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Building WFO on the cheap - Forno Bravo Forum: The Wood-Fired Oven Community

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Building WFO on the cheap

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  • Building WFO on the cheap

    I want to build a WFO on the cheap. I am completely new to oven building, so maybe my ideas are dumb... but since this oven is for cooking and not for looking, I think I might be able to get away with some major corner cuts.

    My first idea:

    I have a sheet of 1/4" steel sheet metal big enough for the roof, which I would cover with regular red bricks to add thermal mass.

    For walls, I could build the on or near the ground, and use rocks and dirt for the side walls (not much clay in the ground here).

    For the floor, I'm thinking some kind of an insulating layer, (as not to conduct too much heat away from the bottom), topped with a layer or two of regular red bricks, topped with a couple layers of unglazed quarry tiles.

    I'm not sure what to do about an opening yet, maybe a sheet of steel cut to size and shape.


    OR!

    Has anyone tried using a sawzall to add a chimney, add some bricks, and convert a regular old electric oven into an outdoor WFO? These things are available everywhere for free. The only problems I can think of would be size constraints. Your thoughts??

  • #2
    Re: Building WFO on the cheap

    So basically, you want to lay in the dirt to cook a pizza at 4-500 degrees. Just use your kitchen oven, Dude.

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Building WFO on the cheap

      No, I want to lie in the dirt to cook at 7-800 degrees. If that type of design won't get that hot, then hopefully someone here will tell me before I waste all that time. I would imagine it will not be the most efficient oven, but it would be fine with a long warm up. Am I wrong?

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Building WFO on the cheap

        It will get that hot for a pizza or 2, but it will take a lot of time and wood. I am not trying to dissuade you, just narrow down the criteria you are looking at.

        The real costs of the oven are in the finishes, not the working bits or the stand. I think you could build an ugly but functionable oven for less than 300 bucks, almost per the Forno Bravo specs.

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Building WFO on the cheap

          I will probably eventually build a nice one, but I don't have time this year to do the necessary research or shopping. So for now, it's either this or nothing. At least this way I get a little experience with it. Right?

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Building WFO on the cheap

            No, you would be better off learning to make good pizza in your house oven. The temperature doesn't matter that much other than the amount of time it takes to cook it. I do both, the WFO when I plan on making a lot of pies, the house oven when I make one or 2, and get no complaints about either.

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Building WFO on the cheap

              Which one is made in which oven?
              Attached Files

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              • #8
                Re: Building WFO on the cheap

                I make plenty indoors. I'm no rookie to pizza, just ovens. And are you suggesting a 400 degree pizza is indistinguishable from 800 degree pizza?

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Building WFO on the cheap

                  No, but a 550 one is. You adjust the technique and ingredients for the same end result.

                  The pizza don't care what it is cooked in.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Building WFO on the cheap

                    Which one of those pizzas was cooked at 900 degrees for a minute and a half and which one was cooked at 550 for 4 minutes?

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Building WFO on the cheap

                      my oven has been curing via electric skillet for a while (seems like forever), and I cannot tell which one was cooked in an indoor oven. My guess is that number 2 was a WFO.

                      Tom

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                      • #12
                        Re: Building WFO on the cheap

                        I want to taste them to be sure... but of those two shots, #2 looks more like what I would expect from a WFO, although I've see plenty of electric oven pizzas that get my motor running more than either of those two photos.

                        If you think the two ovens are identical in their cooking character, why do you even have a WFO?

                        Anyway, I appreciate your input towards my original question, about whether a makeshift earth oven is worth the effort. Would anyone else like to weigh in on that question?

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Building WFO on the cheap

                          I have an oven because I wanted to build one, and even then came into it sideways by accident. I do use it a lot because wood is free and it keeps the kitchen cool, but I also like to make 4-10 pizzas at a time.

                          You should build a stand out of 8x8x16 concrete blocks dry-stacked, then build your dry stacked oven on top of that. Fast and cheap, and easy to dis-assemble. Your main issue is going to be insulation, without which the system does not perform.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Building WFO on the cheap

                            Blocks are cheap, and I know exactly where to get them. I might do that. Plus, they can be re-used when I someday come up with the time to make a proper brick oven.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Building WFO on the cheap

                              I would pour a 1' wide trench around the outside of what will be the stand from concrete, dry stack your blocks and skincoat with quickwall from quickrete which gives the strength of a mortared joint, and cast a floor on top. So far you should be under/around $100. The thing is that this stand can be reused if you do rebuild the dome. I would then just build the entire oven out of regular bricks (not pavers) Buy a couple bags of vermiculite to pour on top and weather in. I doubt you will have more than 250 into the entire thing (you can probably get used bricks on craigslist for free) and your oven will be good for many years, and when you decide to rebuild your already 1/2 way there.
                              P.S. my oven cost less than $500 and I have been firing for around 5 years with no signs of wear.
                              Good luck
                              Eddie

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