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A new Folly at Full Moon Farm-- build thread - Forno Bravo Forum: The Wood-Fired Oven Community

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  • A new Folly at Full Moon Farm-- build thread

    We'll it has probably been a decade in the thinking stage, and with the completion of all the trim and painting in the upstairs of our house last week the time has come for the pizza oven to move to the top of the project list. And so the build begins. Today being a beautiful April 33 degree and raining day in Boston I chose to spend the day at the kitchen table with my sketch pad and ruler and began attempting to design the project in a serious way. Over the years I've read thousands of posts on this site and watched countless YouTube videos. The accumulated wealth of information is awesome. I hope at some point along the way to add something to it and not just be a leach. We'll see,

    When we poured the foundation for our screen porch I had the guys pour a slab for the oven for me; that was four years ago. I hope the pace picks up now! I've retired in the interim, so that helps, though I seem to have less time than ever. I have a serious woodworking shop, and most every home improvement tool there is, having done several houses now. I can build pretty much anything out of wood, but masonry is an all-new trade for me. I've set tile and pavers for walkways and such, and done a fair amount of concrete work, so that should help. I'm not an engineer and I don't do CAD, so you're not going to see beautiful drawings and thermodynamic calculations out of me.

    The intention is to build a 42" Tuscan-style oven that will be used mostly for pizza, but who knows. I do a lot of bread baking, with the current quest being to learn how to make bagels. It's not going well so far, but that's another story. I've been diligently working on my pizzas using a stone in the oven and it's gotten to the point where our friends and my kids friends ask if they can come over for pizza, so that's a good sign. My sibs assert that I have surpassed my Italian grandmother. I withhold judgement on that one. I keep telling them "just wait until I've got my oven".

    As to an enclosure, it is TBD. Most likely a gable house, probably involving stone and a tile or slate roof. Perhaps A&C decorative ceramic tiles. Our house is based on an English Arts and Crafts set of inspiration pictures, so we'll stick with the A&C/Craftsman theme. I've got some nice slabs of green soapstone that I'd like to incorporate into the structure. I've decided against making the oven floor out of them, but will probably cut them for the apron in front of the door and trim between the base and oven house. I'd love to do a timber framed enclosure, but would rather it didn't burn down, so will probably stick to steel studs and ceramic materials.

    I'm not yet happy with the overall shape of my structure, it feels a little short and fat to me, so I'll keep playing with is some. I think I have the floorplan down, so I can begin building the base in two weeks when I get back from a carving course I'm taking.

    Right now the floor of the oven looks to be 4" higher than the apron in front. Not sure how I feel about that and not sure how to make them even were I to want to do so. I'm planning on 4" of FB board under he floor, which creates the unevenness. I don't want to recess it into the floor for fear of creating a sump that will accumulate water. I hope there will be some inspiration after a day or two passes.

    I'll post my sketches, but I expect them to change at this point.

    Many thanks to those who have gone before! Let the fun begin.
    Last edited by rwiegand; 04-15-2018, 03:47 PM.
    My build thread: https://tinyurl.com/y8bx7hbd

  • #2
    Your thread was just approved so have at it. Be sure to ask the collective brain trust of the Forum for any questions you may have. It is a lot easier to change on paper than once the mortar flies (BTW, although an engineer, I am still a pen, graph paper and ruler type). My oven floor is not flush with the apron either.
    Russell
    Google Photo Album [https://photos.google.com/share/AF1Q...JneXVXc3hVNHd3/]

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    • #3
      Looking forward to seeing the build come together.
      Dan

      Build Log
      Build Photo Album

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      • #4
        I see that some folks have used a cast-in-place lintel that ties into the walls and slab with rebar, done in a monolithic pour. Is there any downside to this approach other than a little more concrete? I've had to replace enough rusted out angle iron supports for block lintels in old houses to know that they are a bad idea.
        My build thread: https://tinyurl.com/y8bx7hbd

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        • #5
          I think you pretty much answered you own question. I does take a little more forming to do an arched lintel which is inherently self supporting and stronger than a flat lintel but as you said, a mono pour ties in the walls and hearth into the lintel. Be sure to form well, there have been a couple blowouts on the arches when the forming material was not build with strong enough material or reinforced properly.
          Russell
          Google Photo Album [https://photos.google.com/share/AF1Q...JneXVXc3hVNHd3/]

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          • #6
            My oven is a cast in place mono pour. I was a bit more work but well worth it. Definitely use adequate forms for the arch. I was able to get some large styrofoam blocks that I use for the wood storage arch.
            My oven build in progress: http://www.fornobravo.com/community/...made-cast-dome

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            • #7
              Day 2 was a combination of refining plans and some actual work. I decided my base could be a half block narrower and still fit, after some gymnastics with pizza peels I decided to raise the hearth to a final height just over 48", raising the block base by an additional course. With two courses of block over the lintel I decided to go ahead with the angle iron supports-- at 3/8" thick they aren't going to rust through any time soon, and probably won't fall down in any event once they are tied into the slab. I had been thinking about an arch on the lower level, but that was rejected by the design committee.

              With that, and measuring everything for a third time to be sure it would fit, it was off to the home depot. I think I may try to track trips to the hardware store for this project, just for grins. It was a pretty good load on the back end of the truck-- how do people without a real truck do projects like this?

