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New Pompeii 42" oven build

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  • New Pompeii 42" oven build

    I have been a member of the forum since 2010 but finally had the time to start my WFO build. Started a few weeks ago when my son who had been working as a pool builder BC (before cov19) He came home and wanted to build our oven. We already had done the slab a couple of years ago when we poured a concrete patio out back. We built a concrete block stand, filled every other hole with rebar and concrete, poured our rebar reinforced 4" slab, let it cure for a week, built an IT, drilled weep holes, placed scrap pieces of Italian porcelain tile over a sand fireclay base, laid out the FB sheets and we just finished cutting and laying out our floor with 18x18x2 fire bricks (some were a bit warped so that took some time. We cut the bricks to size so we can place the dome on the FB, not on the oven floor. It was a challenge getting our floor level. The FB sheets we had were from two separate boxes and the thickness was different by 1/8." Had to use some sand clay mixture to get everything level. It's been a good experience so far. Look forward to getting started on the dome.
    Haz

  • #2
    Had to take a break because my son totaled his car after hitting a deer, his third one in 3 years. Also had a problem with the sand/fireclay mixture used to level everything. It kept getting on my wet bricks and messing up the level on my first course. I ended up using the Aussie method that I have seen where they put aluminum foil down over the fiberboard. What a good idea. The first reason to use it is to keep the fiberboard dry when building and the second reason (just as important) is to keep the sand where it belongs and not on the firebricks. In my experience, I couldn't get the refractory mortar to stick on the bricks without washing and wetting them first and keeping sand off them. I also never used mortar and had to find the right consistency. I have laid plenty of tile using thinset but the two are very different. I finally finished the first course today. Pictures to follow.

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    • #3
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      • #4
        Finally got some time to post pictures. It has been fun so far. No major mishaps but lots of time was spent looking up things on the forum prior to attempting the next step. I have just completed the oven arch with angled cuts. (that took some time figuring out the correct angle and position of the bricks) Now we are working to complete row 7 and tie it in to the arch and have started row 8. Thanks to all of the builders out there who have posted their own builds with great pics and videos on you tube. Couldn't have done it without your help.

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        • #5
          More Build Pictues

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          • #6

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            • #7
              You're doing a great job keeping everything clean. Having not started my dome yet, I'm curious why you didn't finish out the course at the inner arch before starting the next course?
              What comes easy won't last long, and what lasts long won't be easy.

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              • #8
                Hi Chris,

                Thank you. That is a very good question. It took me a while and a lot of reading and viewing pictures and build videos for me to understand how the arch and angle went together so I basically just started doing courses with my son when he was available and we actually got up to starting course 7 before finishing the complete arch and tying it in. It would have been better to do it the usual way. I did end up with a few bricks on course 7 being a bit crooked because my first course flared out about a 1/4" near the arch opening. That happened from a problem with my IT. I have a hearth floor of 18" square bricks. The a were so heavy and hard to level that I didn't want to remove one of them to get the IT installed at the floor level. I had to mount it on plywood and I thought I had it anchored well, but it sometimes moved up to an 1/8". It doesn't seem as if my dome is affected much by that except at the arch. The dome walls are very strong. It would have been better to use regular sized 4.5" x 2.5" x 9" bricks for the hearth as they were of better quality an I would have set them in a Herring bone pattern. Lesson learned.

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                • #9
                  I finished the dome 1 week ago, cleaned the bricks inside the dome and let it air dry for a week, put on the 3" of ceramic blanket insulation and yesterday put a halogen shop light in the oven. Got the temp up to about 95-105 for about 6 hours. Today started a small curing fire using charcoal briquets. It got the temp up to about 100F and I added a few small blocks of wood and that increased the top of the dome temp to 125-140F. for a few hours. I then put a temporary insulated door to keep the heat in as it was raining tonight. I will try a 150-200F fire tomorrow and gradually increase about 100 degrees each day after that. Any comments or suggestions on curing are welcome.

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                  • #10
                    nice tidy brick work. Just be patient and slow. One extra piece of wood can really spike the temp.
                    Russell
                    Google Photo Album [https://photos.google.com/share/AF1Q...JneXVXc3hVNHd3/]

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                    • #11
                      I started with small curing fires on an old aluminum sheet on top of old porcelain tiles. I found it was easier to start the fire outside of the oven and keep it small. Once we had hot embers, we put the tray into the oven, it was easy to add small sticks one at a time to achieve the desired flame height of about 12", the best height in my oven, which has a 20" central dome height. This allowed fine control of the temperature at the top of the dome. Even just 1 stick too many can cause the curing temperature to spike too high. Thanks to Utah beehiver for his advice in this regard.
                      Today we kept the temperature around 250-300F average. I had already installed the fiber blanket on my dome and there was a lot of moisture in the insulation after 3-4 hours of curing temps. This only occurred in the top of the dome about a 20" radius out from the center.

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                      • #12
                        amazing work!

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