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I bought the Casa series years ago and found it easy to build and quite satisfactory. (The only negative would be that the one I bought came with a hinged door which I would not recommend for it restricts your door design and gets in the way.) I did add about one inch of additional refractory to the dome to increase the mass slightly in order to make it more bread friendly (more mass) but it still is usually ready for pizza in roughly 45 minutes.
The one I bought is no longer available but is similar to the ovens called Bravo Casa. On the Forno Bravo site, look on the left hand menu choose Modular Pizza Ovens under Residential Ovens. It will be the bottom unit on the page.
The advantage of a refractory kit like this is you can build it quite rapidly and the performance is excellent. I want to build an oven from scratch some day but I am very happy with my Casa.
Go with the build from scratch, it will keep you busy for months and give you a sense of satisfaction that you would not have thought possible. I had never laid a brick before I started my build and have not lit a fire in the beast yet but the day I do will be a day to remember. The things you are forced to remember from school maths lessons that you thought you would never need again keep the mind active.
Take a little of the WFO build drug and you will be hooked!
The Casa works well and is far more affordable. The cost reason is why many go the Pompeii way - but there is also the construction factor which appeals to many. I suspect many find the cost of materials acquisition eats into the savings over a modular oven - unless they really work hard at scrounging materials. But that is part of the adventure of the Pompeii!
Building an oven - even a modular one - takes some time. Building and finishing the base and slab, putting the floor and dome together, insulating, and finishing take a good bit of time.
It is hard for me to justify $4600 (how much for delivery??) when I can buy the materials for $1000 and either build it myself or hire a mason for $25/hr. Am I missing something?
You're paying for expertise and quality. Artigianos never crack, for one thing. It's made by the best craftspeople in Italy. Is it worth it? Well I didn't buy one, but that doesn't mean that they aren't worth buying.
One warning about hiring a mason to build an oven. They seem adverse to following instructions. Unless they have a lot of specific experience building brick ovens, you may have to supervise them really carefully.
Thanks, we have decided to have a mason build the stand with proper footings for new england and the base. We ordered the Pompii (Casa110) insulation materials and we are buying the fire brick, mortor, etc locally. I would like an expert opinion on A. The floor insulation; should we use the insulating boards or 4" of vermiculite concrete? B. Opinion on using a foam-board dome form or what to form the dome. I saw a ball was used in one photo but I can't figure out how that shape worked (unless it was partially flat maybe?) C. We plan on using the insulating blankets with vermiculite then stucco, sound right? Thanks!!
1A. The floor insulation; should we use the insulating boards or 4" of vermiculite concrete?
The boards are thinner, flatter (you may be able to lay your floor right on your insulation without a leveling layer),easier and faster (no week to cure vermicrete).
The vermiculite concrete is cheaper.
B. Opinion on using a foam-board dome form or what to form the dome. I saw a ball was used in one photo but I can't figure out how that shape worked (unless it was partially flat maybe?)
The various vanes can work but it's hard to clean the masonry on the inside of the dome while you're working. I think the guy who used the ball used a variation on the indispensable tool, and used the partially flattened ball to support the last few, most horizontal courses.