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Hello from California - Forno Bravo Forum: The Wood-Fired Oven Community


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Hello from California

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  • Hello from California

    Hi, my name is David, I live in Redwood City CA. I’ve just started looking into building a pizza oven and am really glad I found this forum. Looks like a great resource. Thanks to Forno Bravo for putting all this information out there and supporting a user network.

    I can’t afford to buy a kit right now so I’m going to build my own. I’m not doing the Pompeii, but one to my own design (sort of). My plan is to cast only the top dome and make a circular ring as a dome base out of standard fire brick, similar to this design:

    I realize this is a little out of the scope of the forum and it’s kind hosts, but I do intend to buy some of my materials from FB if that makes a difference!

    I’m not going to be able to actually build until I move this fall, but I may do some experimenting with casting the dome in the meantime. Looking forward to lots of good insight from the forum!

    Last edited by Dave M; 07-26-2007, 10:07 AM.

  • #2
    Re: Hello from California

    A word about the Superior Clay ovens that you picture: Their biggest oven is thirty-six inches, which is the smallest suggested pompeii size. The twenty four inch size that you show is too small for practical use, particularly for fire-in-the-oven pizza baking.

    That said, they have some good ideas, like the pre-fab entry and vent assembly.

    There is no reason that you couldn't pre-make a cap like that, either cast out of refractory cement, or for that matter, built out of firebrick and mortar. You could build it upside down in a sand form, and get the hardest part of oven building done before you even start.
    My geodesic oven project: part 1, part 2


    • #3
      Re: Hello from California

      The pic is just to show the construction style I intend to use. I've sketched out a plan for a similar oven but with an ID of 32". From looking at the Superior Clay pics and info the only part they cast (on the two smaller ovens) is the dome. The rest is made of normal fire brick with the entrance tunnel and chimney made from standard flue liners. If I can manage a decent mold for a cast dome the rest is relativley straight forward and considerably less technical than the the pompeii brick built dome. They look spectacular but are a bit more work than I want to tackle.

      It's just an idea for now and I'll probably re-work my plans a bit before I ever get started building.

      My main concern right now is how to do the dome, what refractory cement to use, 2 peice or 1 etc... that and size, I need it to be relatively small with a modest footprint but I'd still like to be able to to fire-in-oven cooking. I read soemwhere that 32" is about the smallest ID you can have and still do fire-in-oven cooking so thats where I'm starting.
      Last edited by Dave M; 07-27-2007, 07:23 AM.


      • #4
        Re: Hello from California

        Originally posted by Dave M View Post
        <snip> I read somewhere that 32" is about the smallest ID you can have and still do fire-in-oven cooking so thats where I'm starting.
        You have the advantage of some time as you are not building until the fall. Use this time wisely and experiment with size. As was suggested in another thread on another subject, quoting Archena "why not draw out the floor (usable space) on a piece of cardboard full size and play with it? Tape it to a card table (raised to the level the oven will be at if possible), use pizza pans the size(s) you plan to use and fool around with it. Get really creative and make a cardboard arch the size of the doorway and see how easily you can work in there (use a peel if you have one - if not, more cardboard). See how well things fit and pretend to cook so you see how easily you can maneuver when you've got pizzas in the back that need to come out, etc. That will give you a much better idea of what you are going to need for your use."

        When I built my Casa110, I had met with James [FB] and looked at his oven. We talked about the 80cm [31 inch] size and agreed that it would be too small and impractical. So my debate was between the 90cm and the 100cm ovens. Ultimately I built the 110cm [43 inch] and was glad that I had gone as large as I could.

        I guess what I am saying is that the benefits to building large far outweigh the added expense and workload.

        J W


        • #5
          Re: Hello from California

          I think laying out an oven mockup is a great idea. I do have the advantage of time. It will be 6 months or more before my wife and I find the right place to buy so I have a lot of time for research. The one big factor here is not knowing exactly what the layout of my future back yard will be, though I do know it will be small The great thing about these oven designs (the cast dome over brick ring in-particular) is they are easy to scale up if there's more room than anticipated.