This is a short description of my barrel vault build that I have done here in Central Portugal.
The final internal size is a 1m squared floor with a arch height of 50cm.
I hope you enjoy and get some ideas from it. I wish to thank ukwoodfiredovenforum for their advice and support.
• 1: First I dug out a hole in the flower bed, on top of the stone wall, where the oven was to be built
• 2: Set up a form to pour in the concrete base
• 3: Pour the concrete base, which was about 5-6 inches deep
• 4: On top of the base I cast 4-5 inches of LECA (light weight expanded clay balls) mixed with cement to hold it's form
• 5: Then I cast a 2-3 inch heat retaining base, to add to the thermal mass, using calcium aluminate cement with large grain sand, as a flat base for the hearth bricks to sit on
• 6-8: I then dry laid the hearth bricks on a dry bed of fine sand and clay mixture, with the surround/edge bricks cemented in place to give support to the coming vault
• 9-10: Here I cut the bricks for the back wall, which had to sit inside and under the arches, due to possible expansion of the arches when heated
• 11: Put up the back wall, using calcium aluminate cement and fine grain sand
• 12-14: The first arch of the vault goes up. I had to leave out the last two bricks from each arch until the next day, as the refractory cement dried so fast that as I tapped them in they knocked out the lower curved bricks
• 15: Showing the form I used to support the brick arches as they went up
• 16: Some front arch and entrance designs, which changed several times
• 17-18: The vault in progress
• 19: The front wall goes up
• 20: And then the doorway arches, which are 65% of the total vault height (in the centre)
• 21: The entrance walls go on, with many comments about the Sphinx
• 22-23: The start of the flue and chimney
• 24-25: The barrel vault then gets clad in another thermal mass layer of portland cement, clay, large grain sand and some gravel, sitting on a chicken wire support. This was left to cure and dry out for a couple of weeks
• 26: Then on went the insulating 25mm ceramic fibre blanket. I was advised to put this on before the curing fires so there was less temperature differential from the interior and exterior
• 27-29: I then did a series of curing fires, starting at 100C and going up around 50C each day and finishing at around 500C, and trying to get it to cool down in between. I also did a bit of cooking at the same time
• 30-31: Then on went a second insulating layer of LECA again, about 4-5 inches thick. I had to use a makeshift form to hold it in place, using foam insulation boards. This was also left for a week and then had another set of curing fires to try and get out as much moisture as possible
• 32-33: Then everything was clad in a concrete layer about 3-4cm thick, to weatherproof and protect the LECA. This was then put through a couple of weeks of curing and cooking fires
• 34: Then on go two layers of plastic coating paint with fibres, to make it fully weatherproof
• Pizzas and lamb: Some shots of the many dishes we have so far made with the oven
• The next, and final stage is to clad the whole thing in stone, so that it blends in with the wall and garden. This will take a couple of weeks, and will update with images...