Pizza! Or Die Trying

Around the TOOL meeting mentioned in the last post, I spent my weekend trying to finish the Pizza Oven of Death in the back yard. See, we’re having all the TOOL families, kids included, over next weekend, and I sorta promised them pizza Here’s where it stands:

That bottom left one is about 1/2 dozen fire bricks from where I had to stop – ran out of refractory mortar around 4 o’clock! Ahhh! Could have finished the vault!

So, I got up at 5:30 this morning and drove to the masonry supply place where I’ve gotten the refractory mortar once before. I did this because they open at 6:00 and morning mass is at 6:30 – so, if they had any, I could grab it and still make Mass – since they close at 5:00 p.m., it’s difficult for me to get there during the week.

It’s hit or miss if they have it on hand – they did not! But you can get it via ebay from Portland, Oregon, which only takes 2-3 days UPS ground (in a 50 lbs container, you’re shipping ground – $20 versus $230 air!). So, after Mass, drove home, hit the internet, ordered another bucket – it should be here Wednesday. I sure hope so, as I need to finish the vault, add a chimney, and then let it dry for at least 1 2 days (If I can stand it!), pull out the support frame (it’s held together with screws so it should come out quick). Then smoke test it – literally – with a small fire, make sure there aren’t any leaks, that the smoke goes out the chimney.  THEN wrap it in ceramic insulation, chicken-wire the insulation down, and stucco over the top – 2 coats at least, probably 3.

So, doing the math: mortar gets here Wednesday. With UPS, that tends to be at 7:30 p.m. If so, I have an hour, an hour and a half daylight, tops, to finish the vault and the chimney – doable. Let it dry until Thursday Friday, then smoke test it. If it passes, then put on the insulation, chicken wire and the first coat of stucco. Second coat Saturday morning; third coat, if necessary, Saturday night. There’s tile and trim to work on while things dry.

Then – yikes! – test it Sunday morning?!? This is insane, right? It should be pretty dry, but the tiny, well-beaten-down sane part of my brain is saying: light a fire before you’ve let that sucker dry for a week? 600+ degrees F? You want it to crack?

If only I’d ordered enough mortar! Then I’d have been done Sunday, and the vault would have had a week to dry! The stucco would have had 4-5 days to dry! It. Could. Have. Worked!

OK – we can bake in the kitchen. We’ve got double stoves, can do 3-4 good sized pizzas at a time.

But I don’t have to be happy about it.

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Author: Joseph Moore

Enough with the smarty-pants Dante quote. Just some opinionated blogger dude.

4 thoughts on “Pizza! Or Die Trying”

  1. Man, I can so relate! But knowing it will only work if everything goes just right, I would assume it’s not gonna work, since everything never goes just right. For me anyway.

    1. Never goes right for me, either. According to the current plan, weekend after next is going to be pizza first light. That way, I can finish it this upcoming weekend and give it a good long while to dry.

  2. Murphy’s law is a real thing when it comes to projects! I usually remember to say a prayer to St. Joseph, but only after that feeling of dread settles in.

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