I want to start this post, by beginning earlier in the week. You’ve heard the phrase; “ask and ye shall receive”. No truer words have ever been spoken. The Moose and I were planning on heading to the local hardware store to purchase the needed concrete blocks for our oven base. That very morning, I took a look on Craigslist, and found a listing for 150 concrete blocks for $75.00. We called, offered $50.00 and bought them all. Random sizes; 8x8x8, 8x8x16, 12x8x8, some were a bit rough, but for this project perfect.
We headed out with the trailer, and watched as the dark clouds started to gather. We actually stated out loud, how we wished that those storms would hold off until we got the blocks loaded up. We had just arrived, and handed over our fifty bucks, and the heavens opened up! It was actually a blessing for all the work the Moose had to do, by loading up all those blocks. He was soaked, but thankful for the cool relief the rain provided.Now, we needed to sort out how we would support the actual oven itself; extra blocks, create another concrete pad, etc. My Padre’ thought a sheet of steel would be a solution. We were worried about the cost, and transporting the hundreds of pounds the sheet would likely be. We found a local dealer that had product available, and wanted to charge $.73/lb. We only needed a 4x4x1/4” piece for the actual project. That would weigh roughly 250lbs, or $182.50.
God was again looking out for us. I went on Craigslist, and the first post was for a sheet of steel 4x8x3/8”, for $175.00. That’s twice as much as we needed for less money. We offered $150.00 and it was ours. Now, we needed to figure out how to load it, all 500lbs. Off we went again with the trailer in tow, as well as 2x4’s, electric wench, come along, and crow bars. The Moose and his ingenuity had that piece of steel hooked up and on the trailer in less than 10 minutes.The only thing left to buy was the mortar, 4 bags and trowel, about $25.00 total.
Now for the fun stuff!My Mom and Padre’ made the trek out to The Compound first thing Saturday morning. Padre’ started by laying out the first row of blocks, three sides and a middle support. Thank goodness he’s done this before. I could only base it on what I’ve seen on YouTube, and who knows how that would have turned out!
After the first row was up, my Mom, the Moose and I finished the last 3 rows. The Moose did the heavy lifting, some mortar work, my Mom made sure everything was level, and applied mortar, and I helped fill in and level off the mortar between each joint. It looked awesome! We used less than half of the blocks we bought, and we'll save them for another project, I'm sure is in our future. What was more of a blessing was the individual sizes, they actually worked better than what we originally planned. Someone was really looking out for us.
Then it was time to consider how the heck to get that piece of steel cut and placed on top of the block base. Lucky us! Daughter Number 1 decided to make the road trip too. Her muscles were well used by the time she left.The Moose and Padre’ cut the steel to 4x5, which gave us around a 1’ overhang on the front, which should help as a platform when cooking. They said they needed a place to put their beer. Either way, it is functional, and not something we could have done had we not gotten the larger piece of steel. The remaining sheet will be used for another project.
It took some doing, to get the heavy piece up there, and most of it was quite ingenious. One side would be lifted up, and blocks would be placed underneath, then we’d do the opposite side, until we had it up around 3 blocks high. This way, no one had to actually bend from the ground up. At this height, we used 2x4’s underneath the outer edges, four of us, two on each side moved the steel over and up onto the block base.
Reminded me of a scene from the movie The 10 Commandments where the Pharaoh was carried through the streets on his gold gilded litter by his litter bearers. Minus the gold, fans, headdress and skirts!
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We have about $250.00 into the base. I'm including the entire cost of the block and steel, even though we didn't use them all. Concrete slab ran about $65.00.
We sure appreciated the help! Now for phase 3, the actual oven itself!