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We are a go! - Forno Bravo Forum: The Wood-Fired Oven Community



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We are a go!

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  • We are a go!

    My pastor pulled me aside this afternoon to get an update on the research I have been doing for the oven. I shared with him the fact that I located an online community of brick oven experts, and he was very pleased with the amount of expertise that exists on this board. He has instructed me to contact the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture to see if there are any regulations/limitations that must be followed in our state. If there are any, they must not be a significant barrier, as I have located a pizza shop in the Pittsburgh area that uses a wood-fired brick oven as well as a bakery that is in the Philadelphia area. If they were able to clear ovens for use in their respective businesses, then I don't see that we will have any significant issues. Being in a rural area, we do not have a designated fire marshal, so all we have to do is conform to the local building code .

    I am good friends with gentleman in our congregation who is a retired metallurgist. What I didn't know about him previously, is that he spent the bulk of his career in the heat treatment industry, with a specialization in brick ovens for the tempering of metal. His expertise with regards to refractory materials will be invaluable, but I have already given him a friendly warning that he needs to resist trying to suggest too many "improvements", as I have learned from Jim that there is not much utility in attempting to reinvent the wheel.

    Constriction on this oven will coincide with a project that will result in a new kitchen being built in a different area of our building, as our current kitchen does not meet PA Dept of Ag regulations. We wish to start a monthly diner theater to offset our food budget, so to "sell" food we need to be licensed. Construction is slated to begin in late spring, so things will happen a bit faster than I'd like. We are leaning towards a barrel type of construction, as there isn't much chance that we will go into a full fledged pizza business, so bread will be the main focus of this endeavor.

    Now for the hard part. The team that we assemble for the build has what I consider to be a short time to learn a whole lot about brick ovens. I'm thankful that we have this forum available to us, for I feel that you folks will be the most vital variable as we move forward.

    Much thanks to all who have helped, as well as those of you who have yet to do so. I'm loving this process!

  • #2
    Re: We are a go!

    I bet you end up building your own pizza oven in your back yard!
    It can quickly can become an obsession!

    I think the barrel design is perfect for you congregation.
    Take lots of photos.... I'm an oven voyeur!

    My thread:
    My costs:
    My pics:


    • #3
      Re: We are a go!

      I've been slow in picking up your posts but from your description of what you are trying to accomplish with your oven, you might want to check out this link (hope it loads OK) to a city park in Toronto, Ontario (Canada) that built a community-use oven in 1995 and has since built another.

      Friends of Dufferin Grove Park | (Bake Ovens & Food) Overview - Composite Overview

      They have obviously found it a real asset in bringing their very diverse community together, along with a cob wall, fireplace and children's play space that might give you some other ideas too, There's a lot of information here on their journey over the years. They built an Alan Scott barrel oven ... but I'm sure it's only because they didn't know about Forno Brave .

      I have been working with a few people here to initiate something similar in one of our public parks but it's stalled at the moment due to some very apprehensive city councilors and the fact that the wheels of our local government sometimes move verrrrry slowwwwly ...

      Whatever you decide to build, good luck! And please post it, so we can all see.



      • #4
        Re: We are a go!

        Glad you're here. Sound like a fun church group. If I was a bit more religious, and lived on your side of the world, I might be tempted to join your efforts. As it is, I wish you great luck and easy passage through the red tape that you will no doubt encounter. Keep us up to date on your work.
        Best regards!
        Everyone makes mistakes. The trick is to make mistakes when nobody is looking.



        • #5
          Re: We are a go!

          A quick thought that occured to me here:

          With your setup, if you really do get hooked on ovens while building yours (like a lot of us have here) you can always plan to build a smaller (round?)one at a later date somewhere else.

          You should be able to get lots of support for that, especially when the congregation sees how well these ovens work... now there's a perspective I'd like to have!

          Good luck with your build! Sounds as if this will be really interesting to watch, what with all the expertise you have to back you up.

          "Building a Brick oven is the most fun anyone can have by themselves." (Terry Pratchett... slightly amended)



          • #6
            Re: We are a go!

            Just received a reply from the regional office of the PA Dept of AG (it's Presidents Day, I thought government offices were closed today). It reads as follows:

            The Pa Dept Of Agricultureís regulations donít have any restrictions as to the wood fired oven, however, you should check with the local building code enforcement to see if thereís anything prohibiting such an oven!

            Local building code has limitations for indoor fireplaces and the such, but only in that they have specific flue specs for the pipe and exit materials.

            This is getting scary, as the barriers to construction fall out of the way. From my research on this forum, it's the insulation that is the expensive part. I'll make it a priority that we don't skimp there.


            • #7
              Re: We are a go!

              Sarah: Very nice link. Community is a very cool thing. That's why forum boards such as this thrive. I'm amazed at the multi-national aspect of this forum. I've been a member of several forum boards before, but none with an international flavor such as this one. I do believe I'll hang out here for a spell!

              Frances: Yes, I'm tempted to build my own, but I'd also like to build a portable large scale BBQ as well (we cooked 3 pigs on a spit for our baptism celebration last year). I'm hooked on BBQ, and I'm getting very close to becoming hooked on this wood-fired business - I just don't know all that much about it yet. I can see this project as being a life changing endeavor.