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Pompeii Nate's 42" take two

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  • Pompeii Nate's 42" take two

    Many of you probably gave up hope on me but here I am...back and moving along. I started my build two or three years ago but then last year as I was getting ready to start working on it again after a long winter a house my wife wanted to buy came up for sale and some how she talked me into leaving the house AND my oven project. At that point I had only completed the oven base but I had stopped there the previous fall hoping to get the oven completed last summer. Well obviously I didn't since we moved but the guy who bought our house promised me he would finish it. Unfortunately my wife went by the other day and looked in the backyard only to see that it appeared like he was tearing it down. Oh well. I learned a lot doing that much and I chalked it up to good preparation for the next one.

    And that is where I am at now. I started the project anew this past April and I am moving forward at a much quicker rate this time. My awesome wife has been incredibly supportive and has let me work for 8 to 12 hours a day on my days off and since I work shift work during the summers of four on and four off I have had a lot of time to devote to my oven this summer. So now I need to start posting and let all of you know where I am at.

    So here we go...

  • #2
    Re: Pompeii Nate's 42" take two

    I started by digging down about 21" and then back-filled it with gravel. The theory behind this is that this will prevent frost-heaving by providing drainage for any moisture. I didn't want to have to dig down below the frost line (at least 36") so hopefully this works. If it doesn't I guess my whole project will be ruined but I am keeping my fingers crossed that I will never see that day. Once the gravel was in and compacted every four inches or so I poured my first slab and then built my base out of cinder block. I forgot to check my diagonals on it before I poured cement but I think I am slightly off on those but not too much so I think I will be just fine.

    I got everything ready for the hearth slab but before I poured it I ran conduit through the build so that I will have at least three outlets to use when all is said and done. At least two of the three I should be able to keep out of site while still having them be in useful and easily accessible places. We will see if I do everything right to accomplish this.


    • #3
      Re: Pompeii Nate's 42" take two

      I decided to do things differently this time around and not do the corner-type build similar to Russell's and his Utah Beehive build. I opted, instead, for the rectangular "H" base and so far I am very happy with it. One of the major factors behind the change was I thought I could do it less expensive this way but I don't know if that is really true. I didn't keep good records on the first build as far as expenses go so I can't say for sure that this way is less expensive but it makes me feel better to think that so I am gonna go with it.

      On my previous build I had purchased some insulating fiber board for my floor insulation but it got ruined over the winter so I had to rethink that idea. What I decided to do was stop in to Harbison Walker in Salt Lake City while driving home from Southern California and I picked up 9 boxes of insulating fire brick. It is three inches thick and hopefully it will perform well and keep my oven heat from seeping into the hearth slab. Time will tell. I actually could have gotten by with less than 9 boxes but I erred on the side of caution and got the 9 since I don't have a supplier up there that I know of.

      It has been a long day so I am gonna stop with the updates for tonight and hopefully get some more up tomorrow or the next day.

      It appears that I am having troubles loading pictures this time around so as soon as I get that figured out I will get some posted.


      • #4
        Re: Pompeii Nate's 42" take two


        Wondered what happened to ya, well good luck with the new build. Hopefully you can get the dome done before the snow flies.
        Google Photo Album []


        • #5
          Re: Pompeii Nate's 42" take two

          hey good to see your starting a new project, I want to do the same and start my own build thread but every time I go to start a new thread I write it out and click submit it them takes me back to the main forum page but my new thread doesn't appear.

          part of the reason for me replying is to see if this will show up and to wish you luck i'll be following as I plan to build a 42" oven as well



          • #6
            Re: Pompeii Nate's 42" take two

            Hey Nate!

            Good to see you back! Life sometimes gets in the way of the best-laid plans, yeah?

            At this point, take your time and build it the way you want it!



            • #7
              Re: Pompeii Nate's 42" take two

              Russell, Trac and John

              Thanks for the encouragement. I was going to hold everybody in suspense and not divulge that I am actually pretty far along but then I accepted the fact that it wouldn't really be that suspenseful. So truth be told I actually laid courses 10 and 11 today and my dome is approaching being done. It is not the masterpiece so many on here have done but for a guy who has NO experience doing something like this I am pretty proud of it. As soon as if can get the pictures figured out I will get some posted.

