Monday, February 8, 2016

Playing with blocks

Last week I picked up a dozen full sized and two half sized concrete blocks to mess around with the stand layout of the oven. If this is how winter is going to be, I might as well get going. This weekend was perfect play with blocks outside weather. I had three options in mind. I laid out the first one, Option A, kind of a horseshoe pattern. The tape measure in the picture represents the size of a 2 foot log to be stored under the oven.

I thought this might be a good layout if I were going to use full sized bricks on the outside to cover up the blocks. There is just about the exact amount of space full sized bricks to sit the on the foundation slab. The wall also hugs the electrical conduit. The downside with Option A is there is a lot of wasted space in the back.

Option B takes up a bigger foot print but allows more access to the back. Because the walls are close to the edge of the foundation slab, the blocks would have to be covered with a veneer, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. The electrical inlet might need a little protection but that should be easy enough to handle. Also, this set up is wider and I think forming up the slab the oven will rest on will be easier since it will be flush with the sides of the stand.

Option B1 is similar basically Option B but with the smaller foot print.

Option C is two “C” shapes of the left and right sides of the foundation slab – open in the front and back. I didn’t even set it up. After looking at Options A and B, I knew I didn’t want a straight flow of air under the oven. Wind mostly comes from the fence side of the pad. I could have added a wall in the middle, but that messed up the space for a two foot log.

Option B wins and it is kind of a relief to be able to focus on one layout now. When I was done, I stacked some blocks to look and the actual height of where the oven floor will be – 50 to 52 inches high. I’ve got to tell you, actually looking at the blocks is very different that looking at a scaled drawing. I was getting nervous at having to build the dome at that height. I’ll need to be on something, maybe a mini scaffold or bunch of small step ladders. To try and shake the nerves off, I broke out the arch I built out of wood a few months. It’s not centered and one of the glued joints is starting to fall apart. But that 2x4 is at the right height to represent the floor and the arch is a cross-section of the oven.

That view made me smile (even though one of my badly glued arch joins is failing) and brought me back to the task at hand. I found a supplier for the firebricks I want to use - Duke Concrete in Queensbury. It's a little bit of a haul but they are the only local supplier of Whitacre Greer low duty firebrick. All my research says that's the way to go, at least for the floor. Next step is finding the right used wet saw. I almost pulled the trigger on one, but I chickened out. And more planning. And reading. Lots of planning and reading.


  1. Jon:
    Thanks for making it snow.

    I'm happy for your progress, even if just temporary.

  2. Sorry about that. I did apologize for the snow in advance on Twitter last week, just before I bought the blocks.