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Sandy Spring WFO - Forno Bravo Forum: The Wood-Fired Oven Community


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Sandy Spring WFO

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  • Sandy Spring WFO

    Hello all - I've wanted to build a WFO for several years and looked in books and plans online, but until I found this site and forum, I didn't have the confidence to think that I could actually pull it off. So first and foremost, thanks to James for starting this great site, and to the members of the community.

    I started baking bread about 4 years ago, and have tried every oven trick I could find to simulate a professional oven, and while I think I can make a pretty decent loaf, I think having a WFO will enable me to take it to the next level (part of the problem is that we have a gas oven, which ventilates almost all of the steam immediately). I've also gotten the bug for Neapolitan-style pizza, and have similarly tried all the tricks in the book, but so far the perfect pizza has eluded me...

    I have almost no experience doing in any kind of construction (my wife pointed out yesterday that my next biggest project before starting my oven was sanding down and refinishing a chair), so the support and knowledge base here has been invaluable to me.

    I started my build last November. I completed the foundation and stand just before winter descended, and then it sat until March until temperatures were warm enough for me to begin the dome.

    Here are some pictures of my build; yesterday I finished row 9:

  • #2
    Re: Sandy Spring WFO


    Your project looks awesome!

    Thanks for sending in the pictures, it really helps tell a story, and your oven and setting look great. You don't have far to go now before you will be baking and learning to use your new 'kitchen appliance'.

    Keep us posted on your progress.



    • #3
      Re: Sandy Spring WFO

      I finished the dome on my oven. I ended up with 13 rows plus keystone. A friend of mine pointed out that in ancient Rome, the final test for an architect was to stand under one's arch while the forms were being removed (eek). While certainly no architect, the pleasure of completing the dome is pretty fantastic.

      I was measuring and cutting the angles on each brick through row 11, but it was difficult to use this method for rows 12 and 13 that I ended up doing them free hand. Consequently, they're the least well-fitting, but I think they'll be fine.


      • #4
        Re: Sandy Spring WFO

        I just completed the outer arch, which ended up being the most challenging part of my build to date (and also one of the most fun). The tapered cuts were pretty straightforward, but assembling the arch took a few tries. I started by doing it free-hand (thinking I could use the inner arch as a guide), but keeping the two new columns of bricks vertically/horizontally consistent proved difficult (and boy, tearing down rows and scraping off mortar is sure a drag).

        The key for getting it right was building the right form. For my inner arch, I cut two pieces of plywood and covered the top with metal flashing, but the flashing meant that I couldn't see the face of the brick.

        So for the outer arch, I cut three half-circles, sanded them so they were identical, and then connected them using a 2x4 glued about 2" off the ground. Having the inside of the form open meant that I could see and adjust each row as I placed them. This worked out much, much better than my first form. (See attached photos of the two forms.)

        I'm planning to do one more decorative arch using a similar style as thebadger's oven; I really like how the insulation/stucco sits flush with the top of the decorative arch.



        • #5
          Re: Sandy Spring WFO

          Great looking brickwork!! You will be cooking in no time!
          My Oven Thread: