The Mud Oven Diary pt1 – Layout of the oven footprint & Brick cleanup


I guess this is one way to keep this blog active, since there will be many steps in this build. Starting another separate blog crossed my mind but then Erik would probably implore me to move it back here like the pressed concrete walk through on CT. I’ll only mention his name once this time..I think he got freaked by being on the spot in the last post. Don’t worry dude, I’m not a stalker!

After considering what a new blog might provoke,  I have decided to keep it here and make it a regular part of Stone Soup. The frequency of the posts will correlate with my efforts to try and give you a sense of being here working on it with me.  Sometimes there might be bunch of entries in a week and other times….not.  I will still be doing other posts too, but the main content will most likely be related to this build until I finish it. Then I’ll probably have to start a wood fired cooking blog after that! Additionally, there is plenty of stone work coming up and for the first time,  some granite carving.

Buckle up…. because we are going to see just how deep the rabbit hole goes.  Hopefully once this starts I won’t be thinking, ” Why oh why didn’t I take the Blue pill?!”.

Shortly after I posted about my intentions about building an earth oven, I went outside to hash out an oven location with Mellissa. She always describes these sessions like giving birth…the process is painful but the end result is worth it. Both of our patience limits are tested during this phase, but we always make it through somehow.

I used  a  layout square and a straight edge for figuring the footprint of the oven before it was staked out. Once we both were satisfied with how the oven would sit ( in record time I might add) I staked out the corners for the footings.

The footings will be 3′ x 3′ x 3′….I want to be sure they will carry the weight of the oven and not settle out. I’m not sure when I will be able to dig and pour the piers but it will be soon.  I am making my own concrete for this part too. Each footer will contain 1 cu yard of concrete and the psi will be 2500 – 3500 depending on my cement ratio.

                                       Staked out oven footprint

Today ( the 25th )  I was getting the brick cleaned up and sorted. These are some beautiful  reclaimed bricks from a building in Charleston which were used in a fireplace close by. They had to be removed when I remodeled the fireplace and I traded labor for the bricks. You simply can’t replicate the character of antique brick like this. I think they will look great and blend with the stone nicely because they are more like stone in shape and texture than brick.

 The Banker Table will get a workout on this project! Time to clean up the antique brick.

The original mortar used was lime only and the other masons had used lath and a modified cement mortar to fix them to the brick. I got all the lath off during demo but I’ll still have to chip off the remaining cement mortar.  Somehow, the lime staining doesn’t bother me but the grey mortar does.

                  Here are some shots during the chipping and brushing.

                       Look at the character of this handmade brick!

This stack is around 50 bricks and I did another 50 after taking this pic…..I still have quite a few to go!

I am not going to bother tracking my time on this. Mainly because it doesn’t matter, second I don’t really care. Going fast doesn’t matter if I ruin brick or stone or make a mistake while building. Did I mention I don’t care?

Mellissa asked me yesterday if she was going to be a  P.O.W. again (that’s  Pizza Oven Widow) in this house. My answer, ” Yeah, but remember how great it was when we had the oven?”  Her reply ” I do and I was kidding”.  Man, I love her!

I’ll check in soon…maybe I’ll cut some stone next. After all the brick is done of course.

  1. MzunguEriki

    those bricks look even worse than ours! I just tore down a piggery i built 25 years ago. Yea cement based mortar looks bad. Strange but no one would give me much for old hand made bricks here! I will use them as very rough pavers on my new road.

    3′square footers! Well i guess you are putting alot of stone on there…. I wouldn’t know how to calculate that anyway.

    still glued to the screen waiting for this project.

  2. Matt Sevigny
    Matt Sevigny07-30-2012

    Worse?!! I think these are so cool! They could be stone because of the irregularity.

    3′ square footings are probably overkill. But I want peace of mind after I build the base and not obsess if it will hold. It may seem like a waste to some but I would rather overbuild than have a failure.

    I’ll give you the disclaimer again….this will be a reeeeal slow process because I can’t devote a lot of time to it. Lots to do yet before any building gets done!

  3. MzunguEriki

    Around here everyone asks me if i cant make machine made clay bricks. They have carried a sample back from Europe of perfectly formed brick. So your holy grail of bricks is different.

    Yeah overkill is good for piece of mind, especially on something “new”.

  4. Matt Sevigny
    Matt Sevigny07-31-2012

    My reply to those that asked about machine made bricks would be ‘why the heck do I want those when I have these?!’

    You lost me with the holy grail reference..

  5. Mellissa Sevigny
    Mellissa Sevigny08-03-2012

    Sorry I didn’t get to this post sooner – we did manage to hash that out pretty quickly!! See how fast it goes when you let me have my way?! ;) Can’t wait until it’s finished and we’re using it! XO

  6. Matt Sevigny
    Matt Sevigny08-05-2012

    Me too!

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