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Chris's Oven in Austin - Forno Bravo Forum: The Wood-Fired Oven Community


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Chris's Oven in Austin

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  • Chris's Oven in Austin

    Another Pompeii Oven is under construction in Austin, Texas. I will be filling the corners of the block stand tomorrow, and depending on how long it takes to mix concrete by hand, I may also pour the hearth slab.

    Background: I've been planning a backyard oven for about five years now. Now that the family is settled and I have a place to put it, it's time to get started. The house came complete with a slab in the back corner of the yard measuring roughly 12 x 20 feet. I was given several cedar logs and limestone blocks from a friend. The logs were used to build a shelter over the oven area. I think I'm going to move the shelter to cover the dining area, and leave the oven exposed. It will certainly make building the chimney easier.

    I have enough limestone to veneer the block stand, with the remainder to be covered in stucco.

    Here is a mockup of the stand, with overhanging (14") hearth slab. I decided to omit the angle iron and blocks spanning the opening. The vent will rise directly over the opening in the block stand.

    I've started a blog to document my progress, and hopefully serve as a reference to others. (What to do, and what NOT to do. ) I will also post here from time to time. Check the blog for additional photographs. Chris's Smoky Oven Blog


    I'm building a Pompeii Oven in Austin, Texas. See my progress at:
    Il Forno Fumoso

  • #2
    Welcome aboard. Logs, linestone and an existing pad. It sounds like this was just meant to be.

    Enjoy your project and the oven, and we will look forward to seeing lots of photos here. Make sure you wear gloves to avoid those nasty concrete burns.
    Pizza Ovens
    Outdoor Fireplaces


    • #3
      Concrete Burns


      I've had far too many of those nasty concrete burns, and they're particularly bad when using Portland, Type N with Lime or mortar coloured with powdered dyes. Unfortunately, I'm one of those people who cannot work wearing gloves. However, I found a product called "Gloves in a Bottle" that mitigates that burning sensation and cracked skin. At night, I wash my hands with glycerine soap and the rub in something like Vaseline Intensive Care. Works for me, and maybe others might want to try a similar approach.

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


      • #4

        I'm not sure we are in the proper thread (Chris, I like your shelter, do you have an opening for a chimney or will you cut through later?), but I started using the latex covered knit gloves after really shredding my hands while constructing my dome. With our wet weather though the knit gloves really don't provide any protection (the alkali materials are in constant contact once there is a water gradient through the gloves) and with a few hours of work recently I tried just rubbing in vaseline jelly prior to working, moisturizing again a few times during the work, then when done using Chad's (Janprimus) trick of apple cider vinegar after cleanup. My hands were a little rough after but not the peeling and cracking I had during dome construction.


        • #5
          Another Texan

          Hey Chris

          Welcome to see another oven going together in Texas. I work in Austin, Freescale Semi and am building one at my home in Spring Branch. You have me inspired to finally post my project.

          Wade Lively


          • #6
            Thanks for the tips. I work with gloves on, and do my best to keep the concrete and mortar on the trowel and shovel, and off of the hands. For the dome work, I plan to wear latex or nitrile gloves under the leather ones.

            I was going to cut the chimney into the shelter, but now I think I'm just going to move the shelter to a few feet in front of the oven before I build the chimney. The oven faces south, and the shelter doesn't shade much besides the over where it is now.

            Rebar and forms are ready, and I just found out a buddy of mine has a concrete mixer I can use. More free stuff!

            I'm going to owe a lot of pizza before this job is over...
            I'm building a Pompeii Oven in Austin, Texas. See my progress at:
            Il Forno Fumoso


            • #7
              Progress note

              Unfortunately, the free mixer was not available today, so I rented an electric one. They guy said it would mix two bags at once, but one was really the limit. Two stalled the machine, and didn't have enough room to mix well.

              It's not pretty, but the hearth slab is poured. My timing was a little off, so I didn't manage to trowel the surface nice and smooth like I wanted to. That's ok, because nobody will see it. You can't even see it now, because it's curing under wraps.

              I liked the red firebricks in dmun's oven, so I got some for mine. I got 140 in the first load. Fortunately, the supplier is about three miles away, in case I run out of anything.

              I found a source for perlite and vermiculite, Texas Hydroponics and will check them out tomorrow. I plan to go with perlite, since it's $5 less per bag.

              I'm building a Pompeii Oven in Austin, Texas. See my progress at:
              Il Forno Fumoso


              • #8
                Re: Chris's Oven in Austin

                can you tell me where you bought your firebricks? Im interested in building an oven myself, but cant find those bricks I live in San Antonio