On Tuesday night 9/29 we removed the inside forms and the extra fire brick that laid on top of the wall as a guide for how high the walls should be poured. Removing some of the bricks proved to be a little hard as the concrete wall had attached to part of it. Once they were removed the floor and the wall of the oven where swept to remove any extra debris. The form for the arch was laid out by laying fire bricks in the correct pattern on the wood and marking the cut spots. By the time we had the bricks laid out we were using head lights from one truck to light up the work space on the back of another truck so Bob offered to take the wood home and cut it and construct the form so that it would be ready to use on Saturday.
As the song goes brick by brick and board by board papa laid life to mama’s dream. Each time that we work on the oven the excitement grows to the possibilities that the oven will bring. We have had Racine residents tell church members that they are looking forward to coming to the events at the oven. There has been a request form a bread baking group out of the Twin Cities for information about our oven and a request to let them know when we start firing. Who knows how our little church and town will touch others. On Tuesday 9/15 we met to determine if we should proceed with the oven on our own as Mike Faust wasn’t going to be available until later into September to help us lay the hearth and build the walls. Mike has sent us detailed instructions and we felt confident that we could proceed without the hands on guidance. Mike continues to be available by phone for any questions that come up. On 9/19 we laid the bricks for the hearth floor and built the firebrick walls. On Tuesday 9/22 we constructed the forms that will hold the concrete in place to dry for the walls for the oven. This Saturday 9/26 we will mixing and pouring the concrete for those walls. We hope you will join us to be part of the experience of the Oven that Built Me.
On Friday 9/11 a group of 5 traveled to the Eastern side of Wisconsin to mill the wood for the roof of the oven. Deb’s brother Paul owns Levy’s Sawmill and offered to provide the wood in exchange for some manual labor at the mill. On 9/12 we spent 6 hours working with Paul and experiencing taking cedar and white ash logs and making it into lumber that we could use for building our oven. Along with helping load and unload wood from the mill we where tasked with splitting the pieces that couldn’t be used for boards, unloading and cleaning the wood that had been drying in the Kiln and reloading the Kiln with wood that had been cut that day so it could dry. The members from our church; Steve, Tracy, Deb, Jeff and Nate where joined by Deb’s dad Fred, her brother Paul & her nephew Joe for the day of work. On the trip we also enjoyed meals with members of Deb’s family and a camp fire and Paul and his wife Julie’s house on Saturday night. On Sunday morning we worshiped with the members Bethel United Methodist church in Kiel WI. This is a rural congregation of a similar size to our church that some of Deb’s family are members at. Bethel UMC has been praying for our endeavor with the oven. When we returned to Racine to unload the wood we were helped by a few of the neighborhood kids. The draw of free pizza seems to be a strong motivator. It is amazing how many members of God’s family have been involved in this project thus far. We hope that God continues to bless us with the new connections we are making while building the oven.
During the week of 8/25 the hearty crew gathered together the wood to assemble the form for the hearth slab. “The Construction Matrons” or “Supervisors to Keep the Men on Task” as they like to be referred to: Tracy, Norma, and Deb cut sheets of aluminum foil to go between the insulated concrete slab and the slab of refractory concrete.
The assembled form was placed on top of the aluminum foil previously placed with care between the insulation layer and the hearth slab layer. The form was squared by measuring and measuring and measuring and checking to see if the lines on the tape measure had moved until we all felt comfortable that the form was a perfect square.
The Construction Matrons took over the power tools this week. Tracy & Deb wielded the Sawzall and cut the rebar mesh that was used to strengthen the hearth slab. Steve continued to use his skills to mix the refractory cement that was poured in the form he must have made a lot of mud pies as a child because he seems to take to the mixing of our concrete with the joy and innocence of a child making that special mud pie for that special someone.
Darrel, Bob & Jeff smoothed and leveled out the slab in preparation for the hearth to be constructed next. The supplies for the project this week were the costliest so far. We also had to take added precautions when opening the bags of refractory cement because it is made with silica sand and it can be dangerous to breathe in the silica dust.
Stay tuned to see pictures on our next entry of how milling the cedar for the columns, beams, and rafters went as a group travelled to Wisconsin to help with the milling of the wood that is being donated by Paul Leverenz of Levy’s Milling in New Holstein, Wisconsin.
Also if you have not had a chance to visit our GoFundMe site check us out at http://www.gofundme.com/tk3ksn3k