Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Progress and Patience

A lot has happened in 2 weeks. Although you would never know it by looking at the outside of the bakery. It actually looks worse than it did 2 weeks ago. I am confident that this is the worst it will ever look.....no windows, no doors, tarps, peeling paint, scrap woodpiles, dirt mounds scattered throughout, siding missing off the front and piles of lumber awaiting their assignment.

And back to the loving place and the vision....oooooohhhhhmmmmm.

The concrete base for the hearth was poured this week!! All 5 1/4 yds. of it. Thank you pump truck. John had a day off from work, so he and Dale built the framing which would (hopefully) support all of the concrete coming the next day. They felt sure of it that it would hold.

The next morning as Dale and I awaited the concrete truck, we laid in rebar and more rebar. The truck arrived and there was great camaraderie amongst the 2 concrete guys and us. I think mostly nerves on everyone's part. We all know what this day meant. To hold or not to hold. As the concrete was being pumped in Dale and I were screeding, the pump guy adding here and there. Dale put a light under the oven to check the supports and for leakage. The hearth is half full of concrete and Dale is sweating with fingers crossed; asks the pump guy to hold on and checks underneath.....all is okay. "Keep on pumping." This is a critical point where you cannot be short of concrete. I'm sweating now as we near the back fill. We finish off the hearth with just enough concrete and 2 wheelbarrows to spare! Now, the next hour will tell us if the supports are going to hold. We both check at least 4x a minute. Once again, John's calculations were right on (just like his dad) and we awoke the next morning to a beautifully cured hearth on which the firebrick will be laid.

The plumbers and the electricians are finished!! Plumbing inspection happens tomorrow. The water has been turned on to 404 Main St. for the first time in many, many years and John did sell a limb so that we could afford it.

We made a terrific design change with the oven at the very last minute. We had been planning to use straight brick to form the arch and had no idea that arch brick was available (or in our price range...). But before the decision was finalized, John and Dale drove a couple of hours over to Clackamas Co. where the firebrick are coming from to check it out. The guy working there actually suggested this change and already had the arch laid out when they arrived. I think "the guy" is more excited than we are and is going to drive some of the supplies down here to help out. He says, "this is the largest oven that we have ever helped build. Do you realize how beautiful this oven is going to be?"

We are using high temperature, super duty fire brick that are used in oil refineries and can handle temps. to 3000 degrees. The hearth where the fire burns and the bread bakes will be straight edge super duty fire brick. However, the dome of the oven will be arched firebrick. They are angled every so slightly and much thicker than the straight bricks. And the really amazing part...the angled firebrick support themselves without using mortar!! So, what would have taken 2 weeks to put the dome on will now take 2-3 days. We are quite possibly building the largest wood fired bread oven in Oregon folks and even perhaps on the West Coast. Everyday, we look at it and fall in love with our new oven. I even took a bread peel down yesterday as Dale was only on his 4th row of firebrick and began sliding it in and out of the oven. I just stand at the opening and smile with amazement.

Several people are stopping by now to check it out and some asking for jobs.

So the firebrick arrived last Thursday. Envision Meryl Streep in Out of Africa transporting all of her Limoges and other wares by train. Well we were a little more fortunate thanks to technology. The freighter who picked up the bricks at the supplier did not have a forklift on the truck, so instead of us unloading the bricks 2 at a time (over 1300 firebrick), we had the driver deliver the load to a local lumber yard 12 miles away where they transferred it to their truck, packed on the all-terrain forklift and then brought it to us. Each of the 5 pallets weighed over 4,000lbs. All of these bricks are being placed in an 8'x10' space.

The sinks were purchased this week (all 5 of them). Now, we are working on the lighting dilemma. No lights can be placed in the food areas that can potentially shatter. We are refusing fluorescents. (John needs appropriate lighting after all. i.e. prior post) I think we have it figured out.

The Oregonian phoned yesterday to get permission to publish an article that they had written about our bread. It is the largest paper in Oregon and we have no idea how they found us, but are glad they did. It will be out Feb./March sometime.

Until next time,

Keith and John
The Bread Board
Where Food, Culture and Community Intersect.

1 comment:

  1. I love the blog. I could not stop reading and now I am all caught up. I need more. Thanks for including all of us in your life. Keep up the good work!!