              Thanks again for the encouragement.

              And Trac I don't know what to tell you about the threads but start building my friend. I lurked around FB for two to three years before I finally started and I was glad I did. The only thing I would have done different in regards to all my studying would have been to write down the different things I learned AND where I found them so I could go back and review without hours of searching. Just a thought.



              • #8
                Re: Pompeii Nate's 42" take two

                If you have problems posting pics, just shrink them down a bit...
                Darin I often cook with wine, sometimes I even add it to the food... WC Fields Link to my build My Picasa Pics


                • #9
                  Re: Pompeii Nate's 42" take two

                  So I am finally sitting down to get pictures and progress uploaded. My wife is the photoshop genius so I had her crop photos so I am going to start with a few pictures to make sure they all look okay and then I will go from there.

                  This first picture is of the hole I started with. I went down about 18-21 inches and then backfilled with 3/4" rock chips. I poured in a wheel barrel or two of the rocks and then compressed it with a tamper. It worked out to be about every four inches or so that I was tamping the rocks down. I did this until I had the rocks back up level with the ground and it worked great. Oh yeah, before I backfilled with the rocks I put in conduit so as to be able to add electricity in the future.

                  I then built the frame, put down the rebar and got ready to pour the concrete. That gets me through these pictures.


                  • #10
                    Re: Pompeii Nate's 42" take two

                    I actually mixed the concrete for the foundation pad using an electric mixer which I borrowed from a cousin. That was not fun and it almost got too hard on me but my neighbor and I managed to pull through and do okay. I placed rebar into the wet concrete in pre-determined spots in an effort to tie the slab into the base.

                    I then dry-stacked the cinder block, placed more rebar down the cores and filled with concrete. Since this is my second try with an oven build I did not attempt all the fancy cuts like I did with my first one and the base went up much quicker.

                    Once the base solidified I built my frame to support the concrete hearth. As you can see in the pictures I supported it all with wood which I tried to cut to the exact right size so that I would get the support I wanted without using a single nail or screw for the supports. This made it really nice when I was done to just go in and knock the forms out with a hammer. I was pleasantly surprised how easy it was to knock the form out when it was cured. Looking back I think this might have been risky in some ways but it worked and I am very happy with how it turned out.

                    These pictures don't show it but I made sure to put extra supports under the openings at both front and back to guard against dropping of my hearth slab and it worked well. I also added plenty of rebar around the edges in the slab to also prevent sagging. Maybe I got lucky but I like it.

                    You might have noticed that I have two separate color block in my base. The reason for this is that to get the exact measurement that I wanted I only needed a four inch brick but since the local brick yard didn't have and 8"x8"x4" I had to get creative so I bought the 16"x8"x4" and I cut them to fit the space. The funny thing is was that none of the smaller bricks really got any concrete when I filled the cores so they all basically move in and out of the base. I have actually thought about taking them out and making those little secret hiding spaces for different things. I hope it doesn't do anything to the structural strength of the base but I guess if I just leave them in then it shouldn't be a problem. Can anybody think of any reason why this might pose a problem? Feel free to chime in.
                    Last edited by Pompeii Nate; 03-15-2015, 05:45 PM.


                    • #11
                      Re: Pompeii Nate's 42" take two

                      Here is a shot of my cut floor. It was a lot of fun to finally cut some fire brick after nearly 5 years of studying, dreaming and planning. I wanted it to be as perfect as possible but being the first time I had room to improve but overall I was happy with it.

                      Also here is a shot of my door that I was trying to go with. I actually cut and built one door but then decided I didn't like how flat it got on the top so I built a second door that was much more rounded while still being within the suggestions of the plans and I liked it MUCH better. So I ended up using the second one. You in the first picture of my arch you see the first attempt sitting between my feet and not in the arch. The second attempt has the blue tape at the top and was the more rounded of the two (though I am not sure the pictures make it look much different).

                      I was basically trying to get the exact right brick size by doing this little mockup with the wood pieces. I tried a few different times with the wood pieces before I ever cut any brick. In the end I really like how my inner arch looks.

