John's Brick Oven Folly

December 2010 Brick oven progress

Ok I was tempted to just leave the screen white, (as in a blizzard white out) But a picture is worth a thousand words! 

 Everyone stay warm and dry!

Needless to say, outdoor work will wait until the spring thaw... still design work and details will be on-going during these cooler months! I will also be working on pizza dough and bread recipes! Ciao!

Sept. October, November Dec. 2010 - John's Brick Oven Folly

Welcome back to the continuing Saga of John's Brick Oven Folly!

Well the oven construction is at a total stand still as electrical trenching and hook up needed to be done! It felt like I ran the conduit close to China as the trench felt like it was dug 24 miles down and not 24" down!
But the result is a safe/per code installation of a street lamp post and electrical supply for the oven lights and counter outlets for the Margarita mixer! 

The inspector was very Happy!

Now that the retaining walls are built,with proper drainage rock and pipe. We will see this winter, how they hold up with the freezing and thawing!
As you can see,these walls were VERY important to complete! Gave me an instant rest area!
LOL I hope the wife isn't looking while a take a short nap!

Now that the 3/4" processed stone is all taken care of, leveled and sloped for drainage. I need approval from one of my Wife's foster spies!

Calvin was such a joy to have around, he just needed some payola (dingos) and he never told my wife about my naps!

I guess it is time to start sacking blocks for the oven base! Taking Mario's idea and having two compartments under the base was an excellent idea. I liked it so much I copied it! :)

Here we go with the base build, The two compartments, not only afford separate areas and the convienence of not tunneling in to a deep area for whatever is stored in those areas.  But it also provides a center support for the oven slab. I opted for no ash dump (I hope I do not regret this move)

This was the first stacking attempt, no center support but rear access. The left side column is for the counter support. I just wish I had room for a counter on the right side also! The right side slab will be for more wood storage. (that may change over time)

I ultimately put in a center row of block and also the rear entrance I took out the top blocks and spanned the opening with the slab for the hearth! Thought I had some picks before the hearth slab was poured. Lets see what October brings!

October- 2010 

Now it is starting to get cool too quickly! Although it is a welcome break from the torrid summer we had this year!
The block was anchored with pouring  cement into every other column of block that also contains a piece of rebar. Once this set and cured, the stand is not going any where without a small nuclear device going off inside of it!
Some More rebar work on top of the cement board, get the angle grinder to fine tune the fortress!

Here is the top of the stand with forms in place. I used cement board for a bottom, with blocks and beams supporting everything.
A pallet of 60 - 60lb bags of concrete was delivered and was waiting for the final rebar placements. (don't pay attention to the guy stuck in the cement block on the left picture! )

Here is a side view showing the rear compartment  and the 2*8 support making an integrated lintel of the stand slab. I think I put enough rebar in to support the new freedom tower!

The Electrical work was ruffed in and ready for the pour! Constantly checking level and securing rebar keeping it an inch. off the cement board and an inch. below the top of the forms.
Now my wife is ready to do some serious concrete work! Stand back there is no stopping her! :) So I realized I couldn't mix , pour,screed and float the cement slab by myself... So my wife volunteered the neighbor Nick to help me while she got a manicure! Thank you Darlin!                                                          
Back View of stand, notice the supervisor in the background! She won't let anything get by her!

Well here is the finished stand with slab all done! MANY THANKS to Nick who my wife roped into this folly! Thanks Nick! The pipes standing up on the left side are for electrical wiring and thermocouple wires. The colunm on the left is the support for the counter top. There are still some blocks under that I used to support the cement board while the slab cures.

Here is a picture of the completed oven! Yahoo! Pizza Time!  I guess it is time to do some pavers! See you in Novenmber!

  • Cold November Winds are starting to Blow!

    Well I need to get my butt in gear to complete the patio area before the snow flies!  If that gets completed then I will be done until the temps rise again above freezing!
    Two and a half pallets of pavers, seven truck loads of stone dust and I am ready to rumble! Or is that rubble?

    I think my knees will hate me before I finish!

    The start is always the easy part,  now comes the continuing parts of the puzzle!

    And another piece of the puzzle gets completed!

    Slowly But Surely the pieces are fitting together. Of course the 10" brick saw I got for the project is making things fit easier!
    Oh, and did I mention it is getting cold? The wet saw is definitely a summer tool!

    My slow pace and shoddy craftsmanship has finally paid off! The supervisor fired me and took things into her own hands!  Yippee!!!!

