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Cost of Building Vs Buying - Forno Bravo Forum: The Wood-Fired Oven Community

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Cost of Building Vs Buying

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  • Cost of Building Vs Buying

    Sorry if this was covered I searched and did not find anything

    I don't want to cheap out on this but I do have 3 kids and just bought a new house so I need to save where I can.
    I have a few questions

    How much would I save if I built the oven dome myself over purchasing the kit? ? My estimates are at least $2000.

    Also It seems the dome would have more gaps and require more cutting of Bricks that the Barrel style am I missing something?


    Thx

  • #2
    Don't forget that selling the oven kits is Forno Bravo's real business.

    When you compare the cost of an oven kit vs. building the oven chamber, you need to calculate the cost of the dome bricks, the floor bricks, the vent bricks (or metal vent), refractory mortar, saw/blade purchase and or rental, the insulating blanket, the tool set and the door. The oven kits (other than the brick saw) come with all those pieces.

    I think you save a little $, though it isn't huge. If you are paying a mason, the oven kits end up costing less than building the dome. In the context of the completed pizza oven, the cost difference gets pretty lost, and in the context of an outdoor kitchen it gets completely lost.

    The refractory material in the pre-cast ovens was developed specifically for pizza ovens, and the dome shape and oven opening are perfect, so the oven kits cook really well. In Italy, the kits outsell site built oven chambers by a lot.

    The seams of the precast ovens (its a two piece dome for the 31"/35" ovens, and a four piece dome for the 39"/43" ovens) are sealed with refractory mortar, so there is no heat loss.

    Also, more than cost, you can think about whether you want the pleasure (honor? satisfaction?) of having built the oven chamber yourself. There was a funny story on NPR about the guy who calculated the real cost of his home grown tomatoes, and it was around $65/lb -- but we all love doing it.

    James
    Last edited by james; 05-09-2006, 04:38 PM.
    Pizza Ovens
    Outdoor Fireplaces

    Comment


    • #3
      One cost you didn't suggest in the equation James is the cost of the builder's (home owner) time. How much do each of us value our time at? It may not be time taken away from our paying job, but it does take time away from family or those other tasks our family might prefer we be working on.

      Having said that, what is an accurate cost estimate on those items you mentioned? On an average 38" oven how many fire bricks are used in the dome and hearth? What about the regular or fire bricks in a vent? What is the total cost of bricks? If we use a metal vent, how much is it? What have most members spent on refractory mortar, insulating blanket, door and tool set?

      Any one kept close track of these costs for a true comparison? If the material costs of this part of the oven amount to a significant amount I certainly see a greater acceptance from my wife on the investment in a precast unit.

      I can see the VISA commercial in my head....Hand built wood fired oven $XXX.XX and XXX hours. Precast oven $XXX.XX. Time savings and corresponding spouse happiness with precast....PRICELESS.

      Comment


      • #4
        Which gets us to the concept of risk. Our consulting company had a client that made non-stop computers, and we talked a lot about the cost of downtime -- the ultimate disaster. Somewhere in there you have to factor in the potential (however slight) that the oven won't be done before your kids leave for college.
        James
        Pizza Ovens
        Outdoor Fireplaces

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by stuart

          Any one kept close track of these costs for a true comparison? If the material costs of this part of the oven amount to a significant amount I certainly see a greater acceptance from my wife on the investment in a precast unit.

          I can see the VISA commercial in my head....Hand built wood fired oven $XXX.XX and XXX hours. Precast oven $XXX.XX. Time savings and corresponding spouse happiness with precast....PRICELESS.
          I'm building my Pompeii oven. I've built the base and acquired most of the materials for the oven. I've already spent $1774. My biggest cost so far is $500 for the Unifrax Board, which is fantastic insulating board for the hearth slab and walls (I won't have to make up vermiculte rice-crispie treats for insulating the floor). When I'm done, the total cost will be at least $2500 - for the base, the oven, the decor, stucco, etc.

          Considering the fact that I have to spend $1900 (plus shipping) for a Casa 80 - and that's just the dome and chimney manifold, no base, chimney pipe, housing, or decor - I'd say I'm probably ahead of the game. Even if I spent $1900 for the refractory components, I'd STILL have to bust my butt to pour a slab and build the base - pay the $$ too - or pay $omeone else to do it. I'd save time building the dome but definitely not money and definitely anything on the base.

          For me, the pleasure is building it ALL myself, from scratch, using my design, a CAD program, and lots of muscle. My daughter will one day tell her friends: "That's the oven my Daddy built" instead of "That's the oven my Daddy bought." My own Dad is a legend among my siblings for the things he built. He poured an entire concrete patio himself and, with my Grandfather, built a brick BBQ in the backyard. So for me, it's a family tradition.

          Truth be told, if the Casa 80 sold for $800, I'd buy it rather than build.

          I'll post a final cost analysis when I bake my first pie.

          Cheers,

          - Fio
          There is nothing quite so satisfying as drinking a cold beer, while tending a hot fire, in an oven that you built yourself, and making the best pizza that your friends have ever had.

          Comment


          • #6
            Flo,

            I wish we could sell the Casa ovens for $800. Enjoy the project and enjoy the pizza. Your first pies will make it all worth the effort - or as Jim has said, watching the dome go white for the first time makes you think "yes, it's going to work!"

            Send photos of your oven and your first pizza.

