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Wood Fired Oven Tile Journey

May 23, 2016

Goal: Get my WFO tiled before my Caribbean birthday bash this past Saturday. (I had procrastinated 4 YEARS on this project and was sick of seeing raw backer board in my kitchen…)

WFO Before pic

Prep: Got a wild hair notion to MAKE over 200 tiny tile pieces for a unique mosaic as the focal point of the tile job. Took a ceramics course at WKTC in Paducah, KY this past winter just to learn the techniques. (LOVED that class and getting hang with really great local artists) Didn’t have red glaze so I ended up purchasing red mini tiles through eBay. Settled on a cobalt blue for the majority of the tiled wall.

Process: Played with several mosaic ideas and was not happy. Had gone through too much effort to NOT be happy with the outcome. Googled WFO tile. Not many pics but I did discover a fire motif that worked for me. My mosaic fell into place very easily suddenly. I even sacrificed a couple of necklaces for additional 3D baubles in the mix.

The Hard Part a: Used my scroll saw to cut an archway for the wood storage area below the oven, trying to keep the same degree of arch as the oven itself. The gaping opening had to be beefed up, made smaller without drilling holes through 1/8″ steel, with all wood well-supported, and the archway installed.

The Hard Part b: Had to build up a layer of thin set mortar to achieve a straight with the planet front and sides. Then lay tile vertically and do a lot cutting to go around both arches. I left the mosaic for last. Took my loose assembly and dabbed each piece with mortar and recreated it insitu. Grouted everything and then cleaned and cleaned and cleaned.

Summary: Still have to design and build an iron door for the wood storage area, but am happy with how it turned out. Got it done in time for my party. Am still nursing sore muscles and a thumb that I managed to tear up with a drill gun, but hey, it’s all part of the journey!


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