#11  
Old 06-13-2006, 11:01 AM
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Hey Fio,

I have read some of those pages -- wow. I think that's my point. Saying you either have to build a "real" Naples-style oven (Volcanic ash from Mt. Vesuvius, hand thrown bricks from Naples clay fired in a wood-fired kiln, tufa insulation, super-low dome, large hood, vent over the dome) and cook at 910F, or do nothing is kind of crazy. It's the definition of looney-fringe.

You must drive a red Ferrarri to Home Depot to pick up lumber. It's not only impractical, you get 9 mpg.

Those ovens are perfect for pizza restaurants in urban Naples, but that's it. The idea that they are "better" just doesn't fly. They are different, and they represent a particular style of design, but they are not better. The rest of Italy has traditional dome ovens and vents, and they cook great food -- including pizza.

Funny, there is a Pizza Napoletana DOC (VPN certified) restaurant in Seattle that uses a U.S. made oven that has a 26"+ dome and a 35" wide oven opening. Wacky oven, but the pizzeria is VPN certified, and it gets great reviews.

One more note. I always wanted the Forno Bravo Forum to be a constructive group -- not a confrontational one, and I think we are doing great. We are, afterall, talking about pizza ovens, cooking and eating, not global warming. Let's keep it fun.

James
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  #12  
Old 06-13-2006, 01:54 PM
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I agree a Ferrari to Home Depot may be impractical. Lets consider what I have hauled, 6 foor ladder, 12 hollow concrete blocks, 20 cu ft steer manouer, 400 lbs sand and concrete mix

ladder:
However a 1962 122S Volvo 4 door, also called an Amazon, can handle a a trip with more practicality. With some adept manouvering one can get a 6 foot aluminimum ladder inside the passenger compartment. Easier to do in a ferrari with the top off.

concrete blocks
so the Volvo cubes out (volume) at 12 needed 24, 2 trips
Ferrari - doubt you could get more than 6 in the passenger side

manouer
well this trip just stunk filled up both the trunk, the front and back passenger seats.
Would you really want to do this to an Enzo?

bags of sand and cement
Ok so the volvo bottom out after about 450 lbs and the ride really sucks.
I would guess you could get 2 bags (180 lbs) in at a time on the Italian Job.

Conclusion. We are not building race car pizza ovens we are building, ahem, the working mans oven.

procrastinating writing a report...
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  #13  
Old 06-14-2006, 01:25 PM
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Well, I've gotten 14 eight inch block, 14 feet of angle iron, eight bags of LaFarge Fondue, 16 2x4 (10 footers), 4 sheets of 3/4 ply (cut up), 12 pieces of 1 1/2 thick ledgerock random flag, 10 bundles of shingles, 6 bags of PoolPac, etc., etc. in my Honda CRX. Not all at the same time, natch. Friend of mine calls it the flatbed. I've got the Testarossa beat by tons. It ain't too bad driving while looking at the hood.

Jim
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  #14  
Old 02-18-2007, 12:00 AM
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Default Re: Question about vent

I know this is an old topic, but I have a theory...

After reading up on the links and debate over whether to extend the vent over the dome or straight up, I've come up with this theory...

If you take a look at all the pics of commercial neapolitan pizza ovens, you'll note that they all seem to have an exterior vent hood, that is the entrance to the vent is not recessed into a brick facade, but the vent entrance is out front on the landing with a hood over the landing.

If you've followed the links over to pizzamaking.com and read Marco's (pizzanapoletana) comments, he makes clear the reason the flue extends over the dome and up at the middle is to help heat up the flue.

We all know that a well heated flue provides a better draw, so anything we can do from a design perspective to promote this would make sense right?

My contention is that because of the vent design in these neapolitan ovens, bakers cannot build their starter fire directly under the vent.. it would be out on the landing... unlike the more typical recessed vent design where a fire can be built directly under the vent entrance thus promoting a quicker flue heat up... the neapolitan designed ovens with external vent, must start and maintain their fire within the dome, so the flue extending over the dome is their solution to promoting a quick flue heat up, thus promoting a good draw, earlier in the firing than would otherwise be possible.

