I can not get my wire mesh tight to save my life. If there was some type of anchor along the bottom it would be not problem but that seems to be where my trouble lies.
Hello MikeRob, and welcome to the BrickWood forum!
The wire mesh can be tricky, especially if your chicken wire came in a tightly-shrinkwrappped roll. The wire has a “memory” that is hard to overcome.
The easy way to resolve this is to take some of the tie-wire you used for your rebar, and cut off some 2-inch lengths. Bend them into a U shape so they look like a narrow staple. Insert them about every 4-6 inches along the mesh about 6 inches up from the bottom, right into the ceramic fiber. (Don’t go straight in, but from the top so they lie parallel to the fiber, like they’re “standing up”.) This will anchor the mesh and tighten it up from top to where the staples are. Then you can bend the mesh in at the bottom.
Let us know how it worked for you, and I hope we’ll see you here often!