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Thread: I am building a wood fired (pizza) oven.

  1. #1

    I am building a wood fired (pizza) oven.

    I have been making pizza's weekly for over a decade. It all started when I was in Southern France and had the best pizza ever. We returned there a few years in a row so I have had a good sample of them... They were really good. I've been trying to make the same pizza's but I always lacked one thing, a wood fired oven. I can make pretty nice pizza's using a pizza stone in an electric oven but it simply takes too long to make a bunch for a party.

    So I decided to build one for myself. I've been reading into construction details for over a year (some nighttime hours here and there). I'm not the kind of person that buys a kit. So I'm taking the hard route of designing and building everything myself. Since this oven is big and I like my precious space I figured it would be most economic if I were to make it an octagon. The actual oven inside is round off course but the base is an octagon. Makes things more interesting though.

    I started work about 2 weeks ago and I poured the foundations and slab yesterday. Turned out really nice. Now I have to wait a few days before I can get the form off the concrete.

    I have made some pictures during the building process so far. Is anyone interested to see the building process ?



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  3. #2
    I have made some pictures during the building process so far. Is anyone interested to see the building process ?

    ME!!!

  4. #3

  5. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by luctor-et-emergo View Post
    I have been making pizza's weekly for over a decade. It all started when I was in Southern France and had the best pizza ever. We returned there a few years in a row so I have had a good sample of them... They were really good. I've been trying to make the same pizza's but I always lacked one thing, a wood fired oven. I can make pretty nice pizza's using a pizza stone in an electric oven but it simply takes too long to make a bunch for a party.

    So I decided to build one for myself. I've been reading into construction details for over a year (some nighttime hours here and there). I'm not the kind of person that buys a kit. So I'm taking the hard route of designing and building everything myself. Since this oven is big and I like my precious space I figured it would be most economic if I were to make it an octagon. The actual oven inside is round off course but the base is an octagon. Makes things more interesting though.

    I started work about 2 weeks ago and I poured the foundations and slab yesterday. Turned out really nice. Now I have to wait a few days before I can get the form off the concrete.

    I have made some pictures during the building process so far. Is anyone interested to see the building process ?
    Awesome, I would love to see your work.

  6. #5

  7. #6
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    Yes, please share. Are you building a Pompeii spec-ed oven?

    Long story short, research was done in Pompeii on all the ovens that were unearthed and it was claimed that they were basically all designed the same with "perfect" cooking characteristics. The construction was analyzed and reverse engineered which resulted in a "Pompeii oven" plan being published. You can download the plans for free (but need to provide an e-mail address) here: http://www.fornobravo.com/pompeii_ov...peii_oven.html

    The Pompeii oven is round inside so you may being doing this.. ?

    Some of what they write:
    Wood-fired brick ovens and pizza have been with us since the dawn of civilization. Both have been discovered in the excavations of virtually every ancient civilization, with the brick oven reaching its modern form in ancient Rome. The brick ovens uncovered in ancient Pompeii and Naples are in wonderful shape, and could start baking today with only minor renovations -- the Pompeii Oven is named in their honor. When you have a minute, take a look at our ancient Pompeii Oven Photographs.

    In modern Italy, the basic Pompeii Oven design is used to build the brick ovens you see in pizzerias and private homes and gardens. The oven is great for cooking pizza, roasts, focaccia and bread. It heats up quickly and is efficient at holding the high heats required for cooking the perfect three-minute pizza. The Pompeii Oven is also very efficient with wood fuel and at holding heat. If you are interesting in reading more about the theory behind the Pompeii Oven design, read our Why Round page.

    There are literally millions of round wood-fired ovens in Italy, putting you in very good company should you decide to build a Pompeii Oven at your home. The brick oven is as common in Italy as the BBQ, and our goal is to bring these great ovens into the American and British mainstream. Today, thousands of Pompeii Ovens have been built in America, Britain, Mexico, Belgium, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Brazil, the Philippines, France, Sweden, the Virgin Islands, and Thailand -- and more Pompeii Ovens are being built every day.
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  8. #7
    Yes, here also! I would love to see it in progress.
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  9. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by amy31416 View Post
    ME!!!
    Quote Originally Posted by tod evans View Post
    Of course!
    Quote Originally Posted by Suzanimal View Post
    Awesome, I would love to see your work.
    Quote Originally Posted by Root View Post
    Oh yeah!
    I think that answers my question ! Thanks.. I'm pretty sore from making concrete all day yesterday so I'll have a bit of a slow start with posting.


