Getting started - Completely lost

So I’ve basically narrowed my search down to the Mattone Barile Grand and would like to purchase package #3. I am assuming that since all of the materials are not available from the Brickwood, I should use the locator and start to source the materials that listed on the downloadable instruction sheet?

I’m also curious for those living in colder climates, is there something I can do or different materials I can purchase to increase the heat retention of the oven? Are there any specific cold weather materials to protect it from cracking while cooking in cold (10 - 30 degrees Fahrenheit)?

Hello Demond, and welcome to the BrickWood forum.

You are not as lost as maybe you think you are! It took me about 2 months to settle on the oven I wanted to build (basically I made the same choice as you!), and that’s the hardest part.

So, yes, you want to start locating your materials. If this helps in thinking about it, there is an order in which you should be doing this. (My suggestion, and others may have some helpful suggestions here as well):

  • Materials for setting your base in place, including base rock, Sonotubes, rebar, and gravel. (See below about colder climates.) Buy all your rebar now, along with a coil of rebar tie wire. Buy safety caps for the rebar because it will be sticking up in the air and you can hurt yourself badly on it.
  • The concrete you will need to cast the base and the slabs. The instructions call for 5,000psi high-strength concrete, but 4,000psi is more generally available and is still way more strength than you need. Lumber and a box of construction screws for the forms. The closed-cell foam to create the void for your insulated slab.
  • Concrete blocks for the base, along with regular (“Type S” or equivalent) mortar. Some folks have been experimenting with a mortarless wall using surface bonding cement (SBC).
  • Materials to finish the hearth, including the Perlite and Portland cement, standard bricks for the hearth frame, and sand. This is also the time to obtain your materials for the heat-resistant mortar and mix your first batches.
  • Firebrick. For the Mattone Barile Grande, you need 190 of them.
  • Materials for insulating and completing your oven. That includes a roll of “chicken wire” (and don’t leave that out, trust me!), more Type S mortar, and whatever you will use to seal the stucco you will make out of the mortar.

As for being in a colder climate: you will find that a double layer of the mineral fiber blanket is all you need for heat retention. Between that and paying careful attention to the insulating slab under your hearth (which acts as a thermal break), your oven will perform excellently.

And more about colder climates: You need to provide for the reality that your ground freezes hard in wintertime. Here is the detail on that, along with the extra steps you need to take. I dug my footings 40 inches below the surface, sinking 4 Sonotubes and filling them with concrete up to the (eventual) slab. It takes about 2 bags of concrete to fill each tube, so add that to your concrete purchase. It also takes two lengths of rebar in each footing for a total of 8 to tie the footings into your slab.

It is possible to use a polymeric mortar material for your stucco, but I found over this past (very cold) winter that standard mortar worked fine and did not show any cracks whatsoever. The key there is to allow it to cure completely, protecting it from moisture.

I hope these thoughts are helpful, Demond, and that you will feel free to post both questions and experiences as your oven takes shape. We’re here for you!

Thanks so much for the feedback!! I’m going to lurk around in the forums here to see if there’s some more information I can find. This was profoundly helpful.

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