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42Ē Pompeii in San Felipe, MX

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  • 42Ē Pompeii in San Felipe, MX

    Ok... so my wife said Will ya build it already... been talking about it for years... been lurking on the forum probably over 10 years now. You would think that after reading EVERY build I wouldnt be intimidated but I am... I really wanna build an oven I can be proud of that will be a power house for days after a pizza party. This is going to b a challenge.

    Struggle is for real with the pictures, but I will figure it out. I promise to post pics as I go... I hope to be able to look back at this thread in several years and say... yep, we did that and its still standing.

    I live in El Dorado Ranch. San Felipe Baja California Norte. Retired young and living off grid. Amazing view of the Sea of Cortez... when I slide that pie in the oven I will be reminded of why we did this. I have all the time in the world to build this thing, but there are challenges.

    1) It is smokin hot here... humidity makes it even more fun. 100f at 5:45 pm with 45% humidity. Yipppeeeee!
    2) Materials... ughhh... I did get my medium duty fire brick. 5 hours round trip. $500.00 for 300 count. Nice pieces... loaded them one my one into my Toyota Sequoia. Maxed out the poor things suspension... no room for mortar.
    3) Speaking of mortar... (que esta fire clay)... the struggle is real.
    4) Close to zero inside mortar joints... cuz, what is fire clay. Ughhh.
    5) Inner arch to dome transition scares me to death.

    1) Host pizza parties for 25 or more ex-pats, friends... Once a month hosting.
    2) Cook meat the next day
    3) Sour dough loafs to give/sell
    4) Whatta ya want...?

    Anyway, I hope to be able to get some questions answered along the way and maybe someone will be able to use something along the way.. Here we goooooo.
    Attached Files

  • #2
    The base is a great start, monolithic arch pour. You can do it, although I classify myself as a glorified DIYers I never had tackled bricklaying or building of an oven. It can be done. There are a lot of builders on the forum that this was their first WFO. So be sure to ask lots of questions, much easier to correct on paper the old sayin goes.
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    • #3
      Thats a good start. Because you have built it into a bank there is soil against the sides and back of the stand. This may/highly likely cause water wicking issues. If it were mine Iíd be sealing the top of the slab before the insulation layer goes on, with perhaps the kind of waterproof membrane used under tiles in bathroom installations. In addition to help water elimination from the oven and insulation drill some holes through the supporting slab to help moisture escape.
      Kindled with zeal and fired with passion.


      • #4
        Thanks gentlemen... the photo is deceiving. The base is not actually built into a bank... it sits flat on our sandy soil under a heaven duty foundation/footing. I use the word soil loosely. Average rainfall here is less than 3Ē... that said we had a 100 year flood last winter so sealing the slab is definitely in order. Also like the idea of weep holes... planning on drilling several small holes and screening them before I get rolliní.

        Getting supplies here can be a challenge. Iím 2 hours south of the US border. I can get delivery here but it gets expensive. We get mail in Yuma, AZ and have a shuttle that picks up 2 times a week... Costs are by the size of the package and weight, plus I pay a 18% duty to the Mexican government. I can go to Yuma and pick it up myself and not declare stuff, but then you have the cost of fuel. It is a full days journey round trip. We do have a Home Depot in Mexicali (2 hours north) and serveral small hardware stores here in San Felipe.

        Also, big thanks to all those that came before me... the time you all took to document your builds is soooo appreciated. Thank you also in advance for answers to questions that I know I will have. Iím a real handy guy... automotive technician and metal fabricator by trade, a complete scrounge and super resourceful. I have done a lot of home improvement stuff over the years. I have 2 major downfalls: I donít have a creative bone in my body and Iím an OCD perfectionist. I will have to learn to just let some stuff go and rely on others for the creativity aspects.

        One question, I built my stand 5 block (dry stacked) high and Iím curious if anyone else did the same and is sorry they did? There will be 2Ē of FB board then the floor. My buddy down the street has his at 4 brick dry stack and I worked the oven for him for a big, big party... It just felt too low for me, always bending over to work the pies.


        • #5
          My apologies, I misread your photo. Given your climate and it not being surrounded by soil, you wonít have water wicking issues.
          Kindled with zeal and fired with passion.


          • #6
            I was able to get the hand-me-down wet saw operational again and set up my cutting station. I used an old exterior door for the table and hinged it to my screened in porch supports. Donít worry about the screen getting destroyed, Iím replacing it when I finish anyway. The legs are part of the old door frame and the screws were from that tear out as well. I will do the layout work on a sheet of plywood I had laying around and it will double as a protection of the floor. I should have enough left over to make my arch templates. My ďITĒ will be fabricated from a real old satellite dish mounting system I removed from my roof. Might have to buy a piece of all thread to complete it. Told ya I was a scrounge.

            I need to pick up a fresh 10Ē blade for the POS saw... this old saw has built at least three ovens Iím aware of... sheís rough but should get it done. I will be staging the bricks under the table to keep them out of the sun... I picked one up that was in the sun all day and it was too hot to handle. Once I get the initial lay-out finished I plan to set this table/door up at the oven base and use it as a scaffold and cutting station. Iím also going to need to set up a shade structure over the oven... temps are really getting up there.

            One question?
            1) Iím planning on utilizing heat breaks... oven floor right at the outside edge of the inner arch... Is that ok or should I extend it further outward toward the outer arch?


            • #7
              Beautiful area and it will be a great project to be proud of for years to come. I'd say you're about right on on the number of bricks, even if you double up your floor. I put my bricks on the narrow edge in my 42" Pompeii to get more floor mass and I used about 300 for the whole thing, including the arch. Best of luck, and keep posting pictures!


