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So, after the initial shock of a spasming back I armed myself with paracetamol, a back support and set to work with my girlfriend! After making the foundation frame, the next part was to fill it in with cement. Now, looking back, the best thing to do would have been to get a cement mixer, but we decided to do it ourselves, in a wheelbarrow! Using a mixture of two parts concrete to one part ballast we got it to a sloppy consistency and poured it into the square hole in the frame. It took over 20 wheelbarrows to fill it!!!……. let’s just say that I’d advise you do any mixing in a proper cement mixer and leave it at that. 😉
Shazam!! It’s a box!
After having a solid block (which we were so proud of!) the next job was to put wooden sleepers in top of it to help to make a plinth. This would be hollow in the middle and filled with various bits. We bought proper treated wooden sleepers and they were very heavy! Stacking them in 4 pieces and onto of each other, the bad then began to resemble a cube. It was very exciting watching it build and get taller and taller! I also very much enjoyed using our drill to drill in stews to hold hem in place. Quick tip- always check that the battery on your drill is fully charged before using it. It’s very annoying both waiting for it to charge when you’re ready to go and also seeing it slowly die on you whilst desperately thinking, No, hang on!!….it’s nearly in!!…
A finished plinth
Once the big wooden cube was built, we then filled it with a mixture of hardcore, then sand and glass bottles (to hold the heat) vermiculite (google it) and more sand. A very fun part of the process involved me dancing on top of the sand to tamp it down. There is a video of me doing this, which I’m trying to find. As soon as I do I’ll get it up here. We also had some fun taking pictures and playing with adding captions using a comic book app, which created some pretty cool photos.
Me playing Thor
Then we placed bricks on top to finish off the plinth. The only part that my girlfriend and myself did not do was cut the bricks. We invited a very kind man round one Saturday to cut a few bricks in half for us, as he had a special tool. It was immensely loud and sliced through the bricks no problem. He also helped us to re arrange the way we had stacked them in two minutes. He was like a Tetris master! As we built this together, my confidence in my abilities to make things grew. We were both learning on the job, with only a vision, YouTube and a bundle of enthusiasm. And it was lots of fun! We also were feeling very satisfied know that we were building something together which would last a long time. So with the plinth, the foundation complete, it was time to begin making the actual oven!…
Tomorrow’s post, the oven is completed!