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EADavis 03-25-2009 08:17 AM

Hello From Central California
Long-time pizza maker, first time poster.

OK, it is finally time. After pouring thru all of the great information on this board, and getting the motivation by seeing a couple of examples of ovens down at our local Graniterock store, I am going to take the plunge and build one. I even have my wife reluctantly onboard (she is all for it, as long as it does not cost anything, and she can have her pizzas tonight!).

My thoughts are to do a geodesic dome out of castible pentangles and triangles - it keeps down the parts count, but should not be too unwielding. Sort of a combination of ideas that I have seen from the wonderful people who have preceded me in this endevour - thanks in advance for the ideas and details you have documented here. I promise to repay in kind by providing a lot of pictures.

I have learned that Google's SketchUp is a great free tool, and not bad to use, once you learn it. And I did go down last week to Harbor Freight Tools and picked up the 10" tile/brick saw that has been mentioned so many times here. By the way, it is on sale now (and being HFT, will again be on sale in a couple of months!). For those who may not know this, you can get a 20% off coupon online (and thru their emails). Just do a "Harbor Freight Tools Coupon" search in Google, and one of those sites will link you to the HFT coupon page. The current 20% off coupon is good till 5/31/09. The cement mixer is next...

As far as finding materials I need, I know where I can get most of what I need locally, though the closest place I can find castible refractories is up in the Bay Area (AMH Refractories). Though that is not too bad a drive, I prefer local, if possible - anyone know of a supplier/dealer in the Monterey/Salinas area?

Once again, thanks to all of the contributors and creator of this board for the great information contained here. I would have hated to have to have tried this from scratch!


exceloven 03-25-2009 09:23 AM

Re: Hello From Central California
Welcome. It sounds like your off to a great start HF wet saw and I'm assuming you've downloaded the FB oven plans. I can assure you you won't be sorry you built an oven. The build is very satisfying and using the oven is just as fun. I grew up in Pacific Grove and Carmel Valley but its been too long to remember the supply yards. James will probably have some info for you. Looking forward to your pix. Any questions you have have will be answered by the many helpful members around the world.


james 03-25-2009 12:59 PM

Re: Hello From Central California
Hey Ed,

Graniterock is now a Forno Bravo dealer, and we are putting more ovens on display at their various showrooms. They're a great company. I can't tell you how much time I spent at the Seaside warehouse when we were remodeling our house. Memories.

I haven't spent any time there thinking about firebricks, but I think they will take care of you on that for the cooking floor. You are close the to the FB warehouse in Windsor, and we can ship you Refmix pretty reasonably priced if you decide to build the dome from brick. Something to think about. I don't really have any local leads on castables. That's a different animal.

Mark, we are close to the PG gate and we do all of our shopping in Pacific Grove -- and our daughters have friends in Carmel Valley. Of course you get a lot more sun. Do you miss the peninsula?

Les 03-25-2009 01:26 PM

Re: Hello From Central California
James - speaking of Windsor. How frequent is the warehouse open on the weekends? We might want to drop by when we go to Ramekins next month.


james 03-25-2009 01:45 PM

Re: Hello From Central California
Tammy is typically available to meet at the warehouse on most weekends (isn't it terrible the way I just committed her time?).

Why don't you drop her an email and you can work out a time that's good for everyone. It would be fun for you to see everything in one place.


EADavis 03-25-2009 05:27 PM

Re: Hello From Central California
Thanks. San Diego is not a bad place to be - we use to make trips from Tucson (when we lived there) to go to Dog Beach. Now I take the dogs to Carmel - a lot closer!

EADavis 03-25-2009 05:46 PM

Re: Hello From Central California
Thanks. I actually saw the oven (I guess it was a Primavera) while driving by Graniterock - I figured it was one of yours. Tempting, but the engineer in my blood wants to build one myself. They also have a brick oven built into a kitchen island outside, but I noticed that the opening is about 2'+ off the ground - it seemed too low. Great for ideas, but it seemed impratical for use. But being a Newbie and being 6'1", I may be wrong!

We have a lumber yard right by the PG gate (I work at our corporate office in Monterey, though). Needless to say, if someone could figure out how to make a WFO out of lumber, material would not be a problem for me!

When it comes time, I will give you guys a call. It is the least I can do to support you for all the effort you have put into this board.
Thanks again,

dmun 03-25-2009 07:13 PM

Re: Hello From Central California
I'm the local geodesic maven, and for what it's worth, i'm not sure I'd build another one. The thinness of the oven works in modular ovens because there are few pieces to shift during heating and cooling cycles, but the 4" thickness of the half-brick dome distributes the forces more evenly in a multi-piece oven.

Something I'd read before committing to a thin-wall oven:

Auroville Earth Institute is a research, design and developing agency for vaulted structures, construction of various Vaults, Arches, Domes (VAD).

This article holds that for maximum strength, a hemispherical arch or dome should be thick enough to encompass the shape of the catenary arch within, the catenary being the strongest and most supporting shape.

EADavis 03-25-2009 07:54 PM

Re: Hello From Central California
You are more like the geodesic GOD, my inspiration for wanting to try a geodesic dome. This is why I am sounding out my ideas here, to get the experience that I don't have now, but will soon.

What I was thinking was to go with a 36" ID 2V geodesic dome, and cast only two types of parts - 5 full pentangles, one partial pentangle (for the opening), 8 equilateral triangles and 2 partial triangles. I figured I would make them 3" thick, with up to 1" of refractory cement coating the dome. I am kind of up in the air about embedding some type of reenforcement in the outside coating. I realize that the parts may be a bit heavy, this is a lot of mass, and this probably is not the most cost-effective way to go. But it sounds like fun to try! I also figured I would make the molds and cast a few parts in (inexpensive) concrete as prototypes, to see if my theories (and geometry calculations) are even valid. Of course, I may change my mind several times before I finally do something. So all input is welcome.

By the way, most all of these ideas I have stolen from the forum here - building on the shoulders of giants, so to speak...


Les 03-25-2009 08:39 PM

Re: Hello From Central California

Originally Posted by EADavis (Post 52787)
a 36" ID 2V geodesic dome, and cast only two types of parts - 5 full pentangles, one partial pentangle (for the opening), 8 equilateral triangles and 2 partial triangles.

Ouch - I just had a brain lock:eek:

Ed - it reads like you have a plan - go for it! It's awesome to see progress outside the box. As this forum keeps building, I can only imagine what the ovens will be in 5 years (might be made out of brick :))


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