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Lessons learned - Forno Bravo Forum: The Wood-Fired Oven Community

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Lessons learned

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  • Lessons learned

    I have been way to busy with work as of late- Thanks to the US Govt (will leave the agency out of this - for now).

    It has been about a month since my last firing of the oven and I was contemplating:

    What would I do if I was to do this over? I know brickie rebuilt his oven (and I bow to the southwest as he is a masonry genius!)

    I thought for those looking at making ovens, how could we assist those future builders!

    For me - I rarely have less than 10 or so teenagers over for pizza (not to mention the tag along adults!) If it were up to my kids, this would be a weekly event with a total of 25+!!!! I cook wings, roast garlic by the metric ton (a favorite topping) and bake dinner and desert pizza's until I have no hair left on my right arm - even with furnace gloves! Yet, I would prefer the kids over here rather than running wild (like I did!)

    That said, I would make a larger oven (karangi style). I always seem challenged on space when cooking. I can handle 3 pizzas easily. Though, if I had to do it over, I would make a 48 inch oven. Reason is, I need to juggle my heat as I have a favorite hot spot in my oven for when pizzas go in. I would like additional area.

    What about you??

    CW
    Jen-Aire 5 burner propane grill/Char Broil Smoker

    Follow my build Chris' WFO

  • #2
    Re: Lessons learned

    Originally posted by C5dad View Post
    .......Yet, I would prefer the kids over here rather than running wild (like I did!)...............

    CW
    It was years before any thoughts of a WFO, and it was only hamburgers, hot dogs on the charcoal grill, and a yard full of kids tracking water from the above ground pool to the house. But, that quote reminds me of what I use to tell every one. "I would rather feed the neighborhood than worry about where my kids are"
    I don't care what folks say behind my back........They are either braggin' or.......lyin'

    joe watson

    My Build
    My Picasa Web Album

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    • #3
      Re: Lessons learned

      Originally posted by Gulf View Post
      "I would rather feed the neighborhood than worry about where my kids are"
      Ditto - we were ground central as well. If I had a nickle for every pancake I made for breakfast...

      CW - I wouldn't change much. The entry surface would be the major thing. And I would have probably moved the BBQ about a foot to the left for just a little more staging area.
      Check out my pictures here:
      http://www.fornobravo.com/forum/f8/les-build-4207.html

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

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Lessons learned

        wotavidone also brings up a valid point: Entry height. I am 5'9" yet 4 blocks high is a tad low for me ( have to stoop.) Looking at ovens in places like San Francisco, etc - I would raise the height!

        Gulf and Les: That was the my thought exactly! Like when I grew up, I have a place where the kids can feel they can come at ANY hour (even to 3 am breakfasts). They all know they can pull me (or the wife) aside and talk if they need to.

        I would not have it any other way! I enjoy the teenagers playing the piano, hanging out watching movies/playing video games and doing good things rather than going to the desert/outback/woods partying - even on the nights that I need to go to work the next day. Guess I am fortunate that the kids equate party with music rather than ...

        CW
        Jen-Aire 5 burner propane grill/Char Broil Smoker

        Follow my build Chris' WFO

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Lessons learned

          Originally posted by C5dad View Post
          I am 5'9" yet 4 blocks high is a tad low for me ( have to stoop.) Looking at ovens in places like San Francisco, etc - I would raise the height!
          Chris,

          I'm 5'10 with the same block height. I don't find it that bad to work the oven - it's all a compromise. It makes inserting wood easier and it's easier for the wife to do her thing (rare occasion) but it has happened.
          Check out my pictures here:
          http://www.fornobravo.com/forum/f8/les-build-4207.html

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

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Lessons learned

            My wife is 5'7" and stays away from the oven. Thinks I am too picky about the definition of a RAGING fire where flames go up the chimney. Oh well.