    Yes sir, yes mame, lets pose for the camera and look all pretty like!

    I know you are pretending that my head is under that rock!

    Time to sweep in the joint sand and lock everything together!

    Finished Patio, just before

    the temps got toooooooo cold!!

    Stay Tuned for the December Update!

June, July, August 2010 - John's Brick Oven Folly

JUNE, 2010 -         Ok, We are starting on another adventure,(adventure- another word for home projects)We almost have the last adventure completed, deck rebuild, and we are off onto another adventure without pausing for a deep breath!

Well I am resigned to agree with the architect and planner (aka-Linda my loving and sweet wife that puts up with me)
as to the location of our new wood fired brick oven.


The following pics are her personal choice, which after much deliberation I finally agreed with her perfect pick! Here are some pics of the site

Now I need to get busy with laying out the area for the excavator! Ok, I now realize the importance of morning shade in the brick oven area!
As you can see the orange paint is the outline for the dig at hand. How hard could this be with heavy equipment and good friends to boot!
My Neighbor and friend Nick has a friend with a backhoe/front loader! Whoo Hooo! Bring it on!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Here comes the cavalry!!!!! Lets Rock and Roll ...... but as we found out it was way more rock than roll!    Oh I mean we found many many many Huge New Hampshire potatoes! (aka Granite Rocks)    Ok who has an oven big enough to bake this tater? I have a 20 pound tub of butter!    Ok, are we working or just watching the big orange machine flex its muscles?                                                                                           
Yep whenever there is machinery involved there are plenty of supervisors! btw talking about supervisors - where is my wife? :)
Looks Good Enough for One Days work! 

July, 2010 - Well after the big push with friends and machinery, the mundane tasks need to be performed. As you can tell with the absence of posting, it is a one man show again. With temperatures in the 90+ category for the month of July, digging the trenches to set the drain pipe in wasn't the vacation I thought it would be! Trenches dug for the drain pipes and electrical pipes. And the retaining wall footing, dug with a design definition in mind. (my lovely wife's mind. :) ) 
I did recruit a volunteer and we set out to install a drainage system. Here is my good friend and buddy Dean!
With his help we managed to install the drain pipe and cover them with fabric to keep the dirt out.
First pipe is always the easiest! You can tell because we are still smiling for the camera! LOL
Now we are getting down to business, Dean is skillfully covering the drainage pipe with fabric to keep the dirt from clogging the pipe for years to come.
Great Job Dean!!
Well I picked the hottest summer to build a brick oven, that in and of itself should be all that needs to be said about my judgment! Anyway we are at the end of July now and I think I drank the Atlantic ocean to stay hydrated.

So the latest progress has been the retaining wall that will horseshoe around the patio. (opposite the brick oven) The weather has been hot and muggy this year, oh and btw did I mention it has been HOT and MUGGY!
Somehow the heat does not speed things up at all. But I still need to continue before I am worrying about freezing temps!

A close up of the wall with some caps installed. The wall is tan with some gray throughout. The caps are a matching gray accent color, I love the architect/planner! 

 August-2010 "The Folly"

I missed a pic from early July, thought showing the mess and confusion would make others feel more at ease!

Ok, so the smile on my face is from the heat getting to me! I think the stairs also made me smile because now I don't have to walk around the entire area to get in and out! (yep I am basically lazy!)

 Well after many small digs, as in need to trench out the electrical conduits, needed to dig holes for the foundation piles. Now one would think the back hoe would have gotten all the rocks... nooooooooooooooo way! My wife thinks I am crazy for buying anything stone with all the rock we have found!

Ok, so now we wait for the cement truck with 2 yards of concrete! It is due this Wed. 8:30 to 9:30 am. So if I see it anytime before noon I will consider myself, blessed! After the slab is poured the planner/architect (my Wife!) wants the patio stone work done and made all pretty. I am leaning towards getting it all ready for sand & pavers, then building the oven stand and hearth. Lots of mixing, moving, pouring and handling of wet cement. I am afraid (read that as VERY Afraid) of ruining the pavers with slop from the cement mixer.

Ok, Cement Truck came and almost got close enough to pour the entire slab without shoveling. Well cement isn't like horseshoes, close isn't good enough! Myself and a good friend (who may never speak to me again!) Michael are finishing the edges after a hectic morning of shoveling, pulling cement with a hoe and leveling.