Glad you got there in the end. It sounds like you got the perfect solution to meet your own needs. Liam from Kilnlinings has always been fair with me and the members, but this tends to work out better for those who buy fire-bricks and all the refractory materials for a fire-brick built dome or vault oven. The same can be said about the Jewson discount account offered to forum members.....although the % discounts are between 74% and 30%.....many people have found these discounts off their list price very advantageous, and others have found better prices eleswhere.....
.....I think the main advantage to forum members(and visiting guests) is that we can all share info (thank-you swatson) which in turn will be invaluable to future wood-fired oven enthusiasts.
Thanks for sharing....
p.s....you can put your Clay oven build thread in your "signature" if you want (just click the profile feature and follow the info)
And on that note here is an update of where I am with my build.
Marked out the inner oven dimension onto the insulation blocks, squared it off to keep bricks in line with string pinned with carpet tacks. Then spread a thin layer of sand using a spirit level for accuracy as a bed for the bricks. I then laid the bricks carefully onto the sand bed, once happy I then tamped them down making sure none wobbled and all were flush with one another.
I then had my first opportunity to mix some mud. Using a small bucket i measured out 1 full bucket of sand and a 1/2 bucket of mud (2:1 ratio roughly) and a little drop of water, and popped it all into one of those big bulk aggregate bags you get from B&Q etc, which have the added bonus of having handles when you need to roll your mixture. Stomped, puddled and twisted for about 10 to 15 minutes till I though consistency was good, got a handful of mixture and formed a ball squidging and squeezing till it firmed up and then did the drop test and it was bang on, didn't splat or crumble. I then used the mixture to form a load of bricks which I used as an edging to secure my hearth bricks in place.
On the picks below you may notice that the bricks are numbered. Before laying my bricks I did a trial run on a large piece of cardboard, which like above I had marked out the inner oven dimension and laid the bricks carefully, working out which ones fitted better together, also some bricks have slight chips or rough edges so I could sort this by turning them upside down or just having them on the outside edge of the oven.
Today was the day that I have been looking forward to for over a year, with the help of my wife and best friend I built my inner oven.
To save on sand I built a small tower with bricks in the middle of the hearth where the oven will be, I then packed the sand up and over these bricks until I had reached the desired height of 16". I also tried to keep the form as close to a dome as possible, not exactly the Duomo but He ho gave it my best shot!
I had already prepared my sand and clay mix by doing a batch last nite and another first thing this morning, so I was ready to start making bricks once the forma was ready.
And then it was down to the serious business of building the oven walls, do not be fooled by this, it IS a time consuming operation and I was mightily glad when my wife gave me a hand making the bricks, and then later on when my friend Stephen popped in (big mistake for him as he got commandeered for about 4 hours to help build the walls).
I am extremely pleased with the dome and I am really looking forward to cutting the door tomorrow, if its ready!
Today was the most satisfying and also the most tiring of this project to date!
So checked the oven first thing this morning and it seemed firm, made a mark where the top of the door would be and 6.5" to the left and right from the centre, got out an old spoon and knife and cut out the door.
Slowly removed some of the sand former and tested the dome by carefully pressing my finger against the inside wall, this was also firm and just allowed me to make a very fine indent with my thumb, so I went ahead and removed the rest of the sand and the brick tower from inside the oven using the spoon and my hand.