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This is not the first time we've been asked. There are a couple of things at play here.
The Ristorante has a really nice cast iron "frame" around the door, that is high at the top and wide at the bottem -- so that you can get just about anything in and out of the oven, while still holding in heat. The tricky part is that door frame is cast to fit perfectly in the opening of the oven -- which would make it very difficult to build to. Of course the really tricky part is that our oven producer would never sell just that piece to us. They like selling the whole oven.
Also, the door itself is steel.
One option would be for FB to start producing a steel door, along the lines of the Casa door, which we could sell through the Forno Bravo Store. I have used the Casa door a zillion times, and it works very well. If we published the size of the door, would builders be happy building their opening to a pre-set size?
Something to to think about. Let me know what you think.
I use a small scale iron foundry in Lancaster Co. Pa.. They do one-offs and short runs, and are willing to work from homemade patterns. The process is more affordable if the pattern can be made flat on one side. There are various rules about the maximum size of the casting, which should be about the size of an inverted "T" door frame, and each pattern has to have two degree relief angles on every side, and be painted with primer, to avoid soaking up moisture from the casting sand, and for a smooth release.
Making the patterns would be the real expense. The casting costs would be under a couple of hundred dollars.
Iron castings get way cheaper at about the hundred unit threshhold. Of course at that point you need machined metal patterns, which are way more expensive.
The bad news about the foundry in PA is that for religious reasons, they don't use telephones or email. You have to go there, or send them patterns by mail.
Gee, I was thinking it was too simple: I was trying to think about how you could make a door, like the back of a station wagon, that would swing out from the top, to make a fire door for fire starting, but could swing sideways for pizza cooking. And be insulated for retained heat cooking.
I guess simplicity has never been my strong point.
I enjoy and truly appreciate your approach to design and construction. Never underdone. It's great. One of the (many) things I enjoy about this forum is the different perspective everyone brings, how they balance out in some ways, and give builders the best range of options always.
I have seen ovens with cast iron assemblies in the front that include the door frame, the door itself and the vent assembly. It looks like a serious piece of design and manufacturing (and if I was desigining an oven for re-sale -- as our oven producers do, I don't think I would do it that way). Still, they look good and I am guessing would last.
I'm out of my depth here, but isn't true cast iron a fading art. Most of what we see now is cast aluminum that has been painted? Is that right?
Lou Preston has a counter-weighted door that works like a station wagon on his commercial size (8' plus) Scott oven in Healdsburg. He's a great guy, and if you are interested, we can ask how he did it -- or make an introduction.
Preston Vineyards is at the leading edge of organic vineyard management and olive management -- and they make great wine. It's an excellent enterprise.
James, I do think there would be a market for a good door. I think it would be easier to build an oven to fit the door than to try and fabricate a door. So long as the cost was not really prohibitive I would want one.
dmun..since the foundry isn't accessible via phone or e mail i'd guess that its owned and operated by the Amish..i'm sure that the quality of their work is impeccable..i also happen to be form Pennsylvania