            The cool thing is, they (my kids friends) can do their own pizzas from sauce to toppings. Mama just oversees the new kids in the brood, and ensures that the cutting wheel is not abused!

            I would not trade it for the world. The couple of minutes with each kid makes it all worth while. Something about fires that lets the kids feel comfortable - I guess it is an ancient instinct -> Fire = safety.
            Jen-Aire 5 burner propane grill/Char Broil Smoker

            Follow my build Chris' WFO

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Lessons learned

              I am 6'2". I used 5 blocks in my base, in part due to a raised footing above the level of the patio, my final cooking floor height is 52 inches above the patio. I find it very comfortable to work in Name:  31bd1fed2dbe631c634a8648a3c86ce3.jpg
Views: 2
Size:  717.5 KB
              dvm

              My road to pizza is documented here:
              http://www.fornobravo.com/forum/f21/...ome-17755.html
              sigpic

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              • #8
                Re: Lessons learned

                Thing's I would do differently. In no particular order;
                1. I should have started years earlier. Cooking with a WFO is so much fun! Best Summer Project Ever!
                2. I should have researched more on this forum before I started the build. I downloaded the FB plans which are terrific but there's a few sections that are lacking a little detail and there is so much more information available on this forum.
                3. I wish I had built my base with an opening at the front and back (or side). There is no way I'm going to be able to use the space at the back of the "U" shaped base I have.
                4. I should have poured a single solid slab to support my base. Instead, I built my base on a slab poured in two sections. In hind sight that was really stupid! I do have a 32" block foundation and my slab is a good 6" thick with rebar throughout so I should be ok.
                5. I wish I had beveled my bricks for the inner arch to match the courses of the dome. Any way you cut it this part of the build is a challenge, but the beveled arch is a much cleaner design. This kind of falls under the "no-body really cares but you" column but if I were to do it again...
                6. I should have used more insulation under my hearth. I used 2 1/2" of insulating brick but I wish I had placed that on top of 2-3" of vermi-crete. I have plenty of insulation on the dome and retain enough heat for a bake or slow roast the day after cooking pizza but I think I'm losing more heat than I should to my hearth slab.
                7. I should have saved the fire wood from the Silver Maple that was cut down where the oven would be. Actually the tree had to go because it was invading my septic tank and line. Never the less, I let the wood go even though I was planning to build a WFO!??...as Forest's mother said..."stupid is as stupid does" I suppose.
                If I might add a couple words of advice for Things Done Right (actually I did a few things pretty well but I'm not going to stroke my ego here): If you can't work on this project year round (and have a day job), I recommend that you get an early start and stay at it. I started by dig in April and my oven was fully functional by mid September but I busted my ass doing it. I've still got work to do (final enclosure, counter tops etc.) so I will continue to haunt these pages for ideas. This is a wonderful project to do with your family (if you can). I enlisted help from my kids along the way digging the foundation, setting the block and rebar, mixing cement etc. My kids range in age from 5 to 12 so you know who was doing the heavy lifting but keeping the kids involved kept it fun and brought us all closer together....and who knows, maybe they learned something...I know I did.
                Last edited by ATK406; 01-27-2013, 06:32 PM.

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                • #9
                  Re: Lessons learned

                  Originally posted by ATK406 View Post
                  3. I wish I had built my base with an opening at the front and back (or side). There is no way I'm going to be able to use the space at the back of the "U" shaped base I have.
                  That's precisely what I did - at least my second time around. My first oven was just the horseshoe shaped base - and I found that I almost never even saw the back of the storage area.

                  Second time around - I did an "H" shaped base - with equal storage in the front and back.

                  http://www.fornobravo.com/forum/f8/c...tml#post110601



                  I can easily fit two rows of cut wood in the front. In the back, I've got my Webber Kettle Grill stored, along with all of my kindling, fatwood, charcoal, etc. It is one of the better improvements between my first and second ovens.

                  Now - the question is what would I do differently with the third oven. Don't get me started.

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