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Lonely Owen in the mountains

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  • Lonely Owen in the mountains

    Hello everyone,

    I'm Adam from Hungary, Middle-East Europe, a student and a part-time cook. Last summer I was lucky enough to work in a Neapolitan pizzeria for the whole season. I have been intrested in baking and Italian cuisine for a long time so this was a great opportunity for me. I enjoyed the work despite the circumstances such as long shifts and standing next to a really high temperature wood fired Owen for hours. I decided this January that I'd like to build my own WFO and as the Covid-situation broke in that was the final push. It was also a big step for me when I found this Forum. The amount of information and helpfulness of the people - yet alone the free FB plans - are massive! I can't express how thankful I am. As I read more and more I felt necessary and encouraged to start my own thread.

    To simplify this thread for the readers I'll try to put in Italic style the texts which are intended as storytelling rather than practical information and questions. Also because I'm from Europe I'll post the measurements in Metric but I'll also try to convert them into Inches. Also sorry in advance for the grammar mistakes I make. I haven't used English for a long time.

    I already have started the construction. Currently I dig the base of the foundation. I had been working on this for a couple of days now. Last Weekend two friends came over to help with it. The soil itself is really hard to work with: It's full with clay and stones which are slowing us down. My original plan was to go 80 cm (31,5 Inches) deep on the sides and 20 cm (7 7/8 inch) deep in the middle, but ever since I started digging some people told me it was an overkill for the foundation and my work is for nothing.
    It's a little progress every day and I want to pour the concrete this Weekend but I'm also afraid that the freezing temperatures in Winter could damage the concrete once it's poured.

    What do you think? Should I let go the deepness and stick with what I have accomplished or go back digging right now?

    Thanks in advance!

    I couldn't upload my pictures because they are too big for the 2 MB limit. I'll work on that.

  • #2
    So I've finally finished digging up the place.
    It has been a tiring work but it was worth it. I'm just hoping it will last longer than it would have without the final 70 cm depth (2 ft 3 9/16 inch).

    Today will some folks arrive and tomorrow the pouring of the concrete shall begin. I'm really excited!

    The plan is to cover the bottom with foil so the concrete won't lose or suck up extra water during the drying process. We will enforce it with rebar and also put some stones in between.

    Here are some pictures. I've decided to just copy and paste the link to my google drive galery. Seemed to be the easiest way. i hope it's going to work like this.


    • #3
      Looking good so far. Keep those pics coming.
      My Build:

      "Believe that you can and you're halfway there".


      • #4
        Thank you NCMan for the encouragement! I will. Your Build looks absolutely awesome! Really nicely detailed Building Log you have there! I'll definitely go through the whole project!

        We finished the foundation!
        It was raining and so it took longer than expected but around 11 PM we finished the job. It had been a tiring work but the result came out really good especially under these circumstances.

        Size: 220 x 200 cm (7 ft 2 39/64 x 6 ft 6 47/64) or (86,61 x 78,74 inches)
        Mix: 1 cement + 4 gravel + little bit water. It became quite wet shortly after we started because of the rain so we tried to keep our mix as dry as possible. ("Like the consistency of camel poop as I was told")

        We put rebars horizontally and vertically as well. The verticals are not too dense next to each other but everything is connected with wire. The top of the foundation is also a bit polished off with dry cement.

        The rebars for the walls (I'll use concrete formwork) are 10 cm (4 inches) deep under the concrete surface and 90 cm (2 ft 11 7/16 inch) over the top. We used "construction foil" (that's what this is called in Hungarian) in the form itself what should protect the concrete from getting wet in the future. Unfortunately the rain made caused some damage on one small area but it will be under the wood pieces eventually so I think I won't bother.

        These are 5 pictures. Don't let yourselves be fooled by Google!,,,,,,,

        Question: I was told to wait about two weeks after I poured the hearth slab. Is that really necessary or is less time enough? What do you think?

        This Friday some other friends shall come to help put up the concrete formwork for the walls. I estimate to finish that in a less time like in a day or so. Let's hope for the best!
        Last edited by TrillAdam; 06-03-2020, 12:23 PM.


        • #5
          Hi Adam,

          I wanted to see your pictures, but Google wouldn't let me access them without your permission. (I made a request; you'll know it's me!)

          I am envious of your experience as a pizza chef, and also your English (vs. my Hungarian). What was the restaurant where you worked? Are you able to divulge the dough recipe and method?

          Some of the best pizzas I've had were in Eastern Europe. Whilst I have never been to Hungary, I have been geographically close, i.e. Croatia, Slovenia and the city of Brastislava on a very cold day!

          All the best,


          Update: Received your pictures via Gmail. A very good start - let us know how it progresses!
          Last edited by cleverdick; 06-03-2020, 10:07 AM.


          • #6
            Hi Richard and everyone,

            Thank you for the compliments! I worked in Digó pizzeria (they can be easily found on social media platforms). It was only a streetfood-style place at the time but last December they opened their first restaurant. In Budapest itself are many good pizzerias these days. They all serve pizza napoletana for a fair price. In case you visit Hungary you should check some of them out.

            I'm glad you could open the pictures! I'll try to make this easier in the future.

