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Christo's Cucina

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  • christo
    replied
    Re: Christo's Cucina

    Hi everyone!!!!

    Thanks for all the kind words - Fullback - my part of NC the frost line is only 4 inches below finished grade - so I'm on a floating slab. Dave/JW/GJ - this is a much bigger job than I realised when I set out to make my oven/patio. I'm still shoveling and compacting gravel. Will it ever end????

    With Thanksgiving coming and a commitment to use the oven to roast it, I had to make a door.

    I had a piece of SuperIso (from FB) left over that was just the right size for the door. I was worried about how to fasten and durability so I cut a piece of expanded metal to fit. I can fasten through the expanded metal and hopefully it will help with any corner hits or help hold it together if it evenutally cracks.

    I was concerned about heat transfer to the handles so I screwed the superIso to the Plywood door and screwed the handles to the plywood from the other side. Result - nice cool handles. I have to be careful not to heat up the screws too much and burn them out of the plywood - maybe time to use through bolts and a metal door when that happens.

    We made pizza Wed night, closed up the oven and went to bed. In the morning the oven was still over 600 degress. We had to take the remaining coals out and leave the door open to cool it down. I put a coffee can full of water in the back, took the turkey out of the brine and it cooked up wonderfully!!!! It even tasted good.... We ended up cooking stuffing and rolls in there as well. (We had an tragic stuffing accident in the inside oven and the stuffing caught fire and made the inside oven stinky - don't worry it's all cleaned up now)

    BTW - I'm not sure what I did right but I'm still not getting the soot on my arch.....

    Can't wait for Christmas dinner (Hmmm Turkey again?)

    Best Regards,

    Chris, Christo, or whoever I am today....
    Last edited by christo; 11-29-2007, 07:54 AM.

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  • fullback66
    replied
    Re: Christo's Cucina

    Christo, Do you have a finished picture of everthing?
    I do have a question about footings.

    Question:
    How far down did you dig for footings? I know the ground freezes there. Are the footings below frost line?

    It looks great!!!
    fb66

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  • jwnorris
    replied
    Re: Christo's Cucina

    [QUOTE=asudavew;18290<snip> Now you got me thinking........ bigger ... Great work![/QUOTE]

    I thought that bigger was always better.

    J W

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  • gjbingham
    replied
    Re: Christo's Cucina

    Cool!

    Your oven turned out superb! You make my back hurt just looking at the work you've still got ahead of you. It's going to be a hell of an addition to your house when the entire BBQ (and patio?) are done. I assume your property taxes will go up. What a deal that is huh? Spend all that time and money making your place nicer and then the tax man charges you more to live there.

    I'm planning a similar though smaller version. My wife is already asking if it will be ready by next summer. I see no light at the end of the tunnel on my oven yet and she's already planning pool parties.

    Keep up the great work.

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  • sarah h
    replied
    Re: Christo's Cucina

    That's really terrific ... and I am NOT showing it to my husband!!
    I'll be watching for more photos though - nice!

    sarah

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  • asudavew
    replied
    Re: Christo's Cucina

    I am in awe!

    Very inspirational.

    Now you got me thinking........ bigger ...

    Great work!

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  • christo
    replied
    Re: Christo's Cucina

    This job is bigger than I imagined. And it all started with an innocent little Pizza oven!!!!

    I finished the island framing and went on to build the retaining wall for the patio. I rented a ditch witch and trenched the areas to be leveled before bringing in the skid steer - the ground has been so dry between that and the tree roots I know I'd get nowhere fast if I did not break up the ground.

    Trenching through tree roots in hard dirt is not easy - that machine beats you up pretty good. The following day I rented a stand behind skid steer - it has tracks and a small bucket. It worked pretty well for clearing the broken ground and moving the 4 trailer loads of gravel I had. Stand behind skid steer is also pretty rough on the body - nothing to hold on to but the controls!!!! I came pretty close to the oven once - Next time - I will complete the grading before building the oven.

    Now I only need about 20 more trailer loads of gravel....

    Christo

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  • christo
    replied
    Re: Christo's Cucina

    A little more progress. Works been keeping me busy. Been splitting my time working out of the home and travelling. In many ways working out of the home is not the sweet deal I thought it would be....

    Took a weekend off to work on the oven area. I'm dealing with a slope in the backyard and the ground is hard as firebrick and roots as rebar - digging was brutal.

    First off, I apologize for lack of beer or wine in any of the following pictures - I'll do better next time!!!

