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A few questions from a beginner.... - Forno Bravo Forum: The Wood-Fired Oven Community


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  • A few questions from a beginner....

    Hi all,
    I've just come back from Naples where I trained to be a pizzaiolo (pizza master) and forniolo (oven master) and now would like to build a brick oven in my brother's yard. I've read through the pompeii oven plans (which were great, btw) and I have a few questions and I'm hoping someone will be able to answer them.

    Neither of us have ever built anything like a brick oven before.

    How much time do we need and how hard it will be?

    If two of us were to spend, say, 20-25 hours a week building, when could we expect to be finished?

    Are there certain parts of the oven that we'll need help with or supervision on (e.g the dome)?

    In the pompeii plans I noticed that there are parts of the oven (e.g. the cooking surface) that I can purchase instead of build myself.

    Is there anyway we can buy just the dome?

    Are there certain parts of the oven you recommend purchasing instead of making?
    If we were to purchase an oven, for example, the primavera beehive, how would it compare to a home built one?
    If money isn't a huge issue, would you still recommend trying to build one over buying one?

    Thanks in advance,

  • #2
    Re: A few questions from a beginner....

    Hi Gus, It's great to know someone with real training is interested in building a pizza oven. I can only answer a couple of your questions since I am mortering my 1st bricks this morning.

    1. I've never built anything like this. I am not a contractor but purchased my wet saw last month and after cutting 3 blocks in half, made my 1st "insane" cuts where the arch meets the door reveal yesterday and it was perfect.
    2. Money was not GOING to be an issue and I almost bought a Fornobravo oven but realized how much work that would entail as well. I opted for to build and you can see my oven cost link below for an idea.
    3. This forum and its pictures are all the supervisors you need (in my novice opinion).
    4. Look at Ellies thread, her contractor is almost done and she started earlier this month. The base takes it's own time and then there is the oven. I'm working on weekends and will be done in approx 2 months since I'm easily distracted by anything fun.
    5. I am having the TIME OF MY LIFE building this thing. Check out my pictures and by tomorrow I'll have my floor set and 1 or 2 coursed going.
    Lot's of luck, Dino
    "Life is a banquet and most poor sons-of-bitches are starving to death." -Auntie Mame

    View My Picasa Web Album UPDATED oct

    My Oven Costs Spreadsheet

    My Oven Thread


    • #3
      Re: A few questions from a beginner....

      thanks so much for the reply. I think my brother and I are going to start the foundation this week, see how that goes, and decide if we want to build the entire thing.
      ill keep you guys posted.


      • #4
        Re: A few questions from a beginner....

        -Disclaimer- I've never built an oven. I will but it won't be brick.

        For obvious reasons I won't address the questions that require actual experiance. My only qualification is having done a lot of reading and pestered people around here with no end of questions (amazingly, they still answer them).

        Each portion has its own challenges. The foundation will have varing issues depending on where you live. If you don't have freezing issues (which in Arizona you probably won't) then your foundation likely won't be as complicated (read that as labor intensive - others can advise you there much better than I). The stand has to be strong enough to support the considerable weight as well as maintain its rigidity so there can be more to it than just stacking blocks. The size of the hearth (supporting table) will be affected by how big you make your stand - as will the need for and type of reinforcement (rebar, usually, for the comparatively small ovens most of us build). Convincing rectangular brick to become a dome brings yet more challenges. And all of that is before any discussion of insulation...

        There's a ton of info on all of the above plus a great deal more on this site. And a lot of great folks (watch out for Neill - he has all the cool metal working stuff ) to help answer your questions.

        The one question I really am qualified to answer - yes, you can buy the dome. The FB store carries several different models and James is great about answering questions regarding those whatever the question happens to be.

        Anyway, that's my tiny contribution. Welcome aboard! We're glad to have you! (Expect to be inundated with questions yourself since you're so much better trained than most of us.)

        "He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose." - Jim Elliot

        "Success isn't permanent and failure isn't fatal." -Mike Ditka


        • #5
          Re: A few questions from a beginner....

          Are there certain parts of the oven that we'll need help with?
          The dome's the fun part. I'd get help with the heavy lifting, block laying, and slab pouring if I were to do it again.
          My geodesic oven project: part 1, part 2


          • #6
            Re: A few questions from a beginner....

            Check the Forno Bravo store. You can buy the whole oven if you want. Don't be afraid because you've never worked with brick before. Most of of hadn't either. If you have the cash and no desire to deal with the work, then buy it.

            I did my dome, with the help of my next-door-neighbor, in about 6 weeks or so, working 2 -4 hours per day. If you had all your materials ready to go, you could probably cut that down to a couple of weeks.
            Everyone makes mistakes. The trick is to make mistakes when nobody is looking.



            • #7
              Re: A few questions from a beginner....

              Thanks so much for the responses.
              We're going to check out getting the materials for the foundation today. We figure to build the foundation and stand, and if we are too burnt out, buy the hearth and dome. If not, do the whole thing ourselves. sound reasonable?

              thanks thanks thanks


              • #8
                Re: A few questions from a beginner....

                Sounds reasonable to me! I had a blast building the dome. I'm glad I built my dome, but If I ever move and have to do it again, I'll buy the FB kit.

                Before I started my oven I had worked with wood but never brick. Just dive in. If you are motivated (sounds like you are!) you'll do fine.

                As far as supervision, just post pics of your progress for us. We'll be happy to supervise!
                Ken H. - Kentucky
                42" Pompeii

                Pompeii Oven Construction Video Updated!

                Oven Thread ... Enclosure Thread
                Cost Spreadsheet ... Picasa Web Album


                • #9
                  Re: A few questions from a beginner....

                  I built my dome in 10 days, I believe, working a few hours each day. It's definitely doable, and I concur with everyone else, the dome is the fun part! Stacking blocks, pouring the hearth...those were satisfying, but not as much fun.


                  • #10
                    Re: A few questions from a beginner....

                    If I ever had to move I'd jump at the chance to build another oven... check out my signiature line, building an oven from scratch is unbelievably cool!
                    "Building a Brick oven is the most fun anyone can have by themselves." (Terry Pratchett... slightly amended)



                    • #11
                      Re: A few questions from a beginner....

                      you are definitely at the right place. there is a wealth of knowledge here and everyone is willing to help. Someone said, "Rome wasn't built in a day". But a pizza oven in a matter of weeks...awesome.
                      ...side note to James and the others,
                      great to see the site growing constantly...great designs and new ideas everyday...a bit different from several years ago.
                      Peace and Pizza!
                      Great pizza, a cold beer,a great cigar and great friends...my idea of a great time