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36" Pompeii low-dome in Livermore, CA

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  • Larry P
    replied
    Back to the oven yesterday: I built a form to pour another 4" of cement, bringing the deck up to the level of the bottom of the oven floor. With 4" insulation, I don't like the look of the oven sitting so high above the deck, so this will raise it up. Then I fixed my "rebar dome" to the slab using 3/8" pipe hangers and used that to form the shape using 1/4" hardware cloth. The hardware cloth did help me get a circle shape for the bottom layers, but I think forming it into a dome shape as it starts to curve upwards, will not be any easier or better than just forming the perlcrete by hand using the rebar as a guide. In fact, I think the hardware cloth is in the way at this point, so I'll probably pull it off to continue upwards.

    The perlcrete is 10:1 perlite to portland cement, plus per David's recommendation, a handful of fire clay, then mix the dry ingredients, and add 2 more parts water.

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  • Larry P
    replied
    A slight diversion this weekend, got the garden cleaned up and hit some seedling sales - got around 20 tomato plants, including a dozen or so San Marzanos. Also planted a variety of chile peppers including 2 Calabrian chile plants.

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  • Larry P
    replied
    HI Steve, thanks! Glad to hear you're getting started. For curves, just went slow using a 10" wet saw, and ground any rough edges with an angle grinder. Mark the curve with a sharpy, pencil will wash right off when the water hits it. Outside curves are much easier than inside curves.

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  • SteveB48
    replied
    Your oven looks great! I'm hoping to pick up my bricks next weekend. How did you cut the curved edges of your floor brick?

    Steve

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  • Larry P
    replied
    I spent hours yesterday bending rebar, intending to use this, with 1/4" hardware cloth, as a form to hold my perlcrete. Ultimately, a real pain and I'm not sure if it bought me anything, except being able to better visualize the shape of the dome. I probably won't work on it again until Sunday, so I'll report back then...

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  • Larry P
    replied
    Originally posted by gastagg View Post
    Congrats Larry! Looks great!
    Thanks!

    Here is yesterday's work, mounted the chimney plate and insulated the dome. Afterwards I fired the oven, and was hoping it would heat faster, although I'm not sure it did. But, it is still sitting around 400F this morning.

    Today I'm going to build a rebar frame for the igloo shape. I have 12 cu. ft. of perlite to form the dome, but not sure how far I'll get today.

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  • gastagg
    replied
    Congrats Larry! Looks great!

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  • Larry P
    replied
    Thanks Randy!

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  • RandyJ
    replied
    Oh also the food looks great. Keep up the good work.

    Randy

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  • RandyJ
    replied
    The rest of us owe you engineers a ton of thanks. You have taken the simple and use able Pompeii and drastically improveed it or at least it's construction in so many ways. Because I think the ovens built now if the changes are followed are far superior to what you would get by just following the instructions.

    Randy

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  • Larry P
    replied
    I think it was on this board, somewhere I read - "if you turn over a homemade oven, you probably find an engineer under there."

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  • JRPizza
    replied
    It's funny how many engineers find solace in joining bricks together and cooking

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  • UtahBeehiver
    replied
    Shish, another engineer, JR is some type of engineer too. Over design and over think everything............LOL. I can attest from experience, I just retired this year after 40 years plus in the engineering field to go teach skiing and snowboarding and use the left side of the brain.

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  • Larry P
    replied
    Originally posted by UtahBeehiver View Post
    Congrats on the first meals. Seems like when I could start cooking, my finish work on the oven really slowed down. In fact, I am still working on the final touches of my oven 5 years later....LOL
    It's going to slow down a little for us of necessity, just because we have plans the next few weekend. I can see how cooking slows it down - not just because it's taking your time, but also because the oven is just too hot to work on. Anyway I was supposed to be off today but decided I needed to come into the office. We're in the middle of a big product launch and I'm the lead engineer. I should have the next couple days free and hopefully can make good progress on the insulation.

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  • Larry P
    replied
    Originally posted by SableSprings View Post
    Wish my first pizza had looked that good! Also, I sometimes require a cooler oven than "happened" so I invert a half-sheet and then put my baking item on another half sheet (right side up ). It definitely helps reduce the effective bottom heat. Then you have to develop some "looks/feels" done instincts rather than using exact minutes from a standard recipe. Cooking in the throat of the oven entrance as you did is also a great move...try risotto this way, it's really different--read good--with the higher temps and nuances of wood smoke. (I once did a meringue on a lemon pie at about 650F ... took less than 90 seconds to brown & set. Having a death threat hanging over my head from "the cook" if I burned it--made me very attentive . In my defense, I had been heating the oven up for a much later dinner when I was informed that the meringue needed to be done immediately. )

    As to the small crack in your arch...when you read about classic Italian, Roman, Spanish and southwestern US ovens (both cobb & masonry), many references exist to the "old time" users (pre-IR temp guns) using such cracks to tell when temps were ready for their bakes. The cracks would widen as the oven heated and when they looked just right...time to bake. In other words, as you said--relax & don't worry about small cracks like that--it's not a bug, it's a feature!

    p.s. I also have such a crack in my outer arch that only shows up when I've gotten the oven up to temp. I've been using the oven for almost 6 1/2 years now with no change in that arch (or crack...which is along a mortar joint that's in near alignment with the joint above).
    Good, thanks for the info on the mortar joint just a pre-engineered crack. I was a little distraught when cracks started showing, but I definitely get how they show the temp of the oven - can't even find them if I look for them cold. I'll install my chimney with confidence.

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