Using sophisticated technology developed for the steel manufacturing industry, our castable refractory is high alumina, high purity, high density and high compression strength. The Forno Bravo castable is manufactured using highly refined materials produced in a tightly controlled environment. Our castable formula includes five different calcined refractory aggregates, each selected for purity, and then kiln-fired, crushed, weighed and sized, and then combined with the highest quality calcium aluminate cement and refractory additives to create an ultra strong ceramic matrix bond. Higher-grade refractory costs more, but it's worth it.
Additionally, each Forno Bravo oven dome is made in the U.S. using a two-side, machine vibrated casting process. Rustic Italian ovens use a single-sided form and the material is packed by hand (which explains why they have a rough surface on the inside, not a smooth surface)—a process which produces ovens that are not as dense, or accurately cast, as the Forno Bravo ovens.
But does all this really matter? Definitely.
Let's put it this way—one Italian pizza oven manufacturer with a U.S. distributor understands the difference so clearly that they make ovens using both materials. Their entry level ovens are made using "terracotta", while their premium residential ovens and commercial ovens are made using an engineered refractory. Here's the catch. Their 40" premium residential refractory oven costs 55% more (an additional $1,600) than their 40" terracotta oven (the exact same size oven).
Forno Bravo makes every oven using the same premium grade refractory.
For the homeowner, restaurant owner, or caterer, the advances we have made in oven refractory material mean a better oven, at a better price.