Once again, FINALLY some progress to report. First is the finished dome with the form removed for the insulating hearth. I decided not to use Stefano Ferrara's method of slurry over the dome. The main reason being there is nothing on the market here in the US remotely close to whatever it is he uses. I assume it is essentially a calcium aluminate mortar, but that is just a guess. I instead developed my own method, which I hope works well. As the chains of brick get smaller the triangular gaps between the bricks get larger and larger on the inside of the dome. Even smaller bricks don't fix this. Instead of pouring a slurry of questionable mix to fill these gaps or huge amounts of cutting to make tight fitting polygon bricks I opted to use standard castable refractory. I mortared the bricks to the previous chain, but not to the bricks on either side. Once all the "half mortared" bricks were in and the dome was complete except for the final keystone and the triangular gaps I mixed up a batch of KS 4V plus and "rodded" it into the voids. We'll see how this works out when I remove the sand form in a day or two.
The next picture is a close-up of the perlcrete for those who may be interested in what it ends up like.
Once the dome was complete I started the enclosure. To do so I installed the lower section of metal lath. This lath will serve multiple purposes. First I used it as a form to pour the insulation around the soldier course into, and later it will become the first layer in the laminated ferrocement shell that will form as the ovens enclosure.
Finally I began the dome insulation with the lower section around the soldier course. The cavity is 6" and it was filled with a 10:1 mix of portland cement and vermiculite. 10:1 in this case because it doesn't need to be as strong as the insulation under the floor. Vermiculite because that is what I had on hand. Perlite would also work, and I actually like it better.
Next up the vent. It's slowly getting close to a functional oven. I hope to cast the vent this weekend, but we've all seen how I've been keeping up with my plans so far.