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42" Oven positioning, advice needed

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  • 42" Oven positioning, advice needed

    Hey, what an amazing community, I was quite daunted by this project until I found this forum.

    I have a country property in the central highlands of Victoria Australia, a wood fired oven would be just perfect here given the abundance of wood and long days hanging around the house.
    Check out the attached photo / drawing. I've mocked up two possible locations, both are building directly on the ground (on a concrete base of course) on a retaining wall. The retaining wall is a bit higher on one side, with access to a washbasin and tap, I'm concerned it may be a bit close to the house though (see right of image). The spot on the left is a bit further from the house but has a lower height.

    Also, are there any drainage / water considerations I should be concerned about building on a retaining wall?


    Sorry, not sure if the photo is working, here's a link to it:
    Attached Files
    Last edited by enricosan; 07-05-2019, 03:11 AM.

  • #2
    Welcome, another Aussie builder. There is quite a following in your end of the world. Materials seem to be one of the more difficult and expensive parts of the builds in Australia. IMHO, the closer to the house the better since you still need to move food and supplies from the house but it is what works for you. Abt building on an existing wall, it depends on how solid and what type of footings are on the wall, these beast are really heavy but I have seen it done. Karangi Dude (NSW) has a massive barrel going on right now, Oasiscdm (NSW) also is building a dome (number 2), and Davids (Queensland) is the casting guru just to name a few. If you have not downloaded the Forno Bravo eplans yet do so they are a good baseline and only $3USD.

    Picture attachments are limited to about a little over 1 mg and about 5 pictures max, you may have to resize the pics it they are not attaching.
    Google Photo Album []


    • #3
      I have the pdf and have started looking into materials. I'll read through the forum for a few more weeks before launching into the build. Given it'll be a new outdoor kitchen, I'd like to get it right.

      I tried the photo again < 1MB. Closer to the house was my first thought, however the entry may be a little high for shorter folks (I'm 190cm / 6.2)


      • #4
        A 42Ē oven is pretty big. Unless you have a very big family you are unlikely to want to fire it up just to cook three pizzas. Although you may have an unlimited wood supply in the Austrian highlands there is still a considerable amount of labour in cutting and splitting wood. An ovenís fuel consumption is roughly directly proportional to the volume of the chamber. If you scale it down a little and calculate the chamber volume youíll see what I mean.
        Regarding your location, remember that WFO is really heavy. You must ensure that your retaining wall that it sits on will not be likely to subside. In addition as the base of the oven is pretty much at ground level it may have a greater tendency to wick moisture from the surrounding soil. You will have to ensure it is really well drained and sealed against water ingress.
        Last edited by david s; 07-05-2019, 04:30 PM.
        Kindled with zeal and fired with passion.


        • #5
          David brings up a really valid point on oven size. I have a 42" and there is no question, it is a party oven. It is not feasible to start the oven up to cook a couple pizza. When the "boss" wants to have a pizza for just the two of us, we hop in the car and go to the local wood fire pizza bistro, or heaven forbid, call

          A rule of thump is elbow height for oven floor. Also remember, the FB eplans version 2.0 are a good baseline, but dated, there have been many construction technique and material improvements since it was published.
          Google Photo Album []


          • #6
            I was leaning towards 42" due to 1) no space limitations and 2) unlimited wood. I kind of assumed I'd fire it up at start of weekend then keep it rolling until Sunday afternoon. I'll consider a.smaller size though, your suggestion is probably quite practical.

            Regarding the retaining wall, I can't really guarantee it's structural integrity. If I poured a slab of concrete I'm assuming the pressure would exert sideways towards the wall. In which case it's a poor choice of positioning and I should consider building from ground up.

            Back to the drawing board...

            Thanks, I'll be back


            • #7
              In theory you could cook two pizzas at one time in a 42Ē oven but from my perspective that would be very stressful!
              32Ē is a good size for me to use and is capable of cooking one pizza every 6-7 minutes for a couple of hours, I can also get quite a big tray of food through the door but it still takes two hours to heat up to saturation point.


              • #8
                If your pizzas are taking 6-7 mins to cook then you donít have your oven hot enough. They should only take 2 mins. Some say the holy grail is 90 secs, but I find in my oven 2 mins works better.
                I just did a party of 50 last night cooking 38 pizzas in under two hrs. If they took 6-7 mins ea Iíd have been there all night.
                Last edited by david s; 07-06-2019, 07:27 PM.
                Kindled with zeal and fired with passion.


                • #9
                  Thanks for you advice and your opinion David, but my pizzas are a huge success, We often cook for large parties, I do not like to cook on a screaming hot base.
                  Only last night we had a party of 30 people , I cooked 25 pizzas with everyone being very satisfied.

                  I have no need or desire to cook a pizza in 90 seconds, I do not cook margaritas, we cook fully loaded thick base pizzas very nicely thank you very much!
                  i have found from my own experience that cooking a thick pizza base on a screaming hot base does not work for my style of pizza, however, perhaps the first ones cook In 3 minutes and the later ones take 5-6 but the point I was trying to make was cooking two at a time is not easy.


                  • #10
                    Each to his own, Cook the way you like it and what works for you, they look nice. Traditionally Italian wood fired pizzas are cooked quickly on a thin base with sparse toppings. A lower temperature suits a thicker base more heavily loaded. Iím all for breaking with tradition so best of luck to you.
                    Last edited by david s; 07-07-2019, 03:53 AM.
                    Kindled with zeal and fired with passion.


                    • #11
                      Well thank you, it took a year or so to get the dough, the ingredients, the oven temperature and cooking times to my liking.
                      My friends are particularly partial to a stuffed crust pizza! Maybe a long way removed from a Margarita but still a nice form of food anyway.
                      As I live on an island, fish plays a big part of our diet and I often use the oven at 500c to cook lobster straight on the floor ... 45 seconds each side for a 1.5lb lobster .
                      We cook scallops in a cold thin base pan, slide in the pan and cook a dozen scallops in one minute..... perfect!


                      • #12
                        Enricosan, we went back and forth between building a 36" or a 42", and decided to split the difference and go with 39". It's a great compromise, very close to a meter wide, and the dimensions for the opening height and a hemispherical arch (if you go that way) seem to work out very well. You can also make maximum use of 2' wide insulation boards.
                        My build thread