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kmckinney 04-06-2009 10:14 AM

Absolute Newbie Here in Texas
Yep, I am a new born oven building infant and will probably get on some nerves with some of the questions I will have but please be patient and feed me the strained stuff that tastes good...:D

I am pretty detail oriented as I am A Technical Writer and I love tearing stuff apart to see how and why it works then put it back together to see if it works.

My project... a brick oven for use in the kitchen of a house we are renovating to live in. The house is Depression Era with real Stucco inside and out.

My first question:
I want to build the oven outside my kitchen but want access to it from my kitchen for cooking. Is there a length restriction to the Arch Opening or is it a convenience factor rather that a functional one?

My plan (very early stages at this point) is to build a 42" Diameter Pompeii outside with a BBQ on the backside. I am also planning a second arch opening on the back and above the grill for easy access and oven use outside as well.

Second Question: I barking up the wrong tree here or should I rethink my plan?

All the help I can get is appreciated and as my project advances I will send in things I learn as well to possibly help others.


p/s: Third Question: I went through the order process for the Free E-books but no link came up to download from. Does anyone have the links?:o

Mudologist 10-03-2009 12:59 PM

Re: Absolute Newbie Here in Texas
Newbie, remember that putting the oven in the house, you're building a fireplace. You'll have to run the chimney up 2' over 10 ' feet from combustabiles, and you'll be air conditioning a ton (literally) of hot masonry. While convience to the house is important , I feel that in the house would not be my first choice.

kmckinney 10-05-2009 12:54 PM

Re: Absolute Newbie Here in Texas

Thanks for your reply. I am still in the planning stages as we are rennovating on an "as we can basis". We are progressing nicely but as in any project of this magnitude it just doesn't seem to be moving as fast as we would like... it'll get there though.

One of the plans for this oven is to open a quasi-pizzaria on Thurs, Fri and Saturday evenings and have delivery only. So, access from the inside is kinda going to be more nessesary than not.

I have taken into consideration the chimney specs and other insulation issues as well. The more work I do on this project the more appreciation I have for the "real Carpenters" back in the day of no power tools. This structure is put together like none I have ever seen. Ceiling and Floor Joists on 12" centers, 1x8 lathe on both sides of all walls and then 3/4" thick real plaster work on the inside and 1"+ thick stucco on the exterior. It is really built.

If you or others have any suggestions to help in creating and building the oven please post them as I read the posts and research a lot concerning our oven to be.

Les 10-05-2009 02:52 PM

Re: Absolute Newbie Here in Texas
The double entry has been discussed before - I don't recall anyone doing it. The challenge I see is the dual vents being tied into one exit, a challenge, but doable. If all you are doing is pizza, the doors should be fairly easy to fabricate. I would stay away from wood. Most doors are placed when the fire has died or is dieing down. Yours are going to be subject to full throttle heat (on one side or the other).

The Arch Opening length is a convenience. I think as long as you have the vent on the outside of the chamber, it can be any length you want. It obviously has some restrictions, you need to be able to reach your tools into there.

Good luck,


dmun 10-05-2009 03:25 PM

Re: Absolute Newbie Here in Texas
I remember once reading of a NYC pizzaria that had a two door configuration, for easier two man operation. I once suggested that an inside/outside dual door, with an inverted "Y" vent, would be an answer to the problem of northern winter oven operation. I was envisioning one entry being plugged with an insulated firebrick segment while the other door was in use. I don't think anyone has ever taken up this suggestion.

kmckinney 10-05-2009 05:27 PM

Re: Absolute Newbie Here in Texas
Thanks a million for the responses.

Since my original post, my original intention of just enjoying an oven at home seems to be developing into somewhat of a business ran from home. During renovation work and such, many people have developed a curiosity as to what I'm doing with this old mid 1920's home. I seemed to have developed quite an interest in the locals when they learn I am planning a brick oven, and from their word of mouth many others have expressed much interest in supporting a weekend pizza business as well as business owners expressing an interest in breads for resale.

So, it seems that we may expand the oven diameter to no larger than 52 inches to accommodate what looks to be high demand, just not sure if we increase the oven size and interest wains that I would want such a large oven just for home use.

DimTex 10-05-2009 06:16 PM

Re: Absolute Newbie Here in Texas
While I know you indicated a preference for an indoor accessible oven I would make you aware of two of my experiences and considerations you should take into account.

Firing-when firing the wood fired oven depending on the quality of your firewood it can sometimes be a bit of a pain. Sometimes the fire starts up real fast, sometimes when the humidity is high I need to use a blower to help the fire take off (sounds funny). Those times when you need a blower or some way to inject air into the oven, there's a lot of smoke, more than the chimney can handle and smoke comes out the opening. Indoors that can be more than some folks will put up with. Other times when the fire really takes off (wood is really dry) the first 30 minutes of the firing can be pretty hot. You need a good fresh air supply.

Venting: Prevailing winds in your area need to be considered to make sure the smoke from your chimney does not cause problems.

Just my two cents here from Austin

Les 10-05-2009 06:51 PM

Re: Absolute Newbie Here in Texas

Originally Posted by kmckinney (Post 66716)
seems to be developing into somewhat of a business ran from home.

So, it seems that we may expand the oven diameter to no larger than 52 inches to accommodate what looks to be high demand.

A couple of thoughts for what they are worth.

I see a place down the street selling pizza (large) for $3.99. I have no clue how they can do that. Granted, you will be making the best, but there is always the price / pain threshold. A 42 oven is more than enough. Considering you can cook a pizza in 90 to 150 seconds. If you exceed that output, I want to be your delivery boy - I have a pretty fast car. :D

Again, good luck. whichever way you choose, this is a fun/stressful/painful/ experience.


ThisOldGarageNJ 10-05-2009 06:59 PM

Re: Absolute Newbie Here in Texas
Have you considered putting the oven on a semi enclosed porch, In the winter there will be enough heat to keep you warm, Plenty of air for the fire, and you want have it using up all your air conditioning... Just another thought to throw around..

dmun 10-05-2009 07:17 PM

Re: Absolute Newbie Here in Texas
Also, once you start to exchange food for money, you run into the heath department pretty quickly. Three sinks, anyone? Commercial equipment throughout, including ventilation and fire suppression, the list goes on and on. This may be a serious impediment to your plans.

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