              Got the blocks unloaded, laid out the perimeter and started stacking. Then it was time to go find angle iron of the specified dimensions. Fortunately there is a good metal supply shop not too far away-- 3/8" angle iron is not a stock item at the hardware store. I must have paled at the price, as the guy decided to give me the trade price rather than retail and knocked $20 off.
              My build thread: https://tinyurl.com/y8bx7hbd

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              • #8
                Day 3 of work was the day that the stand design was, to coin a phrase, set in concrete.

                I started notching the blocks for the angle iron and had done the first one with an angle grinder and abrasive wheel, while dressed in a moon suit. Well, not quite, but I'm a woodturner and have a "powered air purifying respirator" that has a hardhat with face shield that it pumps HEPA filtered air into. A must-have if you wear a beard and need good quality particulate filtration, but it looks like something out of a SF movie. Anyway, after one side of the first half block I concluded that there had to be a better way, and indeed there was. Off to the hardware store for a 7" diamond blade (I got a Makita with the notches in it, rated for wet or dry cutting. With that blade in a circular saw I buzzed through the remaining blocks in about 15 min with flat square cuts. Wetting the blocks helped with the dust, if I'd had an assistant I would have misted the cut continuously. As it was, the mostly dry blocks cut very easily and neatly.

                With everything stacked and checked for square four times it was back to the hardware store for concrete mix and a mixer from the rental department. I did a lot of concrete work when I was younger, we had an antique mixer that weighed as much as my truck so I was skeptical of the device with the plastic barrel and little electric motor, but it worked just fine for the purpose. Filling every other hole in this base, for the record, took 17 sixty pound bags just about exactly. Three hours later the job was done and another milestone reached. Another trip to the Borg to return the mixer.

                Next step will be building the slab forms and setting up the rebar.

                6 trips for supplies plus two scouting trips to stone yards so far for the project.
                My build thread: https://tinyurl.com/y8bx7hbd

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                • #9
                  Block work looks good.
                  Dan

                  Build Log
                  Build Photo Album

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                  • #10
                    End of the first week of work sees us ready to pour the platform for the oven. The good/bad news is that I am taking a week off for a wood carving class in Indiana, so no progress or postings for the coming week. I will have the local "concrete on demand" guy ready to show up a week from Monday. It seems as if it is going to take an awkward quantity, less than the minimum, but more than I want to mix by hand and lift up on top of the platform. Oh well. At least it's not like the old days when the guy showed up with three yards in the truck and you had to take it no matter if you only needed one.

                    In a quandry about where to buy ceramic fiber board. The shipping cost for the FB material is high, but the couple of places I've found to buy it locally are even more expensive, and I'm not completely clear that I'm getting something that will work. More research while I'm on the road, it needs to get ordered in the next couple of days. A thousand bucks for insulation (4" underneath, 4" over the dome) is a little breathtaking! Adding more later if I used less and it didn't work out well would be pretty problematic though. I intend to be able to use the oven in Boston winters.

                    Bought the Harbor Freight brick saw today on a pretty good sale ($209). It's typical "Chicago Electric" crap, but it should last through this job and then I'll try to sell it on CL.

                    Attached are some pictures with the rebar in place.
                    My build thread: https://tinyurl.com/y8bx7hbd

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                    • #11
                      Waiting for the concrete guy to come on Wednesday. Will spend some time running around for materials between now and then. Found bricks at $1.60, which is good for around here.

                      The inspection team showed up to look at progress--
                      My build thread: https://tinyurl.com/y8bx7hbd

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                      • #12
                        Did you tell the inspection team the WFO would be ready for them to try out around the 4th week in November
                        Dan

                        Build Log
                        Build Photo Album

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                        • #13
                          Concrete day! Had a guy with a mix-on-demnad truck come as I needed just under a yard to pour the hearth. As always, a few frantic moments when the concrete truck shows up. I was at his upper limit for being able to pour directly into the form, but we made it, albeit with having to get up on top of the form and encourage the concrete to flow down the chute. No blowouts though, a few voids at the edges I wish I had avoided, but they will end up covered. I figure on just leaving the piers in underneath while I work on the oven unless there is a good reason to pull them out sooner.
                          My build thread: https://tinyurl.com/y8bx7hbd

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                          • #14
                            So, a bit of a detour the last couple of days. I decided I didn't like the fact that the oven slab is set on a hill and the erosion was beginning to undercut the corner of the slab. Also it was quite a reach from the back side of the oven to the middle of the slab and unlevel to boot, so I decided to build a little retaining wall around the back side and fill it to be approximately level with the oven slab. So, some digging, gravel bed, tamping, concrete interlocking wall blocks and backfill and voila! a level working surface.

                            With that done I made a cutout of the floor pattern out of a piece of zipwall--should withstand some water exposure, I hope, and laid out the bricks for the floor in preparation for actually cutting something.

                            Any errors evident in my layout? There are some gaps that approach 2 mm, and some bricks that aren't exactly square.
                            My build thread: https://tinyurl.com/y8bx7hbd

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                            • #15
                              You can save a few bricks by using surplus of one brick at another location, ie 33 at 44 and 52 at 58 etc. On the CaSi you will have to make the decision on the 55 psi compression rating. $400 delta seems out of wack to me but maybe that is the way it is in MA. Again you should see if any other builders have used this lower compression rated board,
                              Russell
                              Google Photo Album [https://photos.google.com/share/AF1Q...JneXVXc3hVNHd3/]

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