My father is an architect or, more specifically, a Preservation Consultant and Architectural Historian. He is doing a little side work for someone who has a backhoe and they have worked out a trade. My dad will do this work for him and he will excavate the remainder of the trenches for the foundation slabs. I should also make it clear that my dad is building a shed concurrently with this oven project so this guy is going to take care of the excavation of both sites which are approximately 20 feet apart.
Perhaps you are thinking "but Mark, you already dug up the sod" Yes but while the general thickness of the slab will be about 6" of steel reinforced concrete, the perimeter must extend down below the frost line to prevent the thing from heaving. In this neck of the woods that means 24" which isn't too bad. (in colder climates it can be 4 feet or more.) I tried to do it by hand but after about 14" the clay soil was so tightly packed (and still relatively dry from the summer and fall drought) that it was too difficult.
So this guy is going to come in, dig out the trenches and then we're going to get the concrete folks to come by and pour in the concrete and this same guy is going to finish the concrete (make it smooth). What a bargain!
All that is scheduled to happen on the 10th.
I also contacted Alan Scott today to procure plans for building the oven. Once I get paid, he gets paid and I get some plans.
Check out his website if you want to see what these things look like.
Also see Bohemian Bread's site, a baker in Vermont who publishes a lot of very useful information including pictures of the construction of his own oven.
The building will progress in stages. The Schedule looks more or less like this:
December: Pour Foundation Slab
January: Build foundation walls
February: Pour Hearth Slab
March: Lay bricks for Hearth floor and walls
April: Build vault of oven ceiling.
May: Build exterior walls and pour cladding (the thick layer of refactory concrete that retains the heat)
June: Fill with insulation and cap
July: Finish work (exterior decorative brick etc..)
August: I should have me a bread oven!
Mental Floss has abducted me
9 years ago