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Rocko's Build Log - Forno Bravo Forum: The Wood-Fired Oven Community


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  • #46

    glad you are making progress. I wouldn't use treated lumber anywhere. Use metal studs or blocks and put whatever veneer on that that you like (tile, wood, stone, etc.) I covered with cedar and made stone countertops with metal framing. As far as a toekick, i did something similar. I used flagstone that i cut as the "kick" material and gained roughly 1". you could stack and get more if you like. Much easier than concrete. Cut it with a circular saw or 4" grinder and use thinset to mount.
    Texman Kitchen


    • #47
      My wife seems to have given in to using thin cement blocks. The folks at MPI here let me know I'm fine with using them for the base so long as I get some support across the longer spans for the counters and use mortar. I'm somewhat familiar with using mortar as an amateur from my previous oven but I really do suck at it. Fortunately, I have learned the trick of using 3/8" slingshot ball bearings as spacers. Now I have training wheels!

      I'm starting to get stubborn about wanting to do some extra concrete because it'll level everything, and it gives me one more chance to reroute all my pipes and conduit. They're kind of in bad spots right now.


      • #48
        More scheming! See attached: Outdoor Kitchen Layout 20170514.pdf. That is some scheming I have been drawing, although I'd rather not call it a "schematic" per se.

        The intent was to use 4x16x8 blocks, but that gets tricky around the sink. I drew a top view there to think about it. I think there I have to switch over to 2" something-or-another to have enough clearance for a sink and faucet. This prompted looking up alternatives for the rest of the kitchen beyond the pizza oven--which will still be built from 8x16x8 filled concrete blocks.

        First, metal studs. It sounds like these will rust as soon as I cut them. Is there some method or technique to reduce the issues with this? I don't want this whole thing falling apart in 15 years or something.

        Second is concrete panels. It looks like 2" concrete panels is a thing. Are these readily accessible? Are they fairly easy to cut with something like a circular saw? Will they work?

        I hope the PDF provides some inside into what we're trying to do. Some confounding factors:
        1. The placement of pipes are based on an old scheme, and the concrete crew also shifted them around, so they are not in their ideal positions. I am thinking after casting some concrete for a water barrier--to solve their screwup with the drainage. I can use that moment reroute everything under the forms.
        2. I am factoring a 1" lip for some tip on the base of the cabinet.
        3. The pizza oven does pop out the front with a curve. I should draw it but I haven't yet.
        4. There are basically three segments, with one segment per page. Page 2 has the pizza oven segment, and that is what we can see from the back door. Page 1 is left of it and about 30-40 degrees rotates CCW. Page 3 is to the right of the pizza oven would be built rotated 50-60 degrees CW from it.
        5. I have a dedicated 110VAC line for water that can run that heater. I have a second circuit for whatever I want, and finally another circuit switched from the house for lighting.
        6. We're assuming counter height will be 36" There is some tension with the fridge being as tall as it is here. Granite is fine, but if I'm going > 1" for a concrete countertop, then I am raising my counter height further and out of comfortable range.
        7. Page 1 has water running right at it, and will likely have a slight slant in it. Wife doesn't want to set up means for water to drain through/under the cabinets.
        8. Page 3 has a downward grade going right to left.
        9. I have to deal with what happens if I want to make all counters level to each other. Having the pizza oven elevated would give me a visual break for likely having the counter in page 3 raise a little bit higher to level off the grade.

        I'll end up asking around (paging tscarborough!) at MPI and other shops if I must to figure out the metal stud/concrete panel situation tomorrow. I was otherwise hoping to calculate and order all my stuff this week--including all the appliances. No pressure!


        • #49
          that is a very aggressive kitchen with all the bells and whistles. It will be very nice, but also challenging. The metal studs are galvanized and will be totally enclosed in whatever veneer you decide on. Dont worry about rust. For your design, i dont see any other way to easily do this other than metal studs. They are easy to work with, sturdy and infinitely adaptable to design and can be cut to compensate for slabs that slope to achieve level surfaces. Your stainless and appliance bill is gonna hurt, but you will be able to enjoy them forever. You could conceivably do a 1" concrete counter, but i would go granite instead or other stone. Concrete needs 2" at least i think.

          I would mark all this plan out on your slab and mark where each appliance and drawer and drain footprint is and start framing it once you have the exact dimensions of the inserts. Also, since your kitchen is not covered, i would use a waterproof material to keep the metal from direct slab contact. I would use the synthetic decking where it will be hidden and stone for the perimeter of the cabinets.

          all the decisions about counter height etc are give and take just like inside the house. if you need some pics to of what i did let me know.
          Texman Kitchen


          • #50
            We settled on using pressure treated pine for the bones for the rest of the kitchen and then Hardie products to fill it out. My wife was just not inspired by metal studs. That being said, I have a few weeks before jumping into the rest of the kitchen. The masonry for the pizza oven showed up yesterday, so I will start tackling that. The only things I really need to commit right now are where conduit and pipe are coming out because I can shuffle them around in the extra 3" of concrete I'm pouring for the base.

