From the Ground Up

The oven is taking form. It has been a bit intense around here for the past two weeks, to say the least. The weather has been chilly and wet-ish, so I guess we aren’t missing much. When I last posted, Tim was preparing the ground behind the bakery in preparation for the concrete footing. Now he’s out there fiddling with the last two rows of bricks that form the oven’s arch. (Needless to say, I am inside today baking cookies and writing blog posts). There were several steps in between pouring concrete and laying arch bricks: I’ll let the photos do the showing.

The concrete footing is poured - thanks to Dominique and Heather for the use of their mighty orange cement mixer!
The concrete footing is poured – thanks to Dominique and Heather for the use of their mighty orange cement mixer!
Tim and the first few layers of the concrete block plinth. Is he working or just drinking tea?
Tim and the first few layers of the concrete block plinth. Is he working or just drinking tea?
Is he working or…… ?
What is he DOING in there…… ?
Making the form for the concrete pad that the oven will sit on.
Making the form (or “shuttering” as Tim keeps insisting it is called) for the upper concrete pad – the one on top of which the oven will sit.
The oven's eye view of the inside of the bakery.
The oven’s eye view of the inside of the bakery.
Pouring concrete!
Pouring concrete! Luckily it didn’t rain on us that day, although just as we finished a big hail storm swept over and pitted the top of the concrete with little holes!
The weather forecast - let's get that roof built SOON.
The weather forecast – let’s get a roof built over the oven area SOON.
View from inside: the layers from the bottom up are concrete blocks, cement pad, foam glass insulation, cement backer board, the first layer of hearth bricks. All is dry under the new roof.
View (from inside the bakery) of the hearth bricks being laid. The ash slot is visible in front of the bricks. All is dry under the new roof.
The second layer of hearth bricks, and the ash slot just visible at the front of the oven.
The second layer of hearth bricks. Two layers of hearth bricks will increase the thermal mass of the oven. The hearth bricks are laid with fireclay between the layers, but no mortar between the bricks.
The oven walls finished, with the door frame in place as well.
The oven walls finished, with the door frame in place as well.
Tim, admiring his handiwork. Anyone who stops by for a visit gets a demonstration of the cantilevered door in action!
Tim, getting ready to start the arch. Anyone who stops by for a visit gets a demonstration of the counter-weighted door in action!
The structure viewed from the outside.
The structure viewed from the outside. The layers are, from the bottom up: concrete blocks, cement pad, foam glass insulation, cement backer board, bricks.
The first course of arch bricks getting put into place on top of the wooden form.
The first course of arch bricks getting put into place on top of the wooden form.
And look, it stays! Those Romans, eh?
Ta da! It stays up! Those Romans, eh? The arch bricks have no mortar between them on the inside edges.
The oven from the back, with almost finished arch.
The oven from the back, with an almost-finished arch.
The arch bricks as they come down to meet the doorway - each brick is custom fit! Needless to say, I am inside today baking cookies.
The arch bricks as they come down to meet the doorway – each brick is custom fit – no mortar!

 

8 thoughts on “From the Ground Up

  1. Hi guys – looks like you’re doing nice work there but why two layers of hearth bricks? Granted, it will increase the thermal mass and it will take an awful lot of heat to get it up to temperature. I wonder what it will do to bottom heat and top heat if you have a different mass at the bottom from what your dome and wall mass is?

    1. Hi Roman,
      Thanks for the wonderful mentoring last week. I hope it doesn’t take me a full 10 years to have an operation as slick as The Red Rooster Artisan Bakery! 😉
      We have strayed from the Alan Scott design in this one way: our bottom layer of insulation is on TOP of the concrete pad, not underneath it, so our thermal mass on the bottom is just the two layers of brick. That should be fairly equal to the one layer of brick plus concrete cladding on the top.
      We’ll let you know how well it works. (I am not even considering the alternative!)
      Cheers,
      Kate

  2. Just read those temperatures? Looks like summer in Wells this year is colder than Augusta in Winter at the moment. It all looks amazing. The arch is impressive to a professional sandcastle builder. Sol, my 4 year old, just said “WOW”. Amber x

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