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Finishing the dome

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  • Finishing the dome

    My masonry skills are a little less than desirable and I am kind of struggling with finishing my dome. I have about 7 or 8 scores of brick laid and am kind of struggling moving forward. The issue is that when I angle my square bricks, there is always a little triangle where adjacent bricks meet that is open. I know it doesn't matter much from a "heating" perspective, but it doesn't make the inside of the oven look quite as sexy as one would want. I don't really have the masonry skills (or tools) to cut every brick at multiple angles (including beveled edges), so I was just wondering what people do about this.....or maybe I messed something else up along the way.

    And, of course, the further you get along, the more these little issues become bigger and the harder it is to see inside the oven to see what you are really doing.

    Any tips or tricks here?

  • #2
    Re: Finishing the dome


    If you use smaller bricks this would be lessened, try cutting them in 1/4 instead of 1/2 & see how it looks

    I also just read a post that discussed using split bricks, check it out it could be very cool.




    • #3
      Re: Finishing the dome

      Hi Sammy
      the last third of the dome is usually where everything starts to change - we'll thats what I experienced. I'm guessing you are using some sort of former (from the inside) to hold the final courses?

      as far as cutting/shaping bricks themselves.........
      I built my oven dome simply with bricks cut in half with a bolster. It was only until I go to the last layer that we cut them in 1/4's etc. Sure it depends on how brittle or soft your bricks are.

      A bricklayer mate put me onto a "brickies hammer" which is like a hammer that has a long drawn out pointed end. This can also be useful to "chip off" the odd bit here and there. Make sure the brick is on a softer surface (not hard concrete) as it will help you chip it more reliably.

      Having said all that the hardness (brittle or soft) of the brick plays a part

      You can use a small angle grinder with a masonary blade.....but its usually pretty dusty.

      Also its best to put the "fired" end of the brick in towards the oven inside, rather than leaving a "cut" edge exposed.

      Here are some pics of mine.....I'm sure others can advise of techniques.
      If you have some pics that can help us explain stuff.

      Build #1

      Build #2 (Current)


      • #4
        Re: Finishing the dome

        what purpose are you building the oven, to cook in or to gaze into and upon. I know that they need to be esthetically pleasant in overall appearence but let's face the facts. When you light a fire in them, the domes get covered in black soot which burns off to a white coating when the dome gets up to somewhere around the right temperature for pizzas.
        Do you want to impress the girls with your superb masonry skills or win their hearts with great food that comes out of them?
        Don't get too paranoid with the interior looks and keep the wedge shaped joints to a minimum but they will be there no matter what you do especially when you don't have the mastery skills, the equipment necessary, nor the cash to get someone to do it for you.
        Keep it structurally sound and presentable, but get on with using it. It won't be long before you won't hardly look into the dome top.

        Prevention is better than cure, - do it right the first time!

        The more I learn, the more I realise how little I know

        Neillís Pompeiii #1
        Neillís kitchen underway


        • #5
          Re: Finishing the dome

          Great feedback gang. Thanks.

          It was also great to see some pictures of other domes. Thanks!

          You all made me feel much better about it and I will plug through these last few courses!

          Balty - I did start cutting some bricks in thirds and quarters and that actually does help. Thanks for the comment! PS. Great looking pup!

          Damon - do you have more pictures of your finished oven. I debated doing an arched opening, but was somewhat clueless how the vent would attach, so I went with a flat opening that I plan to put a curved arch facade on. I am curious to see pictures how you did the vent and how your finished oven looks.

          Neil - thanks for the laugh. Yah, part of me does want it to be sexy - why wouldn't I want it to be as nice looking as possible. I do know that it doesn't matter much from a cooking perspective though. I wasn't sure if I screwed something up in the process, however, that might have had other implications. I kind of freak out when I read posts about other people having dome cave ins! I know that with my masonry skills something like that is more likely than not for me! I am too OCD however to ask others for help with the project - I like to just experiment through it by myself.

          Anyway, this forum is really helpful. Thanks again for your posts and if anyone else has good feedback, I would love to see/hear it.


          • #6
            Re: Finishing the dome

            Just to put things in perspective, you really have to crank your neck to even SEE this stuff, particularly the part where the dome meets the entry. Those sexy pictures of dome tops are taken with the camera flat on it's back on the oven floor, not the usual perspective of the viewer.

            That said, I went to great lengths to get my dome fitted snuggly, but it really isn't necessary from the cooking perspective.

            An idea is to build your "plug" upside down on the bench and have a friend or two help you lower it down into place. This solves a world of problems. If I built another oven I'd build the whole thing upside down in a kiddie pool full of sand.
            My geodesic oven project: part 1, part 2