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"Half-Pipe" versus Dome design for Oven? - Forno Bravo Forum: The Wood-Fired Oven Community



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"Half-Pipe" versus Dome design for Oven?

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  • "Half-Pipe" versus Dome design for Oven?

    Good day,

    could anybody explain why a dome design is the better choice for a pizza oven? A "half-Pipe" design as shown in the attached picture seems so much easier to build when using brick.

    How much better does the dome design really perform? Is it worth it?


  • #2
    Re: "Half-Pipe" versus Dome design for Oven?

    James puts it best in his "why round" sticky posting:


    It's important to note that domes are self suppporting. You may not think that a three or four foot enclosure is much to think about in terms of structural engineering, but with the extremes of temperature they are subject to, they can be unstable. The most common arch form bread ovens have a lot of thermal mass outside the firebrick layer for structural reasons. This is all mass that has to be heated up to pizza temperatures. So: domes can be made thinner, heat faster, use less fuel, and be more satisfying for occasional pizza baking.

    Arch form ovens are better for bread baking. If you plan to bake a LOT of bread, then that's the choice.

    Don't worry about difficulty of construction. The tops of domes are hard to make perfect, but they don't need to be perfect to work just fine.
    My geodesic oven project: part 1, part 2


    • #3
      Re: "Half-Pipe" versus Dome design for Oven?

      You should read http://www.fornobravo.com/pompeii_ov...peii_oven.html

      It depends on what you want to use your oven for. Since I'm mainly doing pizza, with some roasting and baking thrown in from time to time, I went with a 42" round oven with 3" thick walls. It's nearly finished, and should heat up quickly.
      I'm building a Pompeii Oven in Austin, Texas. See my progress at:
      Il Forno Fumoso


      • #4
        Re: "Half-Pipe" versus Dome design for Oven?


        I built a barrel vault Alan Scott oven (4'x3' hearth), but I planned to bake bread in it almost exclusively, and a great deal of of it. Therefore, I went with a lot of thermal mass for consecutive bakes. It takes a lot of wood and time to bring that mass up to heat. I can bake pizza in it, but it simply does not work as well as a round oven. When I get the time (my copious spare time), I'll be building a round oven next to it, exclusively for pizza.

        I do a lot of masonry work, and I can't say the barrel vault is easier to build than a round dome. Each has its challenges.

        Go for the Pompeii design for pizza, or buy a modular from Forno Bravo. You'll be glad you did.

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


        • #5
          Re: "Half-Pipe" versus Dome design for Oven?

          Hey VV,

          One way of thinking about it is the round dome cooks better than the barrel vault oven -- which is really what you are looking for. It gives more even heat on the cooking floor, bounces heat down nicely for roasting, the oven is accessible, and it holds the high heat you want for pizza and fast cooking appetizers.

          The heat up time is also really important, but you really want to enjoy cooking in your oven -- and the round oven is definitely better for the chef.
          Pizza Ovens
          Outdoor Fireplaces


          • #6
            Re: "Half-Pipe" versus Dome design for Oven?

            Where can I find (online) instructions with pictures of the half-pipe type? I do plan to bake mainly breads. I saw the round dome tops instructions....but where is the half type? Thank you


            • #7
              Re: "Half-Pipe" versus Dome design for Oven?

              We don't do that here They may have plans at this site as he is one of the guru's for that type of oven.

              Alan Scott - OVENCRAFTERS

              I'd seriously consider the dome due to the speed in which they come up to heat.

              Which ever way you choose - good luck.

              Check out my pictures here:

              If at first you don't succeed... Skydiving isn't for you.


              • #8
                Re: "Half-Pipe" versus Dome design for Oven?

                Take a look here as well if you want that type of oven: Building wood burning brick bread ovens



                • #9
                  Re: "Half-Pipe" versus Dome design for Oven?

                  Thank you for the sites. We have not created our Plan or Design yet. I am finally turned the math-y part over to our 15 year old. I do not "get" the math part about why the dome is better (and probably should just take your word for it?) and someone told us to use half cut paper barrel to do the "dome" or "vault" (?) part to hold it up while it sets.

                  Since I am doing this project with kids .....well...with a 9 year old and a 15 year old........I do not want to bite off more Dome than we can do!

                  BUT today we are going to Flat Rock Bakery in Flat Rock, NC and view a brick oven building ongoing now. Their old oven broke.....somehow.......a few weeks ago and we heard they have men building a new BIG one. So we might get ideas there too. And information. Thank you.


                  • #10
                    Re: "Half-Pipe" versus Dome design for Oven?

                    Originally posted by Nel frattempo View Post
                    BUT today we are going to Flat Rock Bakery in Flat Rock, NC and view a brick oven building ongoing now. Their old oven broke.....somehow.......a few weeks ago and we heard they have men building a new BIG one. So we might get ideas there too. And information. Thank you.
                    Sounds like an interesting field trip. Please take pictures and post them here!
                    My Oven Thread:


                    • #11
                      barrel vault bread ovens

                      These folks have posted their progress for ovens, no particular order

                      August Vanderdonckt - Very Detailed you could make an oven with his document Tampa FL
                      Bill Funkhouser pizza oven construction
                      Matt Considine Building a brick oven
                      Frankie G Frankie G's Wood-Fired Pizza Oven
                      MHA 2000 Workshop with Norbert Senf
                      MHA 2005 with Pat Manley - THE MAN MHA 2005 - Commercial Pizza Oven Workshop
                      Pat Manley Super Bread Oven Sunnyfield - The Bakery Project
                      Brian in San Francisco Brian's Brick Oven Folly
                      Lithiums brutal build Lithium
                      Last edited by jengineer; 04-11-2007, 08:11 AM.