    Quote Originally Posted by Bryan View Post
    Yes, please share. Are you building a Pompeii spec-ed oven?

    Long story short, research was done in Pompeii on all the ovens that were unearthed and it was claimed that they were basically all designed the same with "perfect" cooking characteristics. The construction was analyzed and reverse engineered which resulted in a "Pompeii oven" plan being published. You can download the plans for free (but need to provide an e-mail address) here: http://www.fornobravo.com/pompeii_ov...peii_oven.html

    The Pompeii oven is round inside so you may being doing this.. ?

    Some of what they write:
    Yes I am building a traditional oven, one where the dome supports itself. This is not a semi-circle but rather a parabolic shape. The actual shape is up to preference. Higher arches are supposedly better for all-round cooking while lower domes are better for (Neapolitan) pizza. I haven't yet figured out the formula for the parabolic shape I'm going to use but with these basic guidelines in mind I think I'm going to aim for something in the middle. Mostly because with a lower dome comes a lower oven entrance which limits the size of things I can put in there.. A true Neapolitan oven has a 10" or lower oven entrance which makes it difficult to do roasts. A lot of consideration has gone into the design, in the end I have to make a couple of choices. I'm not going the route of perfection everywhere simply because it's too time consuming or costly. What I am trying to get is durability, something that cooks well and looks good next to the house.

    Thanks for the quick replies ! In the meantime I'll try to get some pics uploaded.



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  11. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by ClydeCoulter View Post
    Yes, here also! I would love to see it in progress.
    Thanks! You're all invited for pizza when it's finished. Hell of a trip though.

    Btw, Bryan, FornoBravo is a great resource. I'm not a member there but a lot of my reading has been on those forums. Especially regarding the high temp mortar. Although, I'm not going to do what most are doing there.

  12. #10
    Pics!!

    And don't forget to document the first pizza as it gets made.

    Now I'm hungry.

  13. #11
    I am in the planning stages of doing this myself. I am somewhat torn on whether I want to build one with the fire in the oven itself or one with the firebox below and around the oven. It seems that the fire in the oven itself would be somewhat inefficient in the amount of wood it takes but I could be wrong. If you get yours done before I start mine let me know about the wood consumption.
    I want to build mine out of local rocks, mortar and clay with a wood fired grill along side it built in the same way. It will be next to my root cellar, kitchen and walk in freezer. Pictures of the construction here.http://s783.photobucket.com/user/kla...?sort=6&page=1
    War; everything in the world wrong, evil and immoral combined into one and multiplied by millions.

  14. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by Bryan View Post
    Yes, please share. Are you building a Pompeii spec-ed oven?

    Long story short, research was done in Pompeii on all the ovens that were unearthed and it was claimed that they were basically all designed the same with "perfect" cooking characteristics. The construction was analyzed and reverse engineered which resulted in a "Pompeii oven" plan being published. You can download the plans for free (but need to provide an e-mail address) here: http://www.fornobravo.com/pompeii_ov...peii_oven.html

    The Pompeii oven is round inside so you may being doing this.. ?

    Some of what they write:
    Thanks to Luctor for starting this thread and thanks for this link Bryan, as it kind of answers my question on efficiency.
    Last edited by klamath; 06-22-2014 at 11:54 AM.
    War; everything in the world wrong, evil and immoral combined into one and multiplied by millions.

  15. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by KCIndy View Post
    Pics!!

    And don't forget to document the first pizza as it gets made.

    Now I'm hungry.
    I'm hungry as well, no pizza's today. I'm making spring rolls and spicy tomato soup.

