Converting a brick bbq to a WFO
I moved house a few years ago and one of the more, 'striking' features of the previous owner was this big dirty brick BBQ (Photo 1). Full of cobwebs, ash and probably burnt bangers it was something I wasnt going to use, as I already had a nice BBQ on wheels. Many people would see the brick BBQ and due to the brick canopy over the grill plates, assumed it was a pizza oven, which it clearly isn't. However, it gave me an idea...
I demolished the canopy (which unfortunately involved propping the patio over with a new pine column), and continued to demolish all the loose bricks to a base I was happy to build up on.
Then I dug out the fill behind the BBQ to allow me to increase the depth to hold the pizza oven on top. This was quite painful actually, as it involved removing all the grey sand, replacing with yellow brickies sand, compacting to a flat pad, laying a brick footing, and finally laying brickwork to the back of the BBQ.
At the front of the oven, I layed a couple of brick piers to the opening where I planned to store firewood. As I built up, I installed a timber lintel to sit proud of the finished brickwork. I had planned to have the oven just under shoulder height, so after laying a few more courses of brickwork i was ready to cut in a few steel angles to support the weight of the oven. The right hand side of the BBQ was interesting. After I had removed the built in burner I was left with a kind of brick shelf. I built this up a little with the intention of installing a benchtop over at a later point. (Photo 2)
Next I got to cash in a voucher my friends got me for my 30th - for a pizza oven. I opted for a smaller oven, as the heating up time would be more flexible to my patience. It came as a kit including the concrete dome shell, firebrick base, firebrick insulation and glass wool insulation for the dome. It also came with a stainless steel flue and a stainless steel fascia. I then puchased a high heat render capable of withstanding 1000C°, some alfoil, chicken wire and two sheets of approx 15mm thick CFC sheet (Compressed Fibre Cement).
I used the sheets as a base for the oven, then laid down my insulation, my firebricks (cut to size) and then with my mates help, lifted the 130kg dome into place, rolling it into position with the help of a steel pole. Now was also the time to slide the fascia into place. Anyway, we're up to; (photo 3)
It gets fun now, as I slid the flue into place, and wrapped the dome in insulation (photo 4). A bit of wire kept the insulation tight around the flue. Next was the alfoil. I covered the insulation in the foil to protect it from the render which would be applied wet. Then I laid over some chicken wire - this was to help grip the render and give it a little tensile strength too i guess - (photo 5).
I actually bought a mixer for the next step, as mixing render is a flog of a job and I didnt want to do it. It worked well, and before long I had the dome rendered. While I was at it, I bought some Rondo angles and fixed them to the rest of the BBQ using cornice cement, and rendered that too using a much easier to apply acylic render. (photo 6)
One of the last steps would be to find a benchtop. In Western Australia we have a lot of local Jarrah timber. I went to the local recycle timber yard and asked for an offcut of jarrah-slab. It wasnt cheap. $250AU! BUT - its awesome. Kicks ass. I was lucky to even get it as the waiting list for jarrah slab is almost as long as it would take to grow your own jarrah, wait for it to fall down and then cut yourself off a bit with a pocket knife. The fact that I wanted a small, irregular piece is what allowed me to jump the queue. So now that was sorted, I had to finish off a few aesthetics - paint colours, some aluminium angle trim to cover the joints to the CFC, and some Italian tiles my dad donated to me after he realised he didn't want them in his kitchen. The finished product? - Photo 7 & 8.
All up, if I included the voucher I reckon the whole thing would've set me back about $2000AU. I was lucky to have my own bricks already, but all the glues, renders, floats, mortars added up nicely to remind me who's boss....
Anyway, thats my story, thats why I'm here. Hoping Ill get some info here on how to use it. If you're doing something similiar, feel free to ask any Q's as I can elaborate if required.