Forno Bravo Forum: The Wood-Fired Oven Community

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Tolar 01-05-2009 01:38 PM

Newbie Introduction
Well, after reading and reading about wood fired ovens and cooking Artesian Bread and pizza in my oven in the kitchen. It is time to start the planning phase of building a real wood fired oven in my back yard.

I live in Mesa, Arizona, and the first question I have is this, is there anyone in Arizona, Phoenix area that has one of these ovens and would be kind to chat with me, let me take a peek at them and give pointers on how to build one.

I have downloaded the Forno Bravo book on building a Pompeii Oven, I have read through it a few times and it seems simple enough to build, just lots of hard work.

The second question is "What is the difference in cooking with a Barrel vaulted or dome style oven?" It looks like I can build a barrel oven faster and easier than a dome.

Last question is "Where can I find firebrick in the Phoenix area, mainly in the Mesa region?"

Enough chit chat for now, I am sure I'll have lots of questions, which I do, but will wait to post them.


Breven 01-06-2009 12:06 PM

Re: Newbie Introduction
There are a couple of people here from Arizona Elizabeth is one- she'll chime in I'm sure.

As for the barrell vs vault design, there are a ton of reasons why the round oven seems to be best for a smaller residential application, where a barrel vault might be better for a larger scale bread baking situation. There have been a lot of dicsussions here on the topic and I think there is some info on the home page of the FB site too as to why round vs. barrel too.

Breven 01-06-2009 12:10 PM

Re: Newbie Introduction
Oops...I said Elizabeth, I meant Nikki...I know Nikki is from Arizona, right Nikki?

Modthyrth 01-06-2009 12:23 PM

Re: Newbie Introduction
Yep, that's me, Nikki. I'm just down the street in Gilbert and am in the finishing stages of my build. I'd be happy to chat about local suppliers and show off my serviceable but not elegant masonry. It's not the prettiest build, but it makes great pizza! ;-)

Firebrick: available at a few places in the area. I chose to use AZ Bricksource. Arizona Brick Source . They were the only ones who were able to get refractory mortar for me, and even found a technically equivalent but cheaper (in this area) alternative to heatstop 50. Everyone else just tried to sell me fireclay so I could mix my own. They also didn't give me "oh honey, just ask your contractor to take care of it" crap. Bricks there were $1.50 each.

I've used Marvel Masonry Supply in Mesa for a bunch of other stuff. Fireclay, lime, bags of portland, premix concrete bags, flue liners. They're on country club and southern, I believe. I bought a few firebricks from them when I ran out of my original supply, and the quality was the same, though they were clearly a different manufacturer. Price was about $1.75 each.

Prices on concrete block for the stand were lowest at Pioneer Landscaping in Gilbert on Guadalupe.

I have a great local stone veneer manufacturer to recommend and a lead on a good paver company, if you're interested.

Welcome to the obsession! You've picked a good time of the year to build. I was so driven that I started my build at the end of June. Not the brightest idea I've ever had. ;-)

egalecki 01-06-2009 12:31 PM

Re: Newbie Introduction
Serviceable but not elegant. I like that. Mine's that way too!

(From Virginia, by the way, I've never been to Phoenix, but I'd like to visit there someday)

Modthyrth 01-06-2009 12:50 PM

Re: Newbie Introduction
One more recommendation: rent a mixer and do all the concrete pours yourself. I believe I went through six different concrete guys, including two who specialized in delivering small batches of premix, all of whom flaked out on me. Delayed my build by months before I got frustrated enough to do it myself. I like the little rental place on Gilbert road just north of Joe's BBQ. Good prices, good service.

christo 01-06-2009 02:11 PM

Re: Newbie Introduction
Another option is buying a mixer and selling it when you are done on craigslist.

I bought the $189 mixer from HF and used it for foundation, hearth, and many many more places. It is not the most robust piece of equipment but has served me well and I'm pretty sure I've saved on the cost of renting. This spring I will wrap up my last concrete project and right after I sell it I can bet I'll find another project!!!


Tolar 01-09-2009 08:23 AM

Re: Newbie Introduction
Sorry I have not gotten back to the forum, but due to some unforseen medical expenses, poor health insurance, I had to use the money to get started for that, and right now I have been home with the flu and bronchitis. yuck, missed 4 days of work. :mad:

Now that I feel well enough to be out of bed, I am looking through the forum for information that Breven mentioned on dome vs barrel, see I love to bake bread, and eat pizza, this just might turn into building both and might add gas assist to the barrel. Still just thinking, I am also using Visio to plan the location and plans for the build. Might not happen until later this year.

See, about 8 years ago I help start the Arizona BBQ Association, and 6 years ago I built a large smoker on a trailer that I have cooked from 25lbs to 350lb of meat at once. It is very time consuming, 24 hours is the standard for my rig, from prep, tending, cooking and packaging the meat, I have not cooked on it for the last 2 years due to my job and price of good wood. I look forward to being able to cook all weekend with little management of heat, savings on fuel and just having fun.

So, I will relish in the builds that I find here and refine my plans. :D


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