Hearth Insulation, Oven Floor, First Course and Sand Form Completed

These past two days have been really productive. Since returning from Florida, I’ve been able to work without any waiting around for supplies. You can see from the images that I cut the insulation and laid that down on the concrete hearth directly. It is a strange material- Like heavy compressed Paper Pulp. I cut it using the band saw of our dear, generous neighbor (Greg). Next I laid down a 1/4″ layer of sand and fire clay with some water to bring it to the consistency of a mortar. This allows for some fine-tune leveling of the oven floor.

You can see the pattern is Herringbone, meaning that it will be less likely to cause problems with a pizza peel passing across it, since none of the seams last for more than 9″ (the length of a single brick). I am not sure if my bricks have more damaged edges than average, but I feel like there are a lot of little channels created by the seams around less than perfect edges. Maybe I’ve never noticed this on other ovens because the floor is always somewhat hidden inside a chamber.

Next I charted the layout of the first course of bricks and the oven opening and then cut down the outside edge of the floor to fit the base of the dome. I did this so that the blanket insulation can come all the way down to the hearth floor, decreasing even further any heat loss.

Buttering my first course of bricks was a bit nerve racking but I think I am getting the hang of it. The inside edges look pretty clear and square, which is all that matters. The work will become more and more technically demanding as I progress toward the top of the dome. I was careful to keep the mortar wet after it had been applied and packed it down into the cracks between angled bricks so that there are no air pockets.

Next I finally got to make use of my sand pile by filling in the oven chamber and shaping it with my profiling tool. It looks pretty good, though I am worried about not being able to see exactly how the second course lines up with the first– that is the drawback of the ‘blind’ approach.


About bikedrumtao

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