            Actually I was mostly working at the Owen and the dough was prepared in the "base-kitchen" and delivered to us daily, we only balled them into shape and baked them. I personally prepared it a few times only. What I know is that there was no "permanent" recipe as the dough makers in the company always changed it, fixed it, set it to the current weather and temperature. The temperature your Owen can reach is also to be considered not to mention the strength of your flour. They use Caputo Blue for pizzeria, one of the most used Italian flour brand as I heard.
            If you want to develop your best recipe I'd suggest to download PizzApp+. This App is free and will help you to understand water, flour, yeast ratios and save your recipe. It's a really handy tool for homemade pizza. I also learned a lot from Pizzaioli who shared their knowledge on Youtube. I'm serious! Vito Iacopelli, Davide Civitello, Angelo Giannino, Vincenzo Viscusi are only a few names to be mentioned on this list.

            I hope I could help with this information. I'll gladly share more with any of you if needed.

            Tomorrow some folks will arrive to help out building the concrete stand. I'm really excited about this! Today I bought a diamond and a metal blade for our circular saw. I've cut some concrete bricks already! I'll get you updated as soon as I can.

            Thank you for your involvement!
            Last edited by TrillAdam; 06-03-2020, 12:32 PM.


            • #7
              It was a busy weekend.
              We had some smaller showers but they couldn't stop us. We worked whole Friday and Saturday morning.

              We put up the concrete stand.

              Size: 180 x 200 x 130 x 110 cm (70,87 x 78,74 x 51,18 x 43,3 inches) You can see the our corner design made according to the Forno Bravo plans.

              We used 50 x 20 x 23 cm concrete blocks, 4 layers of them as you will see. On the first and the third layer we had horizontal rebars as well all connected to the verticals. It looks pretty stiff now.
              Our concrete filling was the same 4 : 1 ratio mix as before and we put some stones in there as well. We had to cut some of the blocks to make 40' 30' 20' and 10' cm long pieces so we could build up as we planned before. Inthe plans we broke down exactly how each layer of each side will look like. That might be the reason why e used every single block not a single one was left at the end of the day.

              We used mortar only under the first layer of blocks to set them level then we stacked them dry. One problem we had that the pieces were not quiet the same size so the the final stand can't be completely level. We can fix that later on with the heart slab. Also I had to get my brick-cutting right as I made some ugly skew ones on the way. Also as we used our rubber hammer to put them to the right place some of the pieces broke or fell apart. These blocks might be heavy but they are fragile. I didn't know this beforehand.
              Another important discovery was that the mortar does not get dry easily. We could use it till the very end without problem. The saying "it's at the good consistency if you sh*t yourself stirring it" appeared to be true as well. Luckily we only had to use one bag (40 kg, 88,18 lbs) not even the whole package.

              I found some metal parts for the doors what we cut up ourselves.

              Here are some pics:


              I'm going to buy a proper tent for the project. This home-made foil thingy won't last long. Any specific recommendations on that?

              On the log: should I be more specific? Should I share more information? I'm not sure how understandable this project is for one who scrolls it through. Please let me know!
              I won't be able to build for a while now maybe 1 or 2 weeks. I might post here some pictures as the planning goes further.

              #stand #concretestand


              • #8
                Looking good w/nice progress, too. If you can find one of those quick set up tents, that'd be nice. Something like this.
                My Build:

                "Believe that you can and you're halfway there".


                • #9
                  Thank you NCMan for the suggestion! It looks good and steady! I'll go for a similar one probably.


                  • #10
                    It's been a while...
                    I had a really busy month and haven't really had the time to post our projects development. We made two big steps ever since and I'm making to different posts about it.

                    We finished the insulating hearth.

                    We used 15 mm thick (0,6 inches) OSB wood to shape our hearth. These were secured with screws in the walls with a help of a concrete drill. From underneath we had some wood to support the OSB in the middle. Our concrete mix was the usual 4:1 ratio what we used before. On the end we added some extra cement so it got smoother. As you can see from the pictures we made a circle form in the middle of our hearth.
                    The circle's diameter was 160 cm (63 inches) This is basically the inner circle diameter (100 cm or 40 inches) plus the width of the refractory bricks (12,5 cm or 4,92 inches) and the insulation (I bought rockwool 5 cm thick which e are going to put on the top twice so 10 cm, 4 inches) and the wire mesh and some extra refractory cement on top.
                    This way we poured

                    15 cm (5,9 inches) normal concrete
                    15 cm more around the circle form
                    than 15 cm perlite concrete

                    The perlite / cement ratio as the same, 4:1. It was a really fine substance. I was told to soak it for 2 hours before use so it won't suck out any later of the concrete underneath.
                    We did that but didn't have enough buckets to continue with the process so on the end we just added more water in the mixer. This was a really bad idea! Don't do it! This way our perlite (since it's some kind of rock full of air) got on the top of our water so we couldn't level it correctly and we had to make big holes on it so we can get the extra later out. It was a really nasty business. Two weeks later the perlite didn't dry nicely it wasn't even everywhere so e had to level it with some refractory cement for the first vertical course of bricks.

                    The pics:

                    All suggestions and questions are welcome here!