            My neighbors were originally really interested in the whole thing. We'll see how interested they are because I could really use a pickup truck run or two for some plywood this weekend.


            • #51
              Well here's where I'm at. I'm just waiting for a good contiguous 24-hour span in which I can cast the booster of concrete. Keeping the form in place on top of the existing concrete is kind of a pain. I drilled in the forms in reverse, tied string to the screw, and tucked the string under the pavers. That gives it a bit of tension so it doesn't go all over the place from a stray kick or something. I also figured out that not only does it not drain on the grade I had originally wanted, but it kind of wants to go the other way. So I cut half a PVC pipe and tucked it in there would the water would pool so it could flew through the booster out the back. Finally, I figured out that the original form bent at a bad spot so I need to actually drop down some extra concrete for a small section. You can kind of see that in the middle.

              I guess on the bright side that this gave me a chance to move the water lines exactly where I want them.


              • #52
                you could just lay a row of bricks on the perimeter and level with the mortar. That is a lot of work.
                Texman Kitchen


                • #53
                  I had a few considerations:
                  1. Being able to get a good level for the pizza oven from the get-go instead of fussing with it.
                  2. Being able to install a half-PVC pipe chute with something cast around it.
                  3. (a reason not to just do the perimeter) I didn't want water from the sink or water heater to pool inside.
                  4. The pipes were in bad spots, so I got a shot at rearranging them one more time.
                  5. Part of the original slap turned inwards at a bad spot for maintaining the shape I wanted, so dropping concrete to fill that was likely in the cards anyways.

                  In retrospect, the framing work definitely took more time. I think at least I'll be about to pour today. It's indeed a lot of work, but I already have the pallet of concrete and a mixer, so I'm ready to go.


                  • #54
                    I have been pretty busy. We poured the booster slab a few weeks ago. I kept it covered in painter's tarp and gave it a spritz every once in a bit over the course of a week. When I broke it free, it looked pretty good! I could have done a better job cramming concrete down into the corners. Fortunately, nobody should see any of this by the time I'm done. Note that I tucked a half section of 2" pipe in there at the low point. Fortunately, that does drain! Some water will pool along the front of that kick, but it is now manageable.

                    I wasn't sure if I had the balls to lay all the block, so I bought some. I got 3/8" stainless steel slingshot ammo to tuck under the blocks to make sure I got my 3/8" height. I'd still have to tweak things to make sure I was level. You'll notice a lip on the left side that I did to compensate for some stuff, for example. That's okay since it'll vanish when I pour out the curves for the front. That's going to suck.

                    I did two layers of 8" block, one layer of 4", one layer of 2", and then a final layer of 8". Due to the booster, my height was coming out all strange. My goal is to get something like a 38" counter height. In retrospect, I probably could have used 8" block all the way. My dilemma now is whether to pour all the way up to 38" or just to 36" and let my final counter top wrap around the base of the dome. The arrangement of the layers was something tscarborough recommended. The idea then is to pour concrete into some of the 8" blocks so it bonds to the wall, but they all don't need it.

                    It's getting to 100F here now and the mosquitos are out in force in the evening, so I'm really limited on when I can work on this without destroying myself. I do have an old kit for building out a cold frame out of pipes that I am thinking of using to build myself a canopy so I have shade. This whole area is unshaded at noon, and barely shaded in the morning. It's not until the evening that it's well-covered, but then I'm mosquito food. I have to figure something out there because I planned to do most of my work in the evenings.

                    Also, yes, I'm a slob with my mortar. I've used something like 2.5x the amount a professional would use, and I'll have to go chipping some of it off before I'm done. I do plan to cover it up with stucco though so meh.


                    • #55
                      I got the last blocks in place overnight. I have figured out that the mosquitos go into hiding once the bats are out. That means I'm working in the dark, but I have an LED shop light set that blasts light like nobody's business. I now have to figure out what my height is right now, establish my counter height, and then form out the curved front sections.

                      What I am going to try to do is use these .18" plywood sheets I found at Lowes for the curves. At that thickness, they are still rather stubborn, so I am going to score them and see if that gives me a little more play. To cap them, I will screw them to some of the 2" concrete caps I haven't used yet. I'll just do one on its side first to get started, mortar that in, and fill in that layer before dropping a second one on top. I think.


                      • #56
                        I finished the blocks earlier in the week, and then determined that the current height of the blocks + oven slab would be me a little high for what I want for counter height. So I did some fuzzy math and figured out the whole thing needed roughly a 1" haircut.