                      I know I make a big jump here in my pictures documenting my build but yes, I went from working it out on the ground to being five courses into my build. You can see that I am going with John's idea of integrating the arch into the dome walls and though I did not make the master piece that John did, I am still happy with how it turned out. Since I had absolutely no experience in any of this I can't complain. I also tried to follow Les' idea of not using any mortar on the inside of the oven (except for the arch) so all of my courses show no mortar. In the top of the dome you can see some spacing issues and gaps between bricks but I just tell myself that this allows the heat to penetrate into the bricks faster:roll eyes: (and for any Pitch Perfect fans, that was a good enough reason to use the word "penetrate").


                      • #12
                        Re: Pompeii Nate's 42" take two

                        This first picture gives you a first look at how I did my insulating base layer. On the way home from a trip to Oceanside, CA I stopped at Harbison-Walker in Salt Lake City and picked up some insulating fire brick and used that as my insulation beneath my oven. What I had previously purchased for my first build did not make it through the winter on my last build so I decided to switch my tactics. I was glad I did because this stuff seemed much sturdier and easier to work with. If for some reason anybody thinks these bricks won't work I would love to hear your thoughts but either way it is too late if you think they won't work. Oh well.

                        The second picture is another shot inside the oven with most of my 5th course completed. I tried to start each course from the very back so that when someone looks into the finished oven he or she will see mainly whole bricks and not very many of the smaller filler pieces. Besides starting at the back I would also try to leave bigger pieces to tie into the arch so that I was using really tiny pieces for that. I guess in the end it just came down to how I wanted pieces to fit over the joint of the course below. Besides the aesthetics of the plan that was also a big consideration for brick placement.

                        The next three pictures are of my arch. The first one shows the arch with about 5 courses put up. As you can see even with all of my planning and layouts prior to the build, I still needed to add some small filler pieces to make it work the way I wanted. Oh well. The next two show the arch completed with an amazing sunset just after a rainstorm. I think these are some of my favorite pictures from the entire build just due to the awesome sky in the background.


                        • #13
                          Re: Pompeii Nate's 42" take two

                          Here is my finished inner arch from the inside. There are some places that could have used some more mortar and some places that I could have been more careful in my cuts but oh well. I just keep telling myself that besides these photos, nobody will ever see that part of the oven so I shouldn't have to worry to much.

                          As I worked across the arch in my build I was really worried about that dreaded droop but I have to say that I am very happy with how little there was. On the left side of the arch I can see a little bit of droop but not enough to really be worried about it. Overall I was pleasantly surprised at how well I was able to go across my arch without much concern.

                          Also very obvious in these pictures is the fact that my inner arch sticks about a quarter inch into the oven from where the courses above it lie. There isn't much I could do about it. I think where I messed up is in my calculations when I created my form to help with my inner arch angles and what my IT was actually at. My careful planning on my part would have avoided this completely.


                          • #14
                            Re: Pompeii Nate's 42" take two

                            In this first picture you can see how I had to use a very small filler brick to complete my course. Since this is directly above the arch and it is more than likely that nobody will ever stick their head into the oven to see it I was not worried about it.

                            The second photo is looking through the finished inner arch and I am 8 courses up. The last photo is just a shot from the front. My original plan was to have about a 1 inch reveal around the arch and that is what I cut my bricks for. But...somehow I totally laid the bricks wrong and it was closer to a half inch on once side and 1.5" on the other. I can't believe I messed it up that bad. However, I was perfectly okay with it later on because as you will see in photos coming later I actually changed my reveal to be about 3 inches instead and I am really glad I did. It made my entry arch much bigger and more manageable to work the oven, IMHO. I realize that this might make for potentially more heat loss but oh well. I thought about going with the flared entry like GianniFocaccia or Dino but in the end just opting for what was the easier option for me. I figured I was pushing my luck to just get this far so I didn't want to push it even more trying to figure out all the crazy angles. I will leave that stuff to much smarter and talented people than me.


                            • #15
                              Re: Pompeii Nate's 42" take two

                              Well done. That's a nice inner arch and dome transition.

                              Those pictures make it look so simple it's hard to believe that everybody used to cut their dome bricks to fit over the arch rather than the other way round.

                              I love cooking with wine. Sometimes I even put it in the food.

                              My Build - Between a rock and a hard place