Given this, if you have a recessed vent and the starter fire built under it, there would be no need to extend the flue over the dome. Whereas, those ovens with external vent entrances would take longer to get a good draw in absence of the neapolitan (flue over dome) design.

Of course, this is all conjecture, but I think it m
akes sense... Any thoughts from those with more experience out there?
JB
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  #15  
Old 02-18-2007, 04:54 AM
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Default Re: Question about vent

Hi John,
There is some confusion and incorrect information in here, so let's see if we can straighten it out.

As a side note, while it can be funny for people in user groups to have wild opinions about making pizza, I just wish they wouldn't confuse people who are going to invest real money and a lot of time building a home pizza oven.

First, some basics. Every Italian pizza oven is fundamentally the same. They have a round oven chamber, an opening, a vent above the opening and chimney pipe connected to the vent. Whether the chimney pipe or vent angle back over the oven has nothing to do with how the oven works.

A vast majority of Italian ovens have the chimney run straight up, or at a slight angle. Millions of them. Still, if you like the look of having the chimney run up from the center of the oven, or more importantly need to run the chimney in a specific place, then you can angle it where you want.

But the idea that you have to run the vent back over the oven for it to be good is utter nonsense. Do you think it will go away?

You always start your fire inside the oven chamber. Happily, pizza ovens draw well by their basic design. I have even tested ovens without the chimney attached to see what would happen, and they draw just fine.

It would also be great to kill the idea that the hood design is important to how the oven works. All pizza ovens have a vent. That vent can be left open, without sides, so it looks like a hood, or the sides can be closed in. You see both designs in restaurants and home ovens -- and how you design your oven is up to you. But it has nothing to do with how well the oven works.

Hope this clears a few things up. I certainly understand the desire to build a really good oven.
James
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Last edited by james; 02-18-2007 at 06:48 AM.
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  #16  
Old 02-18-2007, 09:27 AM
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Hi John,

I hope my response didn't come across as too forceful, and I apologize if it does. I find the PN thing misguided and frustrating -- and I'm sorry if I took it out on you. I think we all take pride in the fact that our forum is constructive rather than confrontational.

I do think this is the right forum discussing all types of oven construction issues -- not just the FB ovens, so let's keep going.

What do you think of my obervations (attitude aside)?
James
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  #17  
Old 02-18-2007, 01:23 PM
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Default Re: Question about vent

Other than the thoughts I expressed in PM, I'm not sure why you would find the goal of accurately reproducing PN (assuming you mean pizza napoletana) misguided or frustrating? I would disagree completely.

Regarding oven design, here's a thought:
If someone asked me if a Chevy Tahoe could hit 120mph... I'd say "sure, might take a while".. Can I get there alot faster in a 'Vette? I'd say "you bet"! Can I fit less stuff in the Vette? Is it less practical? The answer.. who cares... it's a Vette... it's designed for a specific purpose... So, is the Tahoe... both can do some of the same things... each does some of those things better than the other... Would you fault me for wanting a 'Vette?

I spent a couple years thinking about building an oven and only recently opted for the dome shaped oven vs the Alan Scott / Rado Hand style... I went round and round with Rado on making pizza in his oven and he insists to this day that his oven will make pizza just as well as a dome shaped oven... That may or may not be true, but I'll wager there are many here on this forum who've done the research will contend it's harder to make it in a rectangular / high mass oven, just like "I think" it's a little harder to make pizza in higher domed Tuscan oven than in a lower domed Neapolitan oven. I know it's hell of a lot harder to make it using the cleaning cycle of my modified electrical oven... But, If I'm going to build an oven that in my home will be used for making pizza 90% of the time, why wouldn't I choose "what at least some consider" is the best design... If I was going to run quarter miles every weekend at the track, my first thought would not be to go out and buy a Chevy Tahoe would it? (no flames on the analogy please.. it's just an analogy...)

