Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Summer Project #1 Commences: Wood-Fired Oven

Spring is finally springing...time to get outside and get started on some fun stuff!

I think I've spoken before about how I get antsy when I don't have at least a couple of house projects in the works. Fortunately, even at 3 years present and accounted for here at Modern in MN and despite what I would call a fairly steady rate of dispatch with all manner of projects and finish-ups, I'm still managing to maintain a page-long list of items on my agenda for both indoors and out.
This one's been burning a hole in my brain since last fall...or technically, I guess it's been burning a hole in my brain for the last ten years or so. It's one of the few things from my kitchen wish-list that I didn't manage to pull off, and while it's not happening indoors, as of this past weekend, I'm on my way to having my very own wood-fired oven on the patio.

I'm following the downloadable instructions and friendly advice available at fornobravo.com, for the Pompeii oven and I can almost taste the deliciousness that shall (hopefully) issue forth already. Pizza anyone?

On Saturday, Boy and I got busy running our trusty shovels, stripping the sod and leveling a ~6' x 7' area next to our patio in preparation for footings and a foundation slab. It doesn't sound like much, but we've got crazy hard clay soil and it was slow going, that digging business. Once again I found myself insane with jealousy over those warm climate places where the work and expense of 48" frost footings would be unnecessary.
Anyway, fast forward about a half day's worth of dirt and sod moving, and another half day with the post hole digger and some bagged concrete mix, and we've managed some footings to support the 6" reinforced concrete slab upon which the actual oven project will commence.
woof fired oven footings

On Monday I spent a couple of hours with power tools and a hammer and got the formwork set. Now it's just a little more sand and gravel and finding some more free time and we're ready to pour, and THEN the fun begins!

In the interest of full disclosure, I should point out that I'm not exactly doing things by the cold-climate building book. I made the executive decision to take a shortcut with the foundation and (perhaps stupidly), I'm proceeding from here with fingers crossed. What should have happened is a full 48" depth block or poured wall perimeter foundation, but that would have been expensive from a materials standpoint and extremely time consuming to excavate by hand. I'm hoping that the post footings we've poured combined with the super thick, extra reinforced slab with decent drainage will do the job.