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Jonny in Raleigh - WFO in progress...

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  • Jonny in Raleigh - WFO in progress...

    Hey Ya'll,

    I have followed the forum for quite a while and decided to build. My name is Jonny from Raleigh, NC. I bake a lot of bread and pizza, and can't wait to get this oven working...

    I have a 1-1/2 year old son and a lovely wife who didn't even look at me crazy when I told them about this massive project. The plan is to build the oven into the retaining wall and then put down a 800 sq ft paver patio and a sitting wall. I'd like to build some prep area on the sides and maybe a grill. I'll definitely be looking for design ideas in the forum.

    Here it goes:

    Step 1: Excavate 150 cubic yards of red clay from my sloped backyard to make a nice flat patio area. I contracted this out to an excavation crew, this definitely wasn't a job for the wheelbarrow.

    Step 2: Find a nice neighbor who has a massive ditch to fill

    We (my father-in-law, brother in law, and myself) then dug a 2' wide X ~12" deep footing, leveled it out with laser transom and drove grade stakes all the way around and tied the #5 rebar to those grade stakes. We set the first course directly on the footer when it was starting to cure. Just gave them a few taps and you could feel them bonding.

    Pouring the footing was rough, we had to hire a concrete pump and pumped it in. My advice is to stick with a 2" pump hose instead of 4". It was at least 200 pounds to lift once it was full with concrete. The upside of the 4" hose was that we could pour normal 3000psi mix with fiber mash, so it'll be nice and strong. We got the footing poured, but were about 1 yard of concrete short to pour a small footing for a sitting wall... I had to chop up about 100 bags to pour the hearth slab and that footing by hand in a wheelbarrow. It wasn't too bad. Also, the concrete truck was 1 hour late, so the pump man was standing around at $130 an hour... Ouch.

    Anyhow, I just couldn't get comfortable with a dry stack for the base as shown in the plans, so I built it with mortar like the rest of the wall and poured a few of the columns. You can see in the pics that I left a gap in between the stand and the wall, I drilled some 5/8 holes in the wall and made some small rebar pieces that tie into the hearth slab to make sure they won't move independently. Then, formed up the gap and poured the connector.

    Instead of using angle-iron, I decided to pour the arch like a lintel and the hearth slab all as one piece and it really came out looking nice. You can see in the pics that the top of the arch comes right up to the same height as the hearth slab form, making the 4" thickness at the top of the arch. I used 3/4" tongue and groove OSB for all the forms, which saved a lot of money, that stuff is only $9 a sheet.

    Once we had the arch formed up, we got the laser level and marked all four corners level and then snapped chalk lines all the way around. We used #4 cut nails to attach the forms to the blocks. It is amazing how well the cut-nails hold. You can see that there are no kickers to hold up the forms, just a 1x3 nailed off with cut nails at each corner and then the OSB was nailed off periodically. It was super strong.

    The end result looks really nice. I also tested out my mix for the scratch coat for the wall and scratched it with a pitchfork. That worked really well. That is going to be the surface that I am applying Tennessee field stone veneer to the wall and the oven. I'll probably house the top of the oven with 4x8 "skinny" CMUs and pour some sort of an arched concrete roof. Haven't decided yet.

    Now I need to think about how big to build the dome. The hearth slab is big, it turned out 80" deep by 72" wide. Does anyone have some advice on building larger domes, or should I stick with 42"?

  • #2
    Re: Jonny in Raleigh - WFO in progress...


    That's a major project you have on you hands. I can't wait to see the final pictures.

    See My Photos:

    My thread:


    • #3
      Re: Jonny in Raleigh - WFO in progress...

      Does anyone have some advice on building larger domes, or should I stick with 42"
      There's no earthly reason to build an oven any bigger than 42" unless you're running a commercial operation with multiple pizza makers.
      My geodesic oven project: part 1, part 2


      • #4
        Re: Jonny in Raleigh - WFO in progress...

        Hi there,

        OK, I made a model of my stand and where the floor will be in sketchup. I have lots of 2D autocad experience, but no 3D and have been looking for an excuse to learn Sketchup.

        The ID of the oven is 42" and the OD is around 50" in this drawing.

        This will leave a void of around 11" between the dome and the inside of the 4x8x16 stretchers that I'll be using to build the house around the dome.

        I used Dino's drawings as a guide. Anyone have any feedback about the 22" opening and 24" landing. I think that is what Dino ended up with in his build.




        • #5
          Re: Jonny in Raleigh - WFO in progress...

          Hi Jonny, nice set up you have planned for the oven build!
          My landing is as you said 22" wide (that's a 20" official entry into the dome and a 1" reveal on each side to equal 22") and then it grows or angles open to 25.5" wide over a 15" length or landing.

          My landing is at + 42.75" high off the ground. It sits 8" back from the front of the block stand. I plan on a 12" counter so that will have an 8" overhang for me to lean against while tending fires/pizza/bread. I mention this only because during my build we were wondering how this would work out for ease of reaching the back of the oven with tools. And now we've cooked 5 times in it, it's worked out just fine for me 5'-11" tall and my other half is 5'-8" and he's surprised how well he can reach anything in the oven too. No one thinks the oven is too tall or too far away.

          So unless your oven will sit higher or farther back, go for the larger landing. We really, really like it. It did make the vent transition bricks a challenge to narrow down to the 8" vent, but then again, that vent transition turned out incredibly well too. No smoke ever escapes.

          Good luck on your build, it will be fun to watch it. Thanks, 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


          • #6
            Re: Jonny in Raleigh - WFO in progress...

            Great, Thanks Dino. I really appreciate your feedback.

            Right now, the way the stand is sitting at 38" above grade, the final oven floor should be at ~43-44. That is a little higher than yours, hopefully it'll be OK. I don't want to skimp on the 4" of vermicrete. If I use some sort of ceramic board like you did, I could pull off 42". Hmmm.

            I followed your whole build and it was awesome. I got lots of ideas... I just can't imagine how much better the oven will turn out because of this forum.

            Thanks again--Jonny