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Beginning my 39'' Neapolitan Oven - questions about first course

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  • Beginning my 39'' Neapolitan Oven - questions about first course

    Hi All,

    I'm totally new here - well actually I've been lurking for months, but now that I've begun construction I have a few questions, mostly regarding my first course of bricks.

    I've already finished my block stand and hearth slab, have my calsil boards ready. I'll be finishing the floor bricks this week.

    Your help would be very appreciated - can't seem to find definitive answers to these questions (or maybe I just don't know how to look)!

    Anyway, here it goes:

    1) Should my first course of full length standing bricks be soldiers or sailors?
    2) What is the best way to 'buttress' this course? Lots of mortar, or do I need to build some sort of brace?
    3) Should I cut angles on top of each (first course) brick to facilitate the aggressive curve of the dome? Or can I get away with using a lot of mortar to set the angle/curve
    4) Form or IT for Neapolitan? Sounds like this type of oven is harder to keep the bricks from falling as they set...

    Ah and one other question about the floor... Most of my bricks are far from perfect - the edges have slight curves and will be hard to get exactly flush with each other. Should I mortar them to each other, filling in these gaps caused by the brick inconsistencies?

    I hope these questions are clear. Thanks so much in advance for your help!