            James
            Last edited by james; 05-09-2006, 11:30 PM.
            Pizza Ovens
            Outdoor Fireplaces

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by james
              Don't forget that selling the oven kits is Forno Bravo's real business.

              James
              Originally posted by james
              Flo,

              Enjoy the project and enjoy the pizza. Your first pies will make it all worth the effort...Send photos of your oven and your first pizza.

              James
              James,

              In reading your responses to this thread I couldn't help but think (again) what a unique position you are in when these type of topics come up. As one who has a financial interest in promoting the Forno Bravo ovens you do an excellent job of staying close to neutral in the debate.

              I just want to say that I appreciate that you are always up front about what you are in business for, yet always very cordial and even encouraging to those of us who chose to go it on our own. Of course we should not over look that "going it on our own" often includes the implementation of your Pompeii oven plans and on going advice, all at no charge.

              I hope I speak for everyone when I say, we all appreciate your generosity and enthusiasm.

              Comment


              • #8
                Thank You James

                Originally posted by stuart
                James,

                In reading your responses to this thread I couldn't help but think (again) what a unique position you are in when these type of topics come up. As one who has a financial interest in promoting the Forno Bravo ovens you do an excellent job of staying close to neutral in the debate.

                I just want to say that I appreciate that you are always up front about what you are in business for, yet always very cordial and even encouraging to those of us who chose to go it on our own. Of course we should not over look that "going it on our own" often includes the implementation of your Pompeii oven plans and on going advice, all at no charge.

                I hope I speak for everyone when I say, we all appreciate your generosity and enthusiasm.
                Absolutely. James is uniquely generous and truly altruistic. Thank you.

                You know what's going to happen. I'll like my oven so much that I'll wish I built a bigger one. So instead of building a bigger one, I'll just buy a Premio 110.
                Last edited by Fio; 05-10-2006, 06:06 AM. Reason: I forgot to add something
                There is nothing quite so satisfying as drinking a cold beer, while tending a hot fire, in an oven that you built yourself, and making the best pizza that your friends have ever had.

                Comment


                • #9
                  One More Thing

                  James, Fio, et al,

                  Just one more thing. I built my entire oven myself: Alan Scott 48"x36". Also factor in that if you do it all yourself, you lose a lot of weight and discover that you really do have biceps and triceps in there somewhere. This is a direct equation for your significant other saying, "Darling, just pick that up for me again, will you, I like to watch." Priceless, indeed.

                  Jim
                  "Made are tools, and born are hands"--William Blake, 1757-1827

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Thanks James

                    James is a truly generous individual who recognizes that in helping other get what they want, he will get what he wants. There are a lot of folks out there that look at the process of building their own domes and are put off by the amount of work. There is nothing wrong with that. A creative endeavour such as this is truly a labor of love. I have had people look at me and my oven and ask why in the world would you want to do that much work? Then there are others that look at it and really get the artistic side of the whole project. These are my people. :-) Any of you that create your own ovens are my kind of folks. James, in his business ethic and his "joie de vivre" is my kind of people and I thank him.
                    Peace to all.
                    Chad
                    Renaissance Man
                    Wholly Man

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by janprimus
                      James is a truly generous individual who recognizes that in helping other get what they want, he will get what he wants. There are a lot of folks out there that look at the process of building their own domes and are put off by the amount of work. There is nothing wrong with that. A creative endeavour such as this is truly a labor of love. I have had people look at me and my oven and ask why in the world would you want to do that much work? Then there are others that look at it and really get the artistic side of the whole project. These are my people. :-) Any of you that create your own ovens are my kind of folks. James, in his business ethic and his "joie de vivre" is my kind of people and I thank him.
                      Peace to all.
                      Chad
                      Amen.

                      I've shown my Pompeii oven to my friends, and have cooked them some wonderful pizzas. I am "infecting" them with the desire to own a wood oven. This will spread, and create a trend. The demand for prefab wood ovens will grow.
                      There is nothing quite so satisfying as drinking a cold beer, while tending a hot fire, in an oven that you built yourself, and making the best pizza that your friends have ever had.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Thanks all,

                        I think this is one of those nice situations where what is good for the community is good for Forno Bravo, and vice-versa. Everybody benefits. You don't see a good thing like this everyday -- so I think we should all be proud of what we are building (individually and collectively). So spread the word, make great pizza, and let's keep up the good work.

                        James
                        Pizza Ovens
                        Outdoor Fireplaces

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Cheaper to build

                          I would also like to thank James for this forum and website. It has been a major source of inspiration, information and ideas for me.

                          I think one needs to keep in mind if you still need to build the foundation, stand, and hearth for both the purchased and home built ovens. So, the costs for those is the same. Same goes for the "dress up" finish cost, if that is what you choose to do.

                          Here is about what I have spent so far;
                          $140 for the foundation
                          $ 200 for the stand
                          $ 250 for the hearth
                          $30 for 15 sq ft of 1 inch insblok-19 insulator
                          $2 for 1 lb of stainless needles (mix with cast refractory for strength - vent)
                          $40 one 50lb bag of refractory mortar
                          $240 for 10" wetsaw and blade- bought not rental
                          $60 for 60 firebricks at 0.95 each
                          Total = $962

                          Anticipated future costs;
                          $40-80 for more mortar
                          $150-200 for more brick
                          $100 for 2" fiber blanket
                          $50 one bag of castable refractory
                          $70 for chimney
                          $50 for copper clad door
                          Total = $460-550
                          Wade Lively

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