I’m on step 5 of the Oven instructions (building the initial brick rim) and realized that it is not 100% level. How important is the levelness of these? The middle layer will be filled with sand which I will make sure is 100% level before laying the firebricks. But can I just add extra motar to make sure the foam mold is level as I start building the dome?
This is your opportunity to get the dome level.
You want the firebrick hearth to be relatively level to the front lip for sure. If it were me, and I realized after I had set it in place that my brick frame were not dead level, I would err on the side of making sure the transition between the brick frame and the firebrick hearth was seamless. You’re going to be sliding a pizza peel over that rim a thousand times, and you don’t ever, ever want to have to work around the peel “catching” on a raised brick, anywhere.
You want the oven itself to be absolutely level.
Here’s where you need to take some care, though, because you have the right idea and the wrong approach to the mold:
No. You do not want any adhesive of any kind under the legs of the mold. Later on you have to be able to slide the mold out from under nearly half a ton of brick and mortar.
What you could do is use a thin layer of common sand (the same kind going under the firebrick in the hearth) under the two legs of the foam mold. You want to be conservative with this. Use just enough to bring the mold level.
Mortar can then be used to bring to level the first course of firebrick on each side of the mold, and along the back when you get there. You’ll know you are okay, presuming your firebrick are standard size, if the firebrick line up with the mortar lines that are raised from the foam mold.
Here’s something to think about before you get to the foam mold step:
And one final thought: how far off level are you, actually? Your original question was “How important is the levelness?” I have the kind of eye that sees when picture frames are just a tiny bit off level. Anyone in construction knows that errors of square and plumb and level will just get worse if you don’t fix them. If it’s far enough from level that the bubble disappears into the end of the level vial, you’d better address the brick rim before you keep building.
Think ahead: the barrel shape of your oven may camouflage some off-level stuff. But you have a pretty obvious piece at the top: your chimney. If that goes pointing off in any direction but dead-vertical, it will show. And fixing just the chimney will be obvious because of its position at the arc of the barrel.
I hope this helps, Tum—rootin’ for you!
I got all my red brick off of Craigslist and not all were the same size. This caused a bit of level problems. Got the large level, put on the brick at lowest point, drew a line all the way around. Used a grinder with a diamond blade and leveled it up. Took about an hour but level from corner to corner. Square to, some time luck is just better than talent.
Or maybe that’s talent disguised as luck. Thanks Tom!
When I think of perfect levelness…i picture every top surface of my bricks flush with my leveler AND the bubble perfectly centered. Here are my pics where you can see that my bubbles are all somewhat within the lines, and that some bricks aren’t flush to my leveler. I wonder if this is OK?
Front Zoomed In:
Back Zoomed In:
Right Side Zoomed In:
Left Side Zoomed In:
Front to Back Levelness:
Side to Side Levelness:
Thanks! Hope I don’t have to grind mine down.
I’d say not. You are well within the margin of “level.” You would just be fussing unnecessarily with the hearth and barrel.
Get your firebrick flush and even, build your oven on top of that, and get cooking. You have a party to host.
Bikerbudmatt, you are awesome - thanks for the reply! I feel like you should be a spokesperson for Brickwood ovens lol. I will post the finished oven when I finish - eta July 28th. Then according to the instructions I need to wait 3-4 days to before pulling out the foam mold. So starting July 31st at earliest I will be busy fire curing and possibly finishing the veneer! I think I will make it in time
Yes - we LOVE BikerBudMatt! And appreciate his valuable input! He and his family are w/out a doubt on our Christmas Card list!
Don’t worry if the edge brick isn’t quite level (unless it’s crazy crooked). But looking at your pics - you’re spot on, so no worries. The amount of mortar under that first / bottom row of firebrick will allow you to balance / level the firebrick. Apply more mortar in the low areas - less mortar in the higher areas.
PLZ don’t grind anything down! No, no, no… It’s all in the amount of mortar you apply.
Also - Great pics! Nice and clear and LARGE… Looking forward to creating a Photo Gallery page w/ your awesome oven pics!