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Question for those with Brick Experience - Forno Bravo Forum: The Wood-Fired Oven Community


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Question for those with Brick Experience

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  • Question for those with Brick Experience

    For my dome enclosure (to make it weather tight) I am going to use simple red bricks. I will be building a brick wall about 30" high and the longets stretch will be about 66". Do I need to double up the course for streth or add and thing behid it for strength?
    Has anyone done something like this?


  • #2
    Brick enclosure

    I've done a lot of masonry work over the years, so this response has some experience behind it. A single course of brick will not be strong or stable enough to support any sort of roof; too much outward pressure for that.

    Standard operating procedure is to build 4 inch block walls on top of your 8 inch foundation walls. Figure in the width of the finish brick, plus half an inch for finger room behind when you're laying them. When the 4 inch are laid up, lots of brick ties are added to the joints to hold the facade brick. Of course , you could build something similar with two layers of brick, but this would be more expensive, tedious and time consuming to do, and you'd still need the brick ties (in the old days, they used iron nails!!). Think of the space between the blocks and the bricks as insulation, too. Don't forget to drill drainage holes in the cement joints on the bottom course of bricks, or leave every fourth vertical joint open. Otherwise, you will probably experience condensation problems between the block and brick.

    The facade of my oven does not even get warm, except for directly in front of the chimney, and this doesn't ever get hot to the touch, even at hearth temps in the 1000 F range.

    Don't know what sort of roof you plan, but mine is a standard pitched, house type roof, so I mortared in J bolts in the top course of 4 inch to secure wooden plates, then built trusses in the usual way. You'll get a better idea from the pics on my web site, www.marygbread.com. This particuar style was chosen to complement my 1856 house and the village architecture that surrounds it.

    It's a very good idea to plan the enclosure carefully, because you will run into fit and measurement problems if you don't. Standard facade brick joints are 3/8 inch. Knowing this, you can make up four temporary 4x4 wooden corner posts (plumb), attach them to the 4 inch block and the slab (temporarily), then mark out the exact position of each brick course, plus the joint size. There are bricklaying measuring tapes available for this. You'll need a string line, a line level and corner blocks for the string, all available from a masonry supplier.

    Sounds complicated, but it ain't.

    "Made are tools, and born are hands"--William Blake, 1757-1827


    • #3
      One more thing

      Oops, should have said. For the mortar, I'd use Type S and brick sand, three sand to one mortar. Type S has better "stick" and is more resistant to weather than straight Portland. Don't forget to buy a 3/8 inch pointing trowel to finish your joints once the mortar has set up but before it dries completely. This depends on humiditity and temp, but ordinarily around an hour or so. You want the joints to shine slightly when you're finished, because you've drawn water from inside the joint to the surface. Do this for appearance and also strength. Push in bits of dryish mortar if you have any gaps, and when your're completely finished, use a brush in the mortar lines to take off any clingy bits and take the shine off the joints.

      "Made are tools, and born are hands"--William Blake, 1757-1827


      • #4
        follow up question

        Thanks Jim,

        I didn't plan far enough ahead for my enclosure. I was not planning on doing a brick enclosure but my neighbor is pulling out a lot of the red bricks and I am the beneficiary.
        I don't have enough room on my stand/hearth to do 4 inch brick behind then the red brick in front (I think that is what you were saying.) Would it work if I did a single wall of the red brick BUT built expanded "pillars" using the red brick and that would rest my roof supports Which I plan to do something like your oven has?

        Thanks for your help it is greatly appreciated!


        • #5

          I suppose pillars would work, so long as you were conscious when building them that they must be strong. Consider a central cavity, not that large, with rebar, then filled with mortar. Should work.

          "Made are tools, and born are hands"--William Blake, 1757-1827


          • #6
            One More Question

            Thanks Jim and sorry 1 more Question

            The front of my enclosure is going to tie into the front of my of near the opening. Do I need to use refractory cement there or will std motar be ok?

            Thanks again for the help..your breads look great!


            • #7

              You could, but I don't think you need it, long as that section it is not directly exposed to flame. Think of all those fireplace chimneys mortared up with a standard mix.

              "Made are tools, and born are hands"--William Blake, 1757-1827