    Quote Originally Posted by klamath View Post
    I am in the planning stages of doing this myself. I am somewhat torn on whether I want to build one with the fire in the oven itself or one with the firebox below and around the oven. It seems that the fire in the oven itself would be somewhat inefficient in the amount of wood it takes but I could be wrong. If you get yours done before I start mine let me know about the wood consumption.
    I want to build mine out of local rocks, mortar and clay with a wood fired grill along side it built in the same way. It will be next to my root cellar, kitchen and walk in freezer. Pictures of the construction here.http://s783.photobucket.com/user/kla...?sort=6&page=1
    Nice work on your homestead ! I wish I had space for a walk in freezer.

    I would go with a 'normal' oven where you light the fire on your floor. Things get rather complicated when you want to duct 1000 degree air. You'll get more cracks from expanding/shrinking masonry.

    About fuel consumption, I obviously haven't tested this but I am told that more insulation is better. Sounds good to me. I'll be adding plenty.

    What I do know about fuel consumption is that you can make two types of ovens. One that you fire each time you use it, and one that's continuously hot. Both may use the same amount of wood on a day to day basis but the one that stays hot all the time has a lot more stone in it (which stores heat). Therefore it takes longer to heat it up. Any brick oven is better to use a few days in a row as it stores most of the energy overnight in a well insulated oven.

  16. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by luctor-et-emergo View Post
    I'm hungry as well, no pizza's today. I'm making spring rolls and spicy tomato soup.



    Nice work on your homestead ! I wish I had space for a walk in freezer.

    I would go with a 'normal' oven where you light the fire on your floor. Things get rather complicated when you want to duct 1000 degree air. You'll get more cracks from expanding/shrinking masonry.

    About fuel consumption, I obviously haven't tested this but I am told that more insulation is better. Sounds good to me. I'll be adding plenty.

    What I do know about fuel consumption is that you can make two types of ovens. One that you fire each time you use it, and one that's continuously hot. Both may use the same amount of wood on a day to day basis but the one that stays hot all the time has a lot more stone in it (which stores heat). Therefore it takes longer to heat it up. Any brick oven is better to use a few days in a row as it stores most of the energy overnight in a well insulated oven.
    I love tough sourdough French bread but it requires the heavy kneading. I am watching out for a heavy Hobart dough mixer that doesn't cost an arm and a leg. Beings that I plan to bake a large batch and then freeze it, the heat holding design seems to make sense.
    I know what you mean about the Refractory material. A few years back I built a high temp foundry for melting bronze and iron and it can be unforgiving.
    War; everything in the world wrong, evil and immoral combined into one and multiplied by millions.

  17. #15
    What do you expect this oven to cost you in materials?

  18. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by klamath View Post
    I love tough sourdough French bread but it requires the heavy kneading. I am watching out for a heavy Hobart dough mixer that doesn't cost an arm and a leg. Beings that I plan to bake a large batch and then freeze it, the heat holding design seems to make sense.
    I know what you mean about the Refractory material. A few years back I built a high temp foundry for melting bronze and iron and it can be unforgiving.
    You sound just like me... I had a fellow forum member mail me a HAGO siphon nozzle so I can melt metal. Nice thing but I found out afterwards that European plumbing parts don't fit american ones, still looking for a way to fix it, not a priority at the moment. I am saving up spent cooking oil though.

    I always make dough by hand. The biggest batch I have made was 25lbs, I found that this was not too much more work than making 5lbs. Sure it's more mass but I wasn't 5 times as tired when finished. I hate cleaning and I like a clean workspace so a tabletop is more practical for me.

    Quote Originally Posted by Schifference View Post
    What do you expect this oven to cost you in materials?
    I have budgeted 2k EUR, but as most things, it will probably go over budget. I'm happy if it's under 2.5k EUR. So far, I'm "out of the ground", I'm on track... Spent about 500 to get the foundation in the ground, that's including phenol coated boards, screws etc. I'm keeping track of what I'm spending on it so at the end I should know.



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  20. #17
    I managed to upload some pics !

    Sawing phenol coated boards, very cheap at 30 EUR a sheet but fine for single use.


    Stack of boards. This was the first project with this new saw.


    Almost finished the concrete form here. At the moment it's in it's final place, filled with concrete.


    I'll have to download some more pics from my camera. These were made with my phone.

  21. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by luctor-et-emergo View Post
    I managed to upload some pics !

    Sawing phenol coated boards, very cheap at 30 EUR a sheet but fine for single use.


    Stack of boards. This was the first project with this new saw.


