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Production brick cutting

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  • Production brick cutting

    a member has proposed using a chalk line from the center of the oven/indespensible tool to mark the "cheeks" of the brick, as well as a side pop, to get the correct angle for the back of the brick that is attached to the previous ring, leaving the exposed face virgin (3 out of 4 sides are now cut to fit) and I would like to do it. I think you could measure one, then cut a bunch for that row, then measure one again for the next row, and make a bunch more like it. I think you could rent a 14 inch wet saw and do this quick rather than buy a 10 HF and turn the brick (like its just gonna take a lot longer that way). Maybe, you could do a row, then measure one, cut the one, then hot glue it up, just the one, then measure another, cut it, then hot glue again, measure the next and cut. Just to get the mass production going. What do you think?

  • #2
    Re: Production brick cutting

    Hey Tom, since you asked in a P.M.
    The Chalk will work and you might find that it works fine for production cutting, but if I had to do it all over and had a 14" saw, here is what I'd do.

    For a 42 inch oven, I'd bevel about 200 bricks by laying these bricks down on the 2.25 by 9 inch side with the 2.25 by 4.5 inch side facing the blade and cut a shim the full length of the brick, a half inch thick tapering down to 0 inches. The brick you end up with is 2.25 by 4.5 by 9 on one side and 1.75 by 4.5 by 9 on the opposing face, the waste piece will be about a 4 by 9 pie piece very ragged on the one edge.

    This difference defines the difference of the inside 1.75 and outside 2.25 inches in the dome bricks. Since the 14 inch blade will do this in a single slice, I’d create a couple of stops to hold these 200 bricks identically for these cuts. Next I’d try to calculate the number of half bricks to finish the first 3 courses and cut these half bricks. At this point I’d get my “new tool, old tool”, brick jig out and go to work on the first course cheek cuts. You can do the same for the second and third courses but include a couple of third bricks in the mix and maybe a couple of longer bricks to bridge over the preceding courses joints.

    You could guess at your mix of sizes for about the first 4 courses after this you’re going to find that what happens next depends on what you’ve just done. The bricks that you have over cut for the last course will fit just fine in the next one so you’re not going to waste much.

    I think you can get far along with a dome in a weekend given the tools and experience with grout. Include a single friend and you'll move faster. If you have two friends and two saws even if one saw is a 10 inch, you could cut for length on the 10 and do the cheeks on the 14. One person could cut bricks, one mortar and another friend could clean and transport the brick.

    If this were the setup, I think cutting would be the limiting factor and one person could lay, mortar, the bricks faster than you could cut them. I'd bet you'd have a dome done real quick.

    Getting the 200 bricks beveled will go a long way to a custom cut dome, but remember a custom cut dome will likely cook just as well as one put together without tight cheek cuts.

    I hope this helps relative to production brick cutting.

    Last edited by SCChris; 08-19-2010, 06:52 PM.


    • #3
      Re: Production brick cutting

      I see taking 1/2 inch off, down to zero, as you have described. But why cut a whole brick that way. I thought the the only whole bricks were the soldier course, and above that they were 1/2 bricks, each with left and right cheeks cut off and then the backside (side attached to the previous course) having the previously mentioned 1/2 inch down to zero cut off.


      • #4
        Re: Production brick cutting

        If you build a dome cutting the bricks with 90 degree side cuts only, you’ll need to use the mortar on the outside to orient the inside face of each brick in the dome at the center point of the hemisphere. This is the point where the indispensable tool connects with the floor. Remember that the brick course will need to be round and this creates a large outside gap side to side. Also remember that there will be a gap on top and under each brick to create the dome. This over and under gap is about one half of an inch. By cutting the half inch off of the 200 bricks and creating a trapezoid out of the rectangular shape of the brick you can now cut your side cuts and the over / under gaps that need mortar will be at a minimum. You could cut your finish half, third or whatever sized bricks directly from these trimmed bricks. For me I found that setting a stop to cut the rough half and third bricks, was easier than wrestling a full brick while trying to get the finished cheek cut. A 14 inch saw might make this direct cheek cutting easier.

        There is a point that needs addressing and that’s the entry to the oven. This area takes more time than you might think. Where the door and these bricks contact you’ll be much happier if you can maintain a very flat surface without the odd brick sticking out or the opening rolling over one way or the other. The more variation here, the more the door will have to adapt to the variation of the opening. I wish that I had built the opening laying down dead flat and when it had cured and then rotated the opening into the final position. The disadvantage of this would be that the inside of the opening would have to go unclean until much later, but it’s the inside so what? You also might find that there are a few gaps in the mortar on the inside, just fill them later. I suppose you could place tape on the inside of these bricks to keep them clean and then remove it later. Moving the arch would take some planning, so maybe build it on a thick piece of plastic covered reinforced plywood for stability.

        Does this help?


        PS It bears mentioning that when you cut the cheeks, to keep you focus on the taper of the brick. I cut a few that I needed to recut because I had reversed the orientation. Dhoo! Also the dreaded Vees will settle in as you higher in the courses. I needed to cut a vee in a couple of bricks, only one or two, so that they sat cleaner on the preceding course.
        Last edited by SCChris; 08-20-2010, 07:28 AM.