Povinelli's Custom Oven

I am building (I am really helping a friend who has built them before) my own custom oven. I have gotten a lot of ideas on this forum and wanted to share my progress as it might help others.
I have an 8-12 inch slab (it varies in different areas) reinforced with rebar. We have built up a base with split face concrete blocks. That last block was cut to create a form for a 3.5" slab. Once the slab cures, we will put 4" block across the front that will be level with the top of the block. I will then fill that area with sand and build a form for another slab.

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An overview of my backyard scene for context.

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This is the bottom layer of the base with the forms off. Noticed I had to add another layer of concrete on top of the base layer. I hadn’t thought about how I was going to keep the sand in. This seemed like the most reasonable solution.

I plan on putting a skim coat of stucco across the front, when I stucco the dome, in an effort to cover the unfinished look of the poured concrete.

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Looking Good! You mentioned stucco across the front, but have you thought about cutting the textured face off several of the split-faced CMU blocks that you used… Then applying them like veneer to the front? I did this w/ the BrickWood Box - I chose the hottest day of the year to cut textured face off the front of 100+ brick… then adhered them to the concrete walls w/ Type S mortar. The downside - you would need a LARGE cutting disk (18"). Only a professional has that type of saw / blade combo.

That is a great idea! I will suggest that to my friend who is helping and doing a bulk of the masonry work.

Tony -

I got to ask, are you planning on coating this form with a perlite / portland blend? I’ve seen several videos and articles online that show this approach, but what is not seen is when the mix fails.

Before I get into a long post about the pitfalls of this building method (espeically after you built a beautiful base), I just want to verify what you are going to put on the top of this form. If you are planning on using CASTABLE REFRACTORY, you are in the clear - and it will last forever…

But - if you are planning on coating this form with perlite or vermicuilte - it will not last very long. Porland cement starts to burnout at 600°… The best way I can describe this is like a Rice Krispy bar:

Perlite / Vermicuilte - Rice Krispies
Portland Cement - Marshmellow Creme

After a year or two, you’ve burned out all the Marshmellow Creme, now all you have is a Rice Krispie dome that is about to crumble… and you’ve spent WAY too much time on this project to only have it last a few seasons (and will be in constant need of repair).

After 17 years of doing this - Just trust me on this one!