My last masonry build.... Oven

Discussion in 'Brick Smokers' started by wes w, Jun 29, 2015.

  1. wes w

    wes w Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I trust everyone had a great day.

    Its been a busy few weeks.   

    My goal was to complete this project by the time our youngest son got out of the Marines.  It was complete, but due to weather we celebrated this past week-end with a party.  13 pizzas and a great time with our closest friends.   

    Before I begin,  I will not give a  complete details rundown like the smoker.   I got these plans from a "mate" for a donation of 30.00.  His website is Traditional Ovens.   A lot of info on his site, but for the donation, he'll send you about 3000 pictures of 3 different builds. He also provides you with detail specs and material list.   My rundown will be a brief description.  I only feel it fair to the gentleman I got the plans from.   If you happen to have  "The Bread Builders"  book, it is very similar in every way.   I do better with pictures then a book, that why I chose to give $30.00.

    It begin with a square hole,  1/2in. rebar on a 1 foot grid.   

    Poured 10in. of concrete into the hole.   You may ask, why so much concrete.   The footing is the one thing that can't be fixed if it fails.   My rough guess of the weight of this oven to be around  6000 lbs.   Over kill maybe,but my footing will not give way.

    Ok Dave, another perfectly square footing.   Dug most of it with a square point shovel if that tells you anything as to how soft it is.    Not a good mix of earth here.  One reason why the footing needs to be thick.  Soft on one side, hard on the other.   

    Well, it all starts with a hole in the ground.  For me, the bottom of the footing has to be 16 in. deep.   The conduit is the power going to the smoker.  

    Footing poured and block are complete.   Ran short on block so I had to go to the local box store and get a few more.  All they had were the heavy ass concrete block....

    Pouring of the top.   As you can tell I build knock down supports under it till it sets.   I left them in until I was ready to start the brick.   I used simple tile board for the base to pour on.  It worked well, but I did hold my breath for a few hours.   About 1 yard of concrete for the top.  

    I thought I had a couple pictures of the hearth being laid.  I was wrong.   Here, my forms are in place to pour the outer edge so I can start the dome.  

    Here you can see the hearth.  They are laid side by side.  No fire clay involved.   

    They arch has begun.   Not perfect, but it works.   All points touch, only fire clay in the open part of the joint.   

    Not sure why the color is so goofy, but the vault is complete and the opening arch is complete.

    Inside view

        The brick in the vault have to be able to move under intense heat.   To make this happen you have to provide a barrier.    The vault is wrapped in foil.  This keeps access water out of the firebrick and it keeps the concrete cladding from sticking to the vault.  

    Concrete cladding.   The more you have the better heat storage you have.  Mine is 6in thick.   Another yard and half  of concrete.

    Forms are off, starting to look really cool now.

    Due to weather and just being lazy,  by the time I started laying brick,  it had been 45 days so I started curing the oven.  Very small fires at a time.  A little hotter each day.

    Ready to start the storage arch.   I poured these outside piers.   These rock are 16in. long.  A lot more weight then brick.  I didn't want to take a chance of it pushing so I poured the outside just to be safe.  I also left this form in until I had laid over them.

    Forming for the outside hearth.   After going to several granite top places I found the perfect used granite top.   

    Form for the 2in. clean out.  Ready to pour

    Poured the base flat.  I'm ready for the granite top.

    For a few beers, I got a few neighbors to help be set the top.   

    A view of the clean out.  

    Secondary arch complete

    Outside arch complete

    I'm ready to start stepping it in to the flue

    Stepped down to set the flue liner

    Getting closer...

    Vermiculite in all voids

    Brick are ready for the roof system.

    Mixture of vermiculite and concrete to make a nice 6 in. of insulation.   Before I put the roof on, I also poured about 3 in. of dry vermiculite over the whole dome.

    Being paranoid,  I used some old metal studs I had for my roof system.

    Roof system complete.   Wood trim complete.     We plan to have a plaque made in honor of our son that will mount in the middle.

    White hot.   Its time to make pizza...

    I made my oven 8in wider then what was spec.   I like the coals on the side instead of back.   That way I can see what the crust is doing.    I'll see if I can get some product pictures from our guest.   The party was a big hit.

    If you have questions please ask.    

    I hope this isn't out of line.  I know we are a smoking site, but the art of brickwork ovens and brick smokers to me go hand in hand.   

    Cheers my friends.    

    Last edited: Jun 30, 2015
  2. That is outstanding! A dream of mine for sure! Any reason you went this style over igloo? I'm struggling with the decision.
  3. moikel

    moikel Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    That's a hell,of a build. The way you staged the vault down is really clever also way less work than the Alan Scott method .It also takes that steel lintel out of the equation.
    It's the sort of oven you would expect to see at fancy smancy cellar door or high end restaurant.
    The granite bench is a nice finishing touch.
    You are really neat mason.This is really great demonstration of old school skill.
    I like the shape,I assume it's easier to build than the full dome version which has a lot of cutting & shaping of bricks.
  4. moikel

    moikel Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Do you have any photos of the staging down to the door?

    I assume you just come in a brick at the sides & use a smaller form for the arch.

    Do you just butt the bricks up?I am just having trouble seeing it in my head, even on no wine tuesday[​IMG]

    Hell of a build mate [​IMG]its an oven that will last generations.