    Almost finished the concrete form here. At the moment it's in it's final place, filled with concrete.


    I'll have to download some more pics from my camera. These were made with my phone.
    Nice. I don't know if you are going to use forms to build the parabola but I used a rather simple method to mark the forms for the catenary curve I used on my root cellar roof.
    On a piece of plywood I marked out the base width of the arch and how high I wanted it then I stood the plywood on edge with the base side up. Then from two nails driven into the base width marks I hung a strand of small bead chain so that the bottom of the loop just hung to the mark I made for height of the arch. A chain hangs in a near perfect catenary curve so I carefully took a pencil and marked a dashed line along the bottom of the chain. Afterwards I marked it in a solid line and cut along the line with a saber saw.

    Don't feel bad about the US/EU standards difference. The difference caused a billion dollar mars lander to decelerate to late My first foundry burner I built myself and it was designed to burn waste oil. It started on propane and then went to a forced air/waste oil combustion after the foundry was heated up however what I didn't realize when people were talking about waste oil they were talking about waste cooking oil.... not used crankcase oil... That thing could belch clouds of BLACK smoke until I got the air oil mixture right. It would melt 18 pounds of bronze though. I have since just gone with making self aspirated propane burners as I don't have a ready source of cheap waste COOKING oil. It is a lot cleaner and convenient to use.
    War; everything in the world wrong, evil and immoral combined into one and multiplied by millions.

  22. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by klamath View Post
    Nice. I don't know if you are going to use forms to build the parabola but I used a rather simple method to mark the forms for the catenary curve I used on my root cellar roof.
    On a piece of plywood I marked out the base width of the arch and how high I wanted it then I stood the plywood on edge with the base side up. Then from two nails driven into the base width marks I hung a strand of small bead chain so that the bottom of the loop just hung to the mark I made for height of the arch. A chain hangs in a near perfect catenary curve so I carefully took a pencil and marked a dashed line along the bottom of the chain. Afterwards I marked it in a solid line and cut along the line with a saber saw.
    I haven't quite thought of how I'm going to draw the parabola, it's easy using CAD. I just plug in the numbers and the line appears. Your method is probably the easiest. I'll see how I'm going to solve that when time comes. First I have to do some regular masonry work.

    This is the initial design, which I made for the foundation, what's on top isn't yet fully designed, I only made the drawing to know the relative size of things so I could plan the foundation/slab. The roof is just a line...


    Quote Originally Posted by klamath View Post
    Don't feel bad about the US/EU standards difference. The difference caused a billion dollar mars lander to decelerate to late My first foundry burner I built myself and it was designed to burn waste oil. It started on propane and then went to a forced air/waste oil combustion after the foundry was heated up however what I didn't realize when people were talking about waste oil they were talking about waste cooking oil.... not used crankcase oil... That thing could belch clouds of BLACK smoke until I got the air oil mixture right. It would melt 18 pounds of bronze though. I have since just gone with making self aspirated propane burners as I don't have a ready source of cheap waste COOKING oil. It is a lot cleaner and convenient to use.
    In winter I burn petroleum for heat, which I get in 20L/5gal containers. They are trash so I fill them with cooking oil. Several people save up their fryer oil for me. Overall I get a couple gallons a month, as I'm not burning it it's starting to take space. I have filtered it and it looks pretty clear, smells very spicy though. All I need to be in business really is 2 couplers from thread to pipe... But as you might imagine, I have other things going on.
    I have burned some of the fryer oil, I wouldn't say it burns without smell, the smell isn't nice either. Not much smoke but I think it's best to get the flame as hot as possible, the smell does not come across as very healthy to me.
    Last edited by luctor-et-emergo; 06-22-2014 at 02:23 PM.

  23. #20
    Cool.

    So what is the result supposed to be like? I used to do commercial driving and when I was around New Jersey or New York and had some pizzas cooked with ovens like what your describing. It was a really good basic Thin Crust.

  24. #21
    Quote Originally Posted by VIDEODROME View Post
    Cool.

