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Dave's Up North WFO - Forno Bravo Forum: The Wood-Fired Oven Community


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Dave's Up North WFO

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  • Dave's Up North WFO

    Hi everyone,

    I am finally starting my oven after scouring these forums for months. I will be putting my oven up at my cottage because that where I do some of my best cooking. I decided to go with the 36" oven as per the Forno Bravo Plans, and I just started my clearing a spot for my foundation last weekend as there was trees in the way.
    I want to do a floating slag dug down about 2 ft and have 1 ft of gravel and 1 ft of cement rather than doing any type of footer if possible. I am not sure if this is a good idea though as our frost line seems to be 3-4 ft. I would appriciate any suggestions as I dont want to build it and have it shift in the winter, but if I can get away without footers that would save some much needed time and money. Please let me know what ypu think, and I will update with pics on my build. Thank you to all for the great intel this forums brings

  • #2
    Re: Dave's Up North WFO

    Dave - good luck to you and congrats on starting your oven build....
    I'm in Concord, Ontario and planning to start the build of a 42" Pompeii in the next couple of weeks. I've been delayed because I had planned on 5" gravel and 5" cement floating slab with maybe a couple of sono tubes as footing thrown in.... BUT.. my contractor brother-in-law put his foot down and said if he was going to help (and I need his help) it had to be done right.
    He feels without proper footings below frost level, you take a big chance of ruining all your work by having it heave with the frost. I know some on this forum living in our Northern climes have taken that chance..... but some of those builds have been next to a house (with I'm assuming excellent drainage and less exposure to the elements). I'm not willing to put out the effort and money and risk having it all screwed up by frost heave.
    I'm planning on digging down 4.5' - then putting down 12" cement footings and building a block wall up from there and backfilling.
    You said you're building in cottage country?? Should be someone up there, outside the city with a Kuboda can come in and dig your footings out for you fairly cheap.
    It is a LOT more work, but it is the right way for our part of the world.
    My two cents (and so says my brother-in-law)


    • #3
      Re: Dave's Up North WFO

      Thanks Majic, you sold me on the footers, I guess I was just trying to get away from digging to the center of the earth, but like you said its necessary, and at least I'll be able to sleep at night.


      • #4
        Re: Dave's Up North WFO

        I live in Michigan, a similar climate. I dug deep. I did it by hand with a shovel. It wasn't too bad, and now have peace of mind.
        Mike - Saginaw, MI

        Picasa Web Album
        My oven build thread


        • #5
          Re: Dave's Up North WFO

          Hi Guys, Just got back from a nice weekend at the cottage and we got a lot done. My Cousin came up with me to help me haul firebrick and cinder blocks (he is also a handyman extraordinaire) We finished digging down 2ft and were going to go 2 more ft. for the footers but we hit rock in all corners. We went to go get a jack hammer and the rental place told us to just lay the footers on the rock and we should be fine.
          We back filled the whole with about 15inches of gravel and poured the footers with re bar down the core and joining all footers. We had some time to put in the forms for the base and with any luck I may get it done next week.

          Nice footers mfiore, I don't think your oven is going to move anytime soon

          defiantly glad I put the footers in Majic31, now I can sleep at night....for now at least.

          Here are some pics of the build, enjoy and thanks to everyone for the great advice. Also found a great firebrick and refractory supplier thanks to Joe. If anyone needs one in my area pm me, very knowledgeable about wood fired ovens.


          • #6
            Re: Dave's Up North WFO

            We finished digging down 2ft and were going to go 2 more ft. for the footers but we hit rock in all corners.
            You cannot do any better than building on bedrock. It's why the skyscrapers are in midtown and downtown Manhattan: That's where the bedrock is near the surface.

            For the record, if your crushed stone bed is well drained, it works well for building on a slab. If the water is drained from the footings, there is nothing to freeze and heave. Far northerners may want to look at this site, for frost protected shallow footings:
            ESB: Frost-Protected Shallow Foundations
            The Canadians should know something about frost heave.
            My geodesic oven project: part 1, part 2


            • #7
              Re: Dave's Up North WFO

              Hi Guys, I haven't posted pics in a while, but I have made some serious progress with my oven, or stand rather. Over the past couple weeks I have built up the stand. I decided to mortar the blocks together rather than dry stacking, it gave me some practice with mortar and helped me level out some uneven spots. The key is to use lots of mortar and let it squeeze out, from my experience at least.

              The angle iron I used is 3/8" as per the plan and let me tell you that stuff is strong. I had trouble finding it until a buddy told me about a place called metal supermarkets (great store) cost $40 for the 2 pieces cut.

              I ended up pouring all the cores almost up to the top with re bar in every second one and in the corners so it is defiantly not going anywhere.

              I also have cut all the re bar and placed it where I think it should go. Can someone tell me if this is OK (too much, not enough)

              Here's some pics, I won't be working on it for about 2 weeks, so tons of planning to do I suppose. Any comments are greatly appreciated

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              • #8
                Re: Dave's Up North WFO

                WOW - that's a lot of steel. I think you are going to be way fine. Just remember to rise it up to the middle of your pour.

                Looking good.

                Check out my pictures here:

                If at first you don't succeed... Skydiving isn't for you.


                • #9
                  Re: Dave's Up North WFO

                  Wronguy (I still laugh at your Forum name every time I see it),

                  Nice steel and brick work. I had almost as much in mine. Your base and oven is going to be really strong. I think this bodes well for the quality of oven brick work we'll be seeing later on. I like seeing freestanding ovens surrounded by landscape. Can't wait to see next parts. Good work, -Dino
                  "Life is a banquet and most poor sons-of-bitches are starving to death." -Auntie Mame

                  View My Picasa Web Album UPDATED oct

                  My Oven Costs Spreadsheet

                  My Oven Thread


                  • #10
                    Re: Dave's Up North WFO

                    Hi Guys, I haven't had very much time lately to work on my oven or post pictures, but I do have a little progress to show everyone, but I can't seem to find my camera, when I do I will post away. Thanks Dino and Les for your kind words, and Thanks to Pizza Bob for some clarification and great pics.