were at a friend's house last weekend, and they did the same thing with a Casa2G90. It looks really finished that way and a little more rustic (pre-steel chimney).

              Time for some great food!

              Pizza Ovens
              Outdoor Fireplaces


              • #8
                Re: Casa 100 Progress Photos & Story (Sacramento, CA)

                Thanks, James! Yeah, I'm digging the stucco chimney too.

                I'm starting to plan how I'm going to do the tile work now, and I kind of wish I'd made the stand just a couple inches wider. I want to put some quarter-rounds around the top of the stand (basically the sides, and back corners), but I'll have to build the stand sides out a bit to do it. So I'm thinking I'll attach cement board to the sides, which will give me a much better tiling surface anyway.


                • #9
                  All systems go for Pizza #1

                  I've been building progressively hotter fires all week to cure the oven. Tonight I got the inside of the dome over 1000 deg F, so all the masonry should be completely cured now. It's given me an excuse to chop wood again, something I've loved since I was a kid. ( :

                  It's interesting to note that there has been zero steam during the curing fires this week. I think the fact that this project was spread out over a long time really helped all the masonry cure the way it's supposed to. Patience is a WFO virtue.

                  I dropped in some tiles I grabbed at Home Depot today just to add a little temporary color to the front. Who knows when I'll be able to get all the finish tile work done on the outside of the stand and oven (next year, if not this year), but it's time to start cooking!

                  Tomorrow is pizza... my daughter and I made the dough tonight and it's rising in the fridge. Sunday I'm planning on roasting a chicken with the residual heat left over from Saturday. We'll see how that goes.

                  I was a little worried about the chimney height during all the building, with it being the minimum recommended (2'), but it's been great, drawing nearly all the smoke and keeping the front clear.


                  • #10
                    Re: Casa 100 Progress Photos & Story (Sacramento, CA)

                    Very nice! I really like the concrete front face and landing.

                    My 34" WFO build

                    Weber 22-OTG / Ugly Drum Smoker / 34" WFO


                    • #11
                      Re: Casa 100 Progress Photos & Story (Sacramento, CA)

                      Thanks, George!


                      • #12
                        Pizza Bliss

                        Everything went great with our first pizza night! All I can is, wow!! The family just raved about every pizza, and we had so much fun. Definitely some lessons learned, but all in all, all the planning and research paid off as it went pretty smoothly.

                        From lighting the fire to oven being ready for baking with the floor ~750 deg took right around 80 minutes.

                        I started a little notebook, and am going to end up keeping a pizza diary to keep notes in, and let guests sign, etc.

                        Can't say enough good things about this FB Casa oven. It's made our pizza dreams come true!

                        After a 42-deg night last night, about 12 hours after I shut the oven door for the night, the pizza oven floor is still about 450 deg. Tonight I'm going to roast a chicken out there, and it will be interesting to see how much faster the oven comes up to temperature.


                        • #13
                          Re: Casa 100 Progress Photos & Story (Sacramento, CA)

                          Great job!

                          It all looks like it is coming together very well. It is good to hear how the first pizza came out and that everyone enjoyed the experience. I'm looking forward to getting to that point.



                          • #14
                            Re: Casa 100 Progress Photos & Story (Sacramento, CA)

                            Thanks, Brian -- it's all worth it! It's been a lot of work and completely worth every bit. Good luck, and enjoy!


                            • #15
                              Re: Casa 100 Progress Photos & Story (Sacramento, CA)

                              So tonight, one day after the first pizza firing, I fired it up again and roasted a chicken in a pan. I wish I had a V-rack to turn the chicken better and get more even browning, but it still came out really nicely and everyone loved it.

                              The big lesson learned tonight was that this oven really holds its heat from the previous night. I built a pretty decent-sized fire and completely overheated it... I ended up having to take a couple logs out. I'd say that maybe I ended up using just 6 logs for the firing tonight.