    Originally planned to make the wings out of block like the oven base. Then got to thinking of how much larger that would make them. Then shifted to back and ends out of block and front out of backer board for flexibilty of fit. Still too big for my liking. So I went for metal stud and concrete board construction.

    Construction went well. Overplanned as usual, so I was able to precut all studs with my circular saw and metal blade - cut two at a time nested together and wore gloves. Used one of these big mouth vise grip clamps to hold the metal studs together while screwing- much easier. After fastening it to the Oven base and slab with Tapcon screws it is very solid.

    Also - the weed burner from HF is breakable....I stepped on it. Note to self to keep a cleaner worksite!!!

    Christo
    Last edited by christo; 10-21-2007, 05:18 AM. Reason: weed burner leak

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  • christo
    replied
    Adding wings to the Oven

    Was waiting to use a Bob Cat to excavate the wings to the left and right of my oven.. The guy still looks sad...I think he wants a grill and refriderator.

    In one of the pics you can see the grill sitting on the other side of the oven waiting for its pad.

    I dug up a multitude of roots by hand in earth that has been several inches short of water all year. and got to the point where my oven floor would be 41.5 inches above the patio floor. I was planning for 43, but my digging quota was exceeded.

    Forms were built and lined with plastic as the ground was so dry.

    More digging for the electric, water, and drains and it was ready to pour.
    My wife volunteered to help spread out concrete while I mixed. Later, we looked at some of the pictures and there are bubbles or orbs on some and not on other pictures taken at the same time. Her freind thinks we have spirits in our backard helping onthe oven - I'd rather have Nicks helpers....

    Wrapped it up in short order, cleaned the tools, broomed the surface hit the showers.

    Christo
    Last edited by christo; 09-23-2007, 05:18 AM.

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  • christo
    replied
    Re: Christo's Cucina

    Things I learned on the base:

    1. I notice some of you are reinforcing the slab vs building Lintenls.

    I'm not happy with the huge gap between the oven flloor and the wood storage. Next time I'm going with the beefy slab and no lintels.

    2. The pentagon shape is more difficult to manage but seems to make my oven appear smaller. the Front and left and right 45% viewing angles prevent the back end of the oven from being seen and it appears smaller.

    3. Dividing the storage area in half with 4x4x16 block and making 2 doors has proved useful. We have 2 storage areas where you don't have to crawl deeply into. This also prevented much of the temporraroy supports required during hearth pour.

    4. Locating the base on the one side of the yard was very good advice I received. I was so jazzed about the oven and outdoor kitchen it was going to be the centerpiece. I can barely see it from the house and the view is untouched. It's an eazy walk from the kitchen, too.

    5. Mixing my own concrete -first pours were exhausiting, hauling 80 lb bags out of the truck on to handtruck stack at the worksite and lift to the mixer.
    • For the final slabs - I asked for the lumberyard to load the bags for me (2 lifts eliminated).
      Back at the site, I made a table out multiple pallets (to keep cinder block stack low) and cinderblocks (being very careful to set the blocks on angles so the table would have a very sturdy base). There will be quite alot of weight - I had a 20 bag pour so I put 10 bags on the table at one time.
      I then backed the truck to the table and slid the blocks off the truck and transfered the bags on this tall table. Truck heigh was close to table height so very little lifting there. From there it was a short lift from stack to mixer where I took the razor kinfe and cut the bag in the middle. I rolled the bag a little and it would split and pour into the mixer. This method was so much easier on my back and I felt so much better afterwards. I don't know why but all of my pours seem to be completed in the evenings...... I located the mixer on the corner of the form so when I dump - it dumps right into the forms - worked well for oven base and outdoor kitchen wing bases.


    6. Rebar bending and cutting - I have a piece of 3/4 in pipe that I use to slip around rebar and bend it against the ground.
    I used 1/2 inch and 3/8 in rebar for the slabs and had no trouble bending the shapes I desired. Cutting the stuff is a bit tougher - so I bend the entire outside shape and if I have some overlap I bend it in to the center and begin another bent or zigzag inset.
    I also bought some of the short lengths at the supply store for cross pieces or additional support. I did not cut any rebar in any of my oven or outdoor kitchen slabs.
    7. embedding jbolts or bolts in to concrete where enclosure will attach was very handy.
    8. Making sure foudation is below patio level is a mistake I made - one foundation edge will show when I lay my patio later this month. Bricks will butt up agiasint the foudndation vs resting on top of it.

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  • christo
    replied
    Re: Christo's Cucina

    Thanks for the kind words.

    Thought it was a good time for an update.

