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Cutting bricks

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  • Cutting bricks

    So after hours and hours i nearly have the process of building a WFO thought out and have started ordering materials. Im still unsure about cutting the bricks. It seems that some people get away with using 1/2 bricks for the first 5 or so courses then go smaller while some people cut 1 angle on all the bricks and some go all out and cut every angle on every brick. I really cant see myself cutting every brick multiple times but is the an agreement on the what would be the least amount of cutting for the most reward?
    Im going to build a 40" hemisphere using a quick clamp and castor wheel as a guage.

    Thanks in advance for all the amazing help and time people put in to the forum.

  • #2
    Re: Cutting bricks

    You can build a perfectly good oven with half bricks. You can whomp 'em in half with a brick set if you're a mind to. That's how the plans were originally designed, with an angle iron over the door, and a lot of homebrew mortar to fill in the cracks.

    The cut-every-angle guys and gals get a lot of attention, but a half brick oven cooks just as well, even if it looks a little rough at the top of the dome.
    My geodesic oven project: part 1, part 2


    • #3
      Re: Cutting bricks

      My only concern, dmun, about using raw-shaped blocks is the obvious lack of an "arch-effect" near the apex. With such near-vertical bricks, my concern is obviously that the bricks will slide down, mortar or no mortar, ultimately falling out of the ceiling.

      A second concern I have is that large "wedges" of mortar might be extremely prone to cracking and failing.

      ...but I have no direct experience with the properties of brick mortar in general, or more specifically, of fire brick and refractory mortar.

      Are these concerns simply not warranted...or not *too* warranted? I mean, of all the ovens that have already been built, is it basically established at this point that nonwedge shaped bricks and large gaps of mortar will hold up these ovens with little risk of failure?

      If so, it's very tempting to go that route.

      WFO Webpage:


      • #4
        Re: Cutting bricks

        I used half bricks most of the way up, but I used the wet saw to nip the corners to eliminate the skinny triangles. The amount that I nipped off increased as the dome closed in. The inside doesn't look bad, and the outside has sizable mortar joints. Of course you won't see the outside after it is enclosed. I don't think you could nip the corners with a brick set.


        Member WFOAMBA Wood Fired Oven Amatueur Masons Builders America

        My thread:


        • #5
          Re: Cutting bricks

          I think you are missing a key point in dome construction. Your last brick in every course needs to fit pretty snug, much like a wedge "key" brick in an arch. You should have to gently tap that last brick into place. Properly done, it all should hold together without mortar or fancy cuts.
          But to be honest, I'm one of the "cut to fit" guys (little to no mortar side to side, and 1/4" between courses) and didn't want to test the theory.



          • #6
            Re: Cutting bricks

            Hi Gregg,
            I built mine with simply cut in half bricks in only days but the next one will incorporate 1/3 cut bricks for the top, say 3 chains. If you use a little imagination, you can cut through the bricks on a slight angle which will allow you to alternate the inside face edges with the smaller but angled bricks.
            Seeing as you are only 8-10 km away, give me a call and check my build using "poor man's mortar", hey we might even get the odd pizza cooked whilst you're here, but that might make it a little hot viewing the crackless inside of my 40" Pompeii.

            If you don't succeed the first time, try again and again until you get it right!


            • #7
              Re: Cutting bricks

              Awesome, thanks for the offer Rasty's. Ill PM you
              Cheers again


              • #8
                Re: Cutting bricks

                Hey 3G,
                For me, every brick to about the 8th chain was cut with about a 11 or 12 degree angle, flipping to make perfect circles.... with a chisel.

                At that point, I used the same angle cut and arched over the top, left to right with three thick 'bridge', then from back to the bridge, and bridge to the front ( arching) then just filled the four corners. Even if the mortar failed completely, nothing would fall in...

                I will say, most of the builds with smaller and smaller circular chains are much more impressive. When I was rationalizing the arch over the top method, I brazenly stated, " Heck, who is going to be looking up at my oven ceiling after we start using this thing!"...

                ... to which I will say now, well, every last person I have cooked pizza with, and myself, every time... looks up to see my oven ceiling 'go white'.... darn it!

                This may not be my last wood oven...


                • #9
                  Re: Cutting bricks

                  Thanks Lars. I like the idea of the 11 or 12 degree cut. Looks like a little extra effort but a better result. Ill try this method first and do a dry run and see how it goes.