              • #8
                Originally posted by tmjporter View Post
                I put my bricks on the narrow edge in my 42" Pompeii to get more floor mass and I used about 300 for the whole thing, including the arch. Best of luck, and keep posting pictures!
                I did consider the narrow edge but decided to just go with a standard layout due to wood being super scare here. Extra mass meaning more fuel Iím thinking. Hoping I have enough left over to line a built in BBQ next to the oven... always kinda wanted one of those too.

                I started to mock the floor out yesterday and found out that even though these bricks look beautiful they are not uniform. Close? Yes... but not close enough. I will have to sort through the lot to get a nice tight floor. Kinda funny I tried to lay it out on the base slab but it was just too flaming hot. 96f and 76% humidity. I lasted about an hour and went through a gallon of water. A good shade structure is going to be a must have. 2 more months of this weather.

                More pics to follow.
                Mikie V.


                • #9
                  A majority of the builds are just fine with the floor bricks on the flat rather than the side. Unless you are planning on heavy duty bread production then flat side up is good. Even though the saw is old it is MK which a a good quality brick saw. On the IT there are a few critical items that must be factored in.first, the pivot point needs to be as close as possible to the floor elevation (some builders put in a false wood brick to mount the IT to), second, the center line of the IT from the pivot point to the center line of the "L" bracket must intersect the brick at the exact horizontal middle point, third, the IT should be adjustable for length (in and out). Any high spots on the floor can be smooth out with a diamond cup wheel or a belt sander. This is to ensure there is no spots to catch the peel on.

                  Heat breaks, I like Gulf's "L" shape inner arch shape heat breaks. I placed my floor heat break right at the inner arch, does it make a difference, beats me. You still get a lot of radiant heat from the oven, heat break or not. The best advice is a good insulated door.
                  Last edited by UtahBeehiver; 07-27-2019, 09:08 AM.
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                  • #10
                    Thank you Utah for the tips on the IT... Thinking it will work out awesome... was thinking of sacrificing one fire brick and just attach the swivel directly to that and replace that brick with a good one.

                    So, been trying to lay out the floor and it just isnít working out... the further out I go the worse they fit together. Finally figured out that nearly every brick is out of square on one end... some as much as 1/16Ē. Only one end. The long sides and the other end are square. Iím going to try cutting an 1/8Ē off every bad end and try again... also found that the bricks are slightly convex on one side and concave on the other. I will put the concave side down for stability.


                    • #11
                      My dome brick were like that. I discovered that they were extruded. Not pressed like standard firebrick. I abandoned the idea for using them for the floor. The herringbone bone is pretty but, you will get the same performance by just laying them diagonal. That may save you from trimming so many ends.
                      Joe Watson, "A year from now, you will have wished that you had started today"
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                      • #12
                        Are the brick perfectly square, no, but I am not sure it is worth the effort to shave an 1/8" off (they are wire cut so they are not as perfect a a pressed fire brick). I would chose the very best bricks for the center of the floor, the gaps around the perimeter will fill themselves up with ash anyway. As far as convex or concave, I am not sure what floor insulation you are planning on using but depending of what you use, you can bed the firebricks with a mixture of 50% fireclay and sand, laid down with a 1/2" notched trowel (like you would laying ceramic tile), it may have to be dry mix in on top of CaSi board or a slurry if on top of p or vcrete. You do "not" mortar the floor down, it needs to move with the heat of the fire..
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                        • #13
                          Thank you Utah and Gulf for the rapid response... you just saved me a tremendous amount of time and grief. Before reading your posts I decided to make a jig to cut them all... ran a test of 6 brick and the results were substandard. Too much deflection on the blade cutting that little sliver. Tried it with a 8Ē blade and a 10Ē blade. No good.

                          Before I took apart the floor I ran a peel over them several times and it didnít catch at all. Man, I just have to have that herringbone pattern so Iíll just take the time to do the best I can with what I have. Might make some minor cuts as it gets out of whack... I will start in the middle and work my way out paying particular attention that they look good at the entry too. Guess Iím gonna have to let that perfectionist thing go a little or I will drive myself crazy.

                          Also the floor will sit on the board that our hosts, Forno Bravo sells. Gotta throw Ďem a bone as it were. I should have the board next week as Iím making a trip to my Yuma mail box... need to make a decision on mortar soon too. Probably home brew as I think I can get the lime and fire clay in AZ too. If not, Iíll have to bite the bullet and go the Heatstop route.

                          Thanks again,
                          Mikie V.


                          • #14
                            Well, got the floor laid out and cut. Overall, pretty satisfied. Im not thrilled about the couple little floor pieces, but they really arent there to do anything but look good. Hope they stay in place. I might just put the first course brick that is next to the little pieces a bit closer so they cant fall. Probably will go with 1/3 bricks on the second and go back to halves to keep the joints from lining up.

                            Went out to the base today and checked it for level... ugggh! It is far from level. What can I use to float it out to take out the imperfections. I have some stucco laying around if that would work. Worst spot is probably 5/32... maybe a bit more. I should have my FB board on Saturday... hoping so.

                            Tomorrow I will make my IT and then build the inner arch form. Feels good to get something accomplished.

                            Mikie V.


                            • #15
                              Imho, no need to go 1/3 this soon, just extra work. Are you talking concrete hearth out of level? You will be able to true up with 50/50 fire clay sand mix with 1/2"notched trowel just before laying AiSi board from FB
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