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Need to mortar inside?

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  • Need to mortar inside?

    I'm building a 36" Pompeii with the help of a concrete/mason guy who built our patio and has done rock work for us. This is new territory for both of us. I'm doing the research and he's doing the concrete and brick work. Once that's done, I'll finish the dome insulation, etc. Right now we are on the 5th course. He has been putting the bricks very closely together (since he's skilled with angles and cutting, that has not been hard for him.)

    My question is: since the bricks fit fairly tightly on the inside of the oven, he is putting mortar only on the outside. There are a few places (inside) with small gaps about 1/4" wide with no mortar until about 1/2" - 3/4" back. Is this okay, or should we be packing mortar in from the inside also? Once he finishes packing it in from the outside, it will be very solid. Any reason the cracks and openings facing the inside can't be left like that? It all looks nice, so I'm not worried about the aesthetics.

    A second question is should the 1/2" thermal break in the floor be at the back of the arched entry, or at the front between the arched entry and the hearth? The hearth will be very narrow since I'm 5'2" and want to make sure I can reach inside the oven to build a fire.