    Its got a bit of a bread oven look to  it. You could turn out some great rustic bread. 
  5. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    The plaque will be a nice touch.... AND...... you still dig the most anal, square holes I have ever seen... I almost forgot... the oven is gorgeous... You are aces my friend.....

  6. nozzleman

    nozzleman Smoking Fanatic

    Absolutely amazing, I would die for something like this and even better to be able to do it myself. I congratulate you on a job well done.

    PS: I'm really jealous.
  7. dbga

    dbga Newbie

    I have been waiting to see this and I can say it was worth the wait. Excellent job Wes.
    Thumbs UpThumbs Up
  8. moikel

    moikel Master of the Pit OTBS Member

     To all the people who are looking at this build & thinking I could never do that,hold the bus.

    Wes is an artisan with bricks.[​IMG] The rest of us can build in masonry that won't be as pretty but the food will taste the same if the fundamentals are sound.

    Its about hearth,dome to door height ratio,thermal mass & right internal bricks.

    The structure supporting underneath is basic construction methods. By the time you get to the oven you should have warmed up your bricklaying arm ready to do arches.[​IMG]  
  9. foamheart

    foamheart Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I am impressed Wes. Course anyone that sees it would be. I love the idea of the granite counter top, and I really like the idea its repurposed.  

    So when do we start seeing some new artisan bread recipes? Some nice crusty peasant bread? French Baguettes? Have you figured how many standard loaves you can bake in a single setting?

    Is your returning son a baker? I know he'll enjoy his chance to spend time with his Dad out by the bricks. And please tell him Thank you, we all appreciate his service. People like him allow us to be what we want to be. Thats a great thing.

    Maybe a simple gold star on that plaque my friend.

    Its beautiful work, wish I could sit with you while you built it and learn. Really amazing. You going to start putting down the pavers soon? Might as well run power & water and put in a bathroom and a wet bar. <Chuckles> A nice place for a hammock?
  10. wes w

    wes w Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Thanks for the kind words Blade.

    The barrel style is by far simplier to build.   My goal is to learn how to make bread.  The  barrel style has a lot more floor space compared to the igloo style.    The nice thing about this build is,  you can fire it tonight  to 700F for pizza and in the morning it will still be hot enough to bake bread at 450 - 500F.   It has mass to store heat and insulation to keep it in.  After your done with pizza, simply  pull the coals out and put your water soaked door in place and all the heat stays in.

    If you looking to just making pizzas, you wouldn't need anything near the mass of concrete that is in this build.
  11. jp61

    jp61 Master of the Pit ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    [​IMG]  Wes, you do absolutely beautiful work!!!

    Have not forgotten...... Semper Fi
  12. I love bread baking, I do about 10 different types/styles. Let me know if I can help with anything!
  13. wes w

    wes w Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Thanks Mick,

    I do not have any personal pictures of the staging.   The back side of the entrance arch brick are cut on a 45 degree angle to slope it toward the opening.  Its kinda hard to explain

    The vertical brick that start the arch are dry laid.   

    Thank you for your kind words.   My goal is bread.   I have tried  Italian bread, but I always get in a hurry and it never turns out right.   The nice thing about bread is its pretty cheap to experiment with.   

    I have had several folks already ask to use it to bake bread.   I really want to learn this art.   
  14. wes w

    wes w Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Thank you Dave.     Hope you all are doing well.   
  15. wes w

    wes w Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Noz, you can do it yourself.   If this broke down man can do it, anyone can.   First you have to try.   Its not hard, it just takes time

    Thank you for your kind words sir
  16. wes w

    wes w Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Thank you for the kind words DB
  17. wes w

    wes w Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    You are correct Mick.    Anyone can do this.   I'm not sure about the artisan part though.   To be neat and clean you have to take your time.    This oven if far from perfect but the internal works are what matters. 

    Arches are very simple.  The nice thing is, as soon as you finish a arch you pull the form.   Everything is self supporting,  it will not move.   Of course you have to be careful, but it won't fall.

    In the best ovens  the vault should be not over 16 in. tall internal.    The entrance not over 10 in.   The oven can be as big as you want as long as you follow this rule

    Thank you for your kind words sir!
  18. wes w

    wes w Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Thank you for the kind words Kevin.   I'm working on the bread.  I only wish all my smoking friends lived closer.   I'm a slow learner, but it will come with time.   LOL, I have no idea how many loaves of bread will fit in this thing.   The hearth is about 48 in x 48 in.    

    Our youngest son was a chef in the Marines.   He started out baking and worked his way up the running the show.   He loves to cook and has helped me perfect my pork rub.  The base is Jeffs, but  he added a few things to make it awesome!     He is grateful for you folks who stood behind him.   Thank you!

    Thank you sir,   I'd love to sit with any of you kind folks.    Open a fresh quart and talk about life.   My wife has informed me that the deck area my take a couple years.   I do plan to finish the storage floor.   The deck will be level with that and connect with the fireplace and smoker.     Sir, the bathroom is all around me and I'm never to far from a good shot of shine.  :)
  19. wes w

    wes w Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Thank you for the kind words JP

    Semper Fi.....
  20. wes w

    wes w Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Thanks Blade.  I may take you up on that.   I've never done it before.  I remember my Mother making the best.  She only had a oven but it was so good.   Any leftovers she would make Cinnamon rolls.  They were just awesome!

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