    In additon to the week of drying fires, we've cooked pizzas 8 times since I pulled the insulation back and added some refmix coating for insurance after I saw cracks in the dome.

    I have intentionally been taking about 2 hours to fire the oven - gradually bringing it up to heat vs stoking the big scary fire right off the bat. Maybe I'll get there one day. I start fires with a Harbor Freight weed burner and it is wicked cool - I especially like the huge sound it makes when you use the afterburner lever, I don't dare to use the afterburner in the oven as I'm afraid I'd fill up the oven with excess propane and blow it up!! But I digress.

    I see no additional cracks and no movement in the dome. The existing cracks do not seem to get wider during firing. I think I am out of the woods and have stopped worrying so much about them. At this point, there's really nothing I could do anyway.

    During construction, I had a tarp blow off at exactly the wrong time and soaked the oven enclosure while it was half full of vermiculite. It has taken longer than a while to dry this out. After a week of drying fires I thought that all of this would have dried out, but I had some hot spots and the the concrete over the wood bins was particulary hot. Now after the additinoal fires - all is good - the concrete above the wood bin is cool for the first 2 or 3 hours and then starts to warm and I have only one spot on the outside of the oven that feels even warm to the touch when the oven temp is high.

    I have some high temp silicone left over and used it to fill the crack in the vent flue for now. The crack is staying sealed and seems to be holding it's own. It may become a yearly maintainece thing. I wonder what other maintenance things I should plan on doing for the oven in the future?

    Off to buy more concrete!!!

    Best Regards Christo

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  • asudavew
    replied
    Re: Christo's Cucina

    Cheers,


    Well done!

    And thanks for all the valuable information!

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  • Hendo
    replied
    Re: Christo's Cucina

    Chris,

    It looks fantastic - well done!
    Originally posted by christo View Post
    The niches will be centered on the countertops. I just need to figure out what to put in them!!!!
    Nice out of the way spot for a glass of wine, beer, etc ?.

    Time now to enjoy the fruits of your endeavours.

    Cheers, Paul.

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  • christo
    replied
    Another oven is born

    A big thank you to James, the list and my brother in law!!!!!

    Oven construction phase is complete.

    The Fiber reinforced cement/stucco went on without a problem. The oven is covered inside and out with about 1/4 inch of the goop and is ready for the top color coat when the rest of the outdoor kitchen and patio is completed. I may go with a light yellow or gold for the body of the oven as it will play nicely with the black granite shelf and terracotta bricks in the opening. The niches were a pain in the neck and I ended up using my hands to put the goop in there. They are off center as the counters that will project from each side of the oven will not be as wide as the oven. The niches will be centered on the countertops. I just need to figure out what to put in them!!!!

    The flat roof is done. I ended up buying EPDM pond liner and used that as the roofing material as it is pretty resistant to sun exposure. I screwed up and used asphalt based roofing cement to glue things together and then read that it is not compatible with the rubber. I let it dry for a day and put a liner between the roofing cement and the rubber. I think I will put a bag or two of round white gravel on the roof just to protect it from the possible tree branch. I was going to make a metal cover to go around the flue tile, but instead opted to pour a cap around the flue tile. I isolated the flue tile form the poured cap by wrapping a piece of corrugated cardboard around the tile before pouring. After the concrete set, I removed the cardboard and filled in the gap with hi temp silicone caulk.

    Used Hardee trim for the trim - so far I think the only mateiral used in the oven that can burn is the roof and the wiring.... I clamped a home made fence to my diamond brick saw and ripped the trim in half for the the narrow piece at the top.

    Oven lights are still 120VAC with GFI protection - they work so nice. I will convert one of these days....

    I will make a follow up post with lessons learned.....

    The oven is making very fine pizzas!!!!

    Again - thanks to all!!

    Christo
    Last edited by christo; 07-29-2007, 04:10 PM. Reason: left out lights

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  • christo
    replied
    Re: Christo's Cucina Lights

    Lights are working but will soon be converted to 12VDC.

    After consulting with a neigbhorhood electrcian, I originally went with 120VAC halogen lamps and a protective cover. But I am losing patience with a clean install of glass oven light domes over the bulbs, I should have done the mounting before I completed the decorative arch.

    I recently saw some 12 VDC halogens during a visit to my father in law that I think I can make work and then will not bother with any futher guarding.

    Placing the decorative arch lower than the vent arch also seems to make a good difference preventing smoke from coming out the arch as well.

    Drying fires are completed. Oven is staying intact. Did a slow ramp to white dome on Friday - Pizza was Great!!!

    More stucco on tap for today!!!

    Christo

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