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View Poll Results: What size did you choose for your Wood Fired Oven?
<28 inches 3 3.70%
between 28 & 32 inches 4 4.94%
between 33 & 36 inches 18 22.22%
between 37 & 41 inches 14 17.28%
between 42 & 46 inches 34 41.98%
>46 inches 8 9.88%
Voters: 81. You may not vote on this poll

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  #11  
Old 12-18-2010, 08:13 PM
Lburou's Avatar
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Thumbs up Re: Poll: How big is your Wood Fired Oven?

Quote:
Originally Posted by pizza_bob View Post
I built a 42" oven and I think the size is great for a novice like myself. I like to keep plenty of space between the pizza and the fire/ash. The extra room makes it easy to get a small peel under the pizza to rotate it so the side facing the fire doesn't burn. I start the fire with a "top-down-burn". Which means I put larger pieces of wood on the hearth and build it up with smaller pieces until the kindling tops everything off. This method was introduced to me by a mason/pizza oven builder/owner and it really works well. The fire starts without any problems and minimal smoke. It is key to have really dry wood too - which I do - and it's all oak for me. I start the fire in the front/middle of the oven and add logs off to the sides and back to start spreading the heat evenly across the floor. I like to heat it up for at least two hours. It usually takes one hour to clear the dome and then I let it soak for at least an hour but longer if I plan on doing more than fifteen pizzas. I then push the hot embers to the left side of the oven and always keep a small log burning on top of the embers to maintain a flame licking-up the dome - see picture below. At this point the floor is usually 850 degrees which is way too hot to cook pizza. So I have a clean mop that I ring-out to be just damp enough to cool and clean the cooking area. This really does a nice job of cleaning all ash from the cooking area and after several scrubbings the floor temperature comes down to 750 degrees Fahrenheit which I believe is a great temperature to start cooking. The pizzas cook in 90 seconds - two minutes. If a pizza has a lot of toppings I'll "dome" it - basically lift it up close to the dome so the toppings finish cooking - it really works well and keeps the bottom from burning. I mop the floor every two or three pizzas to remove the burnt corn meal. I've done fifteen pizzas without having to rake coals over the floor. My hearth bricks are laid flat on top of five inches of vermi-crete mixed 5:1 ratio. The vermi-crete encapsulates 2" thick blocks of FoamGlas insulation which span the footprint of the floor and entryway. I think the FoamGlas is the reason my floor doesn't cool down quickly. The dome is 4.5" thick firebrick with no extra cladding on the outside. Then there is 3"-4" of ceramic blanket and then at least 6" inches of loose vermiculite all around the dome and the enclosure walls. The dome interior height is 19 1/2" inches and I did a hearingbone pattern on the floor. I have an 8" inside diameter stainless steel flue that is double-walled. I did two full brick lengths (18") for the vent landing depth. This makes it a little difficult to reach the back of the oven for shorter people but I am 6'6" tall so it's not bad. The hearth height is 55" which I think is great to work at chest height. I kinda' wish I used larger bricks or tiles for the cooking floor. I have few chips on the corners of some bricks that annoy me. These happened from either the pizza peel or dragging clay casserole dishes across the floor. I left a 1/8" gap around the cooking floor and dome walls to allow for expansion when heated. I might leave less if I were to do this again because it seems as if the hearth bricks get gaps in certain areas that annoy me too. They fill with ash but are still there.
Check out my link for additional info and here are our holiday photos we used for our post cards this year - yes that is a "bun" in the oven. The Christmas cards say "Warm" wishes for the holiday season! The oven veneer was completed a couple weeks ago so all this chatter above is only from a couple months of using the oven so I still have a lot to learn and the veterans on this site have really helped - thanks guys!

~Bob
Welp, PizzaBob, you win the prize so far for the most pertinent information

The points you make are useful in my choice of oven size and details of construction. At this time, I'm leaning toward an oven smaller than 42", maybe as small as 36" in an effort to shorten warm up times. Your insulation plan gives me something to talk about too.

Each post has offered something to consider and I appreciate every one

Thanks
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  #12  
Old 12-18-2010, 08:49 PM
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Location: Gilbert, AZ
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Default Re: Poll: How big is your Wood Fired Oven?

Talk about a personal question!

Some of the things you need to keep in mind is the outside temperature and when was the last time you fired your oven, Type of wood, how dry your wood is, and the phase of the moon.

Most folks who I know who have WFO's only cook 2 pizzas at a time. One friend in particular bought a place with a modular oven. The floor cools down after about 5 pizzas and he has to keep the coals rotating, even after a 2+ hour warm up!

I do know that even after running others ovens during parties, that I prefer a larger oven since floor temp rebound is quicker and burnt crusts are minimized. Although I love the big ovens, I just do not think a 81 inch oven would go over well with my wife - she rolled her eyes when I showed her the pics - same look when I wanted the $2000 shotgun too
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  #13  
Old 12-19-2010, 08:00 AM
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Default Re: Poll: How big is your Wood Fired Oven?

I built a 'typical' 42" Pompeii using the FB plans. I cook one 18" pizza at a time. It takes from 1 and 1/2 to 2 hours of firing for the dome to be entirely white. (really clean!) I sometimes have to wait for the dome and floor to even out and cool a bit down to 750 degrees (f) but I find the floor recharges quicker than just coming up to temp and cooking from there.
On another subject, I just bought a 5 ton electric log splitter. If you buy cord wood like I do, it's so easy to resplit it with this tool. I highly recommend it!
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  #14  
Old 12-19-2010, 10:29 AM
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Location: Los Angeles
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Default Re: Poll: How big is your Wood Fired Oven?