Everything else you said make sense, except maybe the fire part and all pizza ovens venting well.. I've read numerous accounts here and elsewhere of the benefit of starting your fire at the front of the oven, under the vent, or lighting handheld newspaper to warm up the flue before lighting your fire. Likewise, I've seen a lot of ovens photo's with soot all over the front the oven... Could some of these be designed/excecuted a little better? You bet.

This leads me to my very specific post.. it had nothing to do with neapolitan vs tuscan, or open vs closed vents, or whether running your flue over the dome was better or not.. I just posed an idea for the group to consider... I hope to hear some comments on the idea...

Which leads me to my final point. Right now, this is THE BEST place on the web (in the world I think) to come for information on how to build an italian dome shaped oven. That's a credit to you James. Yes, there are other sites, but none have the depth of detail and diverse discussion we have here. I hope it stays that way... so, please try to be neutral on the PN thing... it's the free and unsuppressed exchange of ideas' that will enable this movement to grow and mature here in the US.

By the way, before writing this message I went back and read the sticky on the "Tuscan and Naples designs" here: http://www.fornobravo.com/forum/f8/t...igns-1467.html (Tuscan and Naples designs) and I think your synopsis is fair and neutral. From what I've read, the dimensions, might be off a tad (you based them on the Casa series ovens rather than what's in commercial production), but l won't argue that.

Thanks for the opportunity to express my opinion.

JB

Last edited by johnrbek; 02-18-2007 at 01:25 PM. Reason: grammar..
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  #18  
Old 02-18-2007, 01:44 PM
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Default Re: Question about vent

Hey John,
I appreciate your passion. One really good thing might be to find a friend who has a wood-fired brick oven, and do some cooking. That might be the best way to see what works for you -- before you start building. It's kind of like skiing; you don't know what it's going to feel like before you start doing it.

Can you find someone locally who might help?
James
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  #19  
Old 02-18-2007, 03:40 PM
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Default Re: Question about vent

That would be nice, but would be pretty hard. There are a few ovens down here, but not Neapolitan ones. On the other hand, I know good pizza and I've watched some good pizzaiolo's in action...

I've been to Patsy's, Grimaldi's, DiFara's, Spaccanapoli (and chatted and watched Jeff and his pizzaiolo make multiple pies), Frank Pepes, Marcello's in Vancouver, Anthony's Coal Fired, and some of the Argentine places down here.. I love pizza. I love Neapolitan pizza.

There are very few true Neapolitan ovens here in the states.. There are alot of Earthstone ovens out there.. I mean alot. Alot of the oldies in NY & CT are rectangular coal fired ovens... Spaccanapoli is one of just a few VPN certified pizzerias here in the states that have an oven built by Neapolitan oven builders... I can't say enough about Jeff at Spaccanapoli. A very friendly guy who know's his pizza.

So, no I don't think I"ll be able try one out before building one, but then again, how many here were able to try out a Pompeii before building one when trying to decide if they should go Scott or Pompeii??
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  #20  
Old 02-18-2007, 07:19 PM
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Default Question about state of the union

(M) Hi, John, (johnrbek)

(M) Your posts show your location as USA. If you can narrow that to one of the 50 states it would help us to make more relevent recommendations. You mentioned many Pizza restaurants but since I've not visited any of those I have no better idea of the actual (not metaphorical) state you're in. Would you be willing to list your state on the "User CP" ___?

==================================================

(M) I made many "mistakes" on the construction of my oven yet it works well despite them. Some of my "mistakes" were calculated risks e.g., I wanted a significant roof over-hang on all sides. This means that smoke is more likely to collect under my peak. You mentioned starting our fires under the flue. That sounds like a great idea and if I could locate the poster of that suggestion I'd like to send kudos. Was it you?

(M) In order to mitigate smoke collecting under my peak, I had a sheet metal shop fabricate a shroud or cowl. That, along with pre-warming the flue helps.

(M) Be well and thanks for your thoughtful and articulate queries. I don't feel qualified to answer them other than to quote the adage about the "many ways to skin a cat"; a procedure I fortunately have not been called on to perform.

Ciao,

Marcel
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