Home Improvement Projects: The Pizza Oven of Doom

So, this actually doesn’t happen all that often, but I’m pretty much completely funned out on the brick oven. Building the vault was just too darn difficult and time consuming to be much fun. Now, I need to A. build the front arch out of regular bricks; B, put on the insulation and chicken wire over that; C. stucco over that; and D. install and stucco around the decorative tiles.

Over the weekend, added the chimney base and the – what do you call that thing? – the slightly smaller front arch that acts as a lip to help the smoke go out the chimney and for the door (ultimately) to fit up against.

Looks like this:

Front. Those semicircles are pieces of the support for the vault, and are here deployed to block off the opening for the smoke test. 
Back. While the actual firebox is sealed up using refractory mortar, I went over the outside with regular mortar just to smooth it up some. Probably meaningless, seemed like a good idea at the time. 

We smoke-tested it, meaning we built a small fire inside to see if smoke leaked out anywhere it wasn’t supposed to. Not too bad, a few minor easily plugged gaps.

It will look pretty once it’s all stuccoed and the nice Mexican tiles are installed. This one goes on the side:

Inline image 1
11″ square – large. 

Wish I could find a nice San Jose tile for the back.

Thursday, we all – all four kids + parents + a sweet woman who lives with us, 7 total – leave to drive up to Idaho for the eclipse. We’ll stop in Elko, NV that evening, then leave for the Salmon River Friday. Saturday, we river raft; Sunday we find a church; Monday we drive for an hour or two down near Rexburg to maximize totality. Then it’s down to Salt Lake City to put two of the kids on planes to SoCal for school and a drive to Eli, NV for the night. Then it’s on to Carson City, NV, where we’ll probably sightsee and putter and spend the night. Finally, we’ll take Highway 89 to Highway 4 over Ebbitts Pass and past Lake Alpine – scenic doesn’t do it justice, 8,000’+ up in the forested granite mountains of the Sierra.

I’ll try to get my head cleared.


Author: Joseph Moore

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

6 thoughts on “Home Improvement Projects: The Pizza Oven of Doom”

  1. I can relate. I’m currently ‘stuck’ on my project to build an altar for my son (an O. P. priest of just over a year). I am using reclaimed wood from a house that blew down a few years back in a massive storm. The house was built in the 1830s and the wood is gorgeous but I have reached the point where self-doubt has exceeded rash confidence. I know I will eventually succeed in building an altar. That is not the question. But will it be worthy of its intended purpose? Not likely. And that has me frozen at the moment. I pray you persevere in your magnificent oven and have a fantastic eclipse trip.

  2. Wow! That’s wonderful about your son – my confirmation saint is Dominic, always one of my favorite saints. Worked for a Dominican for several years after college. Live20 minutes from St. Albert’s Priory in Oakland, CA. So, yea, Dominicans!

    Your projects sounds fabulous. Is it to be a fixed or portable altar? Do you have a design worked out? Love to see it. If the wood is beautiful and the design is righteous, then it’s a matter of care – and you clearly care! Do the best you can, that’s all that’s required.

    St. Joseph, patron of carpenters, pray for us!

    1. Amen!
      As you may know Dominicans take a religious name for when they profess and my son took Dominic Mary, his two favorite saints. So he too has a strong love for St. Dominic.
      The altar is meant for a room in our home, dedicated chapel space, so not portable.
      I used Sketch up to model the design. I am not a designer, just a lowly software engineer, so nothing beautiful, just sturdy. I believe when I post comments you have my email address, drop me a note and I will send some pictures.

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