My oven is 34" and only 1 of out every 10 cooking sessions had I wished I had a larger oven, say about 40". But that only occurs when I'm doing roasts along with some fixings on the side. For pizza only, I know I can go with an even smaller oven. I usually do pizzas and appetizers, or steaks and a small side dish so 34" for me seem practical.

With the right start up fire my oven interior becomes clear in about an hour and is ready to go for pizza.

My hearth insulation is 3" of ceramic board and rest of the dome is covered in 3" worth of ceramic blanket and I'm happy with that.
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  #15  
Old 12-19-2010, 10:48 PM
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Default Re: Poll: How big is your Wood Fired Oven?

My oven is quite small 21" in diam actually. My first oven was actually even smaller. For the life of me I can't understand why you'd want a huge monster that takes up most of your backyard. The smaller ovens can cope quite easily with a party of 20 or so guests. They also consume far less fuel. Fuel usage is directly proportional to oven volume. As most of us cook one pizza at a time a large diam. seems a bit pointless. I can fit 3 nine inch pizzas in mine at a time if pressed. Having said all this there are times when I wish the oven were bigger, but there are more times when I am grateful it's small, we use it more often.
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  #16  
Old 12-22-2010, 10:38 AM
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Default Re: Poll: How big is your Wood Fired Oven?

I guess mine would be considered a Tuscan style oven. it is 36", with a full soldier course of bricks, but i did lay an extra inch of ceramic under my floor bricks, inside the oven so my first course shows 5.5". So my oven floor actually has 3" of insulation under it. the doorway is 18.5" wide, 10" at the sides and 12" at the center of the arch. the dome is 21" at the center, giving me a 57% ratio. 2 + or - hours to clear the dome.. i tried to post a picture, but i'm technologically challenged. i need to compress the photo's to post them, and i need to get my IT guy to show me the easiest way to do it...3 layers of ceramic blanket, wire lath and 2 coats of stucco with 1 coat of acrylic. i'll add another coat of acrylic in the spring... here in Michigan we've been caught in an old Eagles tune.. the sky won't snow and the sun won't shine... if i had 40 degrees, i could finish my stonework..
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  #17  
Old 12-22-2010, 01:39 PM
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Default Re: Poll: How big is your Wood Fired Oven?

Quote:
i tried to post a picture, but i'm technologically challenged. i need to compress the photo's to post them
No IT guy/gal needed.
1) download irfanview (for windows machines)
2) open picture
3) under the image menu, click resize, then click "half"
4) save (or save as, to retain larger image)

You're ready to upload.
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  #18  
Old 12-23-2010, 06:42 AM
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Default Re: Poll: How big is your Wood Fired Oven?

I would much rather have built a larger oven but I did not want to visually overpower my back yard. My 32" floor should work just fine for our needs. We seldom cook for more than 6-8 people at a time. I can easily fit two 12" pies.
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  #19  
Old 12-23-2010, 09:59 AM
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Thumbs up Re: Poll: How big is your Wood Fired Oven?

Quote:
Originally Posted by david s View Post
My oven is quite small 21" in diam actually. My first oven was actually even smaller. For the life of me I can't understand why you'd want a huge monster that takes up most of your backyard. The smaller ovens can cope quite easily with a party of 20 or so guests. They also consume far less fuel. Fuel usage is directly proportional to oven volume. As most of us cook one pizza at a time a large diam. seems a bit pointless. I can fit 3 nine inch pizzas in mine at a time if pressed. Having said all this there are times when I wish the oven were bigger, but there are more times when I am grateful it's small, we use it more often.
Glad to hear that you have the right oven for your needs. I'd like to see a picture. Did you build it? Makes me wonder if I don't need two ovens

"kindled with zeal and Fired with Passion" I like that!

Last edited by Lburou; 12-23-2010 at 05:16 PM.
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  #20  
Old 12-23-2010, 10:48 AM
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Default Re: Poll: How big is your Wood Fired Oven?

I have a 40" WFO that I built on a trailer. It takes a minimum of 1.5 hours to get up to pizza temps with a big fire...I usually allow 2 hours. The one item that has made the difference in usable cooking space is a fire holder I cobbled together out of some angle iron.

I build the fire in the center of the oven and later push it over to the side and place my wood holder against it, then add wood behind the wood holder from then on.

One weekend a month we haul the oven over to our local park for Market Days and make pizzas. The wood holder allows me enough space to cook as many pizzas at a time as I'm capable of making. A bigger oven would do me no good because there are only so many pizzas I can manage at a time...for me that is 4 or 5 going flat out assembling them and managing the oven.

The last pic is after using the oven for 10 hours straight making pizzas...a lot of wood was burned.
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Poll:  How big is your Wood Fired Oven?-ss-landing-007.jpg   Poll:  How big is your Wood Fired Oven?-ss-landing-009.jpg   Poll:  How big is your Wood Fired Oven?-pizza-oven.jpg  

Last edited by Grimaldi; 12-23-2010 at 11:14 AM. Reason: add additional pics
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