                        I got a 7" diamond blade for my Harbor Freight circular saw and proceeded to destroy it. It was a good saw that put in over a decade of service, so I cannot complain. I got diverted trying to find a replacement. I got this impression that the saws they had at Lowes/Home Depot all have their quirky flaws, and I should pay the extra $30 at a real place. However, the real places didn't have anything else! I ended up getting a 7" grinder from Harbor Freight out of protest. That let me finish cutting, but I am left with a bunch of chunks that I couldn't reach with the saw. I'm going to just deal with it when it comes to the counters.

                        Today I managed to frame and build one side of the curved front. This was a huge ordeal. I couldn't manage to bend my plywood enough to make the inside curved too so it's straight. The outside was indeed an adventure. Lining up all the pieces and getting the cuts proper took most of the day. I then nonchalantly heaved about 3 and a half bags of maximizer concrete into it and that was that. It has rebar in it too BTW. I still have to do the other side, but it should be much quicker to frame now that I learned some tricks.

                        I have some pictures of all this I will post eventually. I don't think the picture of the spirit leaving the back of the circular saw came out though. I kind of want to Photoshop a funerary thing for it in loving memory. I still also have to try to order a "real" saw online.


                        • #57
                          I'll be casting the base tonight. I am under the impression I really only need 3" of concrete, which I hope I will end up doing with my forms being a little over 3 inches, but my hardipanel is eating up some of that thickness. Also, I got 1/2" rebar horizontally and 3/8" vertically. I would normally be happy with the additional reinforcement, but I understand that when it comes to counters, there's an idea of there being too much of a good thing.

                          You will see a notch in each cast section. I did that so I could pour concrete into there when making the base; I wanted to give it something to grab.

                          I'd like to give mad props to the Bosch Bulldog supreme because it really helped me clean up with a chisel bit, and also drilled through the concrete blocks like nothing so that I could mount my forms. It goes through concrete block faster than the regular drills I've used go through pine. I'm not exaggerating here.


                          • #58
                            I feel a need to link this thread here for safekeeping:


                            I have the hardest time finding that, and I'm getting close to the brick cutting.


                            • #59
                              I did the perlcrete base layer overnight.

                              The outer frame looks crooked and it is in the front, but the inner frame supports everything correctly.

                              I went for a 1:8 perlcrete mix augmented with some stucco reinforcing fibers and a quick spurt of dish soap. The dish soap thing was based on a tangent from: http://www.perlite.com/concretemixdesigns.PDF

                              They recommended an air entraining agent, but I was using type I cement rather than IA so I tried to look up what to do. Apparently the poor man's solution is to use a teaspoon of dish soap. I guess the normal reason to use an air entraining agent is to survive freeze-thaw cycles in Yankeeland. That's not really my problem, but the goal in this case is to maintain some porosity and keep the insulative value high.

                              This is my second rodeo when it comes to perlcrete but I think this is the first time I did it correctly. You can see how rough and puffy it all is. It looks a lot more like what I have seen in other people's pictures when they use perlcrete. I think for my first oven that I overmixed the snot out of it. It came out very smooth back then even though IIRC I was using the same ratio.

                              I did wear a breathing mask but it was generally easier going with a cement mixer. What I found worked best was to get the cement hydrated with my augmentations, sacrifice a little bit of perlite to overmixing, and then dumping in the rest.

                              The end result unfortunately is a little too tall. I am thinking when I measured for my height that I had slumped my shoulders forward, so they were a little higher than they should be. I have been playing with computers since I was 10 years old and work in that profession, so I have frozen my shoulders in a bad way like this. I finally figured out a few years back that when people told me to lower my shoulders that it really meant pulling them back. So I did that and suddenly I'm off an inch or so. So I likely will have to go in and bop out some of that perlcrete when I do the floor. I'm not happy about it but I'll just have to make it work.

                              I'm preparing my brick cutting jig now and figuring out if I want to also cut the taper. Doing taper on the saw means doing a total of 5 cuts per brick instead of 3, but it also means zero fuss when laying the brick. I'm getting fed up being out in the sun/mosquitoland trying to lay these bricks, and I doubt my skills to do it in the dark after 10PM. So I'm likely to cut a bunch of bricks in bulk with the taper built in. I think this screws up using the dome spreadsheet calculator, so this comes with some other implications. I'd also probably want to build a separate jig for doing taper. It might still be easier to just fudge it with the refractory cement.


                              • #60
                                Are you sure it's too high? Your base didn't look that high... It might be worth stacking some bricks on there and playing with a peel or rake just to see how it feels. Mine also turned out quite high and I thought I'd made a mistake but it's more comfortable not having to bend over to check the fire and working it at elbow height or thereabouts... just a thought.