    So what is the result supposed to be like? I used to do commercial driving and when I was around New Jersey or New York and had some pizzas cooked with ovens like what your describing. It was a really good basic Thin Crust.
    I don't like deep dish pizza's unless you call them meat pies, then I'm fine with them. I don't always make the thinnest crust pizza, don't get me wrong, it's never more than 1/4 inch thick. It's preference based, I have made large (20inch) pizzas for years that had very thin crusts and very few toppings but a lot of herbs. Lately I've cut down on the herbs and number of ingredients, I made my pizzas smaller and a slightly thicker crust. Like I said, it's all preference. I'm not afraid to try new things but nothing outrageous.

    Visually, this is about what I like to see (not my pic):

  25. #22
    That is so cool!
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  26. #23

  27. #24
    Quote Originally Posted by donnay View Post
    That is so cool!
    Thanks !

    Quote Originally Posted by Carson View Post
    I'm hearing drawing a parabola and I'm thinking two nails and a string like half way down this page.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ellipse
    Yeah that's another way. I am designing on the computer so I either have to make a full size print or I have to recreate what I drew on the computer by using either method. Usually I think about how I'm going to do something and I find out half way in that it's not practical so I'm not going to speculate too much here.

    I have never built an oven before, so it's learn-as-I-go for me. I have done masonry, carpentry and CAD design. I know a bit about structural analysis and I have an affinity for making things but by all means, I'm not not a trained professional.

    If anyone would like the drawings with measurements, I'll be happy to pm those. They're metric though.



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  29. #25
    Drawing a full scale segment of an ellipse is quite simple with three nails and a piece of string....

    I'm cheating with a link but the cut-n-paste is less effort...

    https://www.khanacademy.org/math/alg...-of-an-ellipse

  30. #26
    Quote Originally Posted by luctor-et-emergo View Post
    Thanks !


    Yeah that's another way. I am designing on the computer so I either have to make a full size print or I have to recreate what I drew on the computer by using either method. Usually I think about how I'm going to do something and I find out half way in that it's not practical so I'm not going to speculate too much here.

    I have never built an oven before, so it's learn-as-I-go for me. I have done masonry, carpentry and CAD design. I know a bit about structural analysis and I have an affinity for making things but by all means, I'm not not a trained professional.

    If anyone would like the drawings with measurements, I'll be happy to pm those. They're metric though.

    I also just flashed on a documentary of the building of a large doomed structure. Someone was doing something like rebuilding it or something. He found to old original builders guide markers. They had some anchor points like the two nails and as the built and elliptical dome(?) they could stretch a line up and know exactly were to set their bricks.

    It wasn't that long ago that it aired. I can't remember if it was more complex or something just that simple but they were able to work right up the dome as it closed in.

  31. #27
    Quote Originally Posted by luctor-et-emergo View Post
    I don't like deep dish pizza's unless you call them meat pies, then I'm fine with them. I don't always make the thinnest crust pizza, don't get me wrong, it's never more than 1/4 inch thick. It's preference based, I have made large (20inch) pizzas for years that had very thin crusts and very few toppings but a lot of herbs. Lately I've cut down on the herbs and number of ingredients, I made my pizzas smaller and a slightly thicker crust. Like I said, it's all preference. I'm not afraid to try new things but nothing outrageous.

    Visually, this is about what I like to see (not my pic):
    Yup that looks like thinner crust pizza I've had in New Jersey. I'm not sure if it was Wood Fired, but it was a very large stone oven.

  32. #28
    Quote Originally Posted by tod evans View Post
    Drawing a full scale segment of an ellipse is quite simple with three nails and a piece of string....

    I'm cheating with a link but the cut-n-paste is less effort...

    https://www.khanacademy.org/math/alg...-of-an-ellipse
    Posting here is already paying back big time ! I am amongst great people. Thanks.

    Quote Originally Posted by Carson View Post
    I also just flashed on a documentary of the building of a large doomed structure. Someone was doing something like rebuilding it or something. He found to old original builders guide markers. They had some anchor points like the two nails and as the built and elliptical dome(?) they could stretch a line up and know exactly were to set their bricks.

    It wasn't that long ago that it aired. I can't remember if it was more complex or something just that simple but they were able to work right up the doom as it closed in.
    Complex things aren't as difficult as they seem sometimes. I had trouble with algebra because they used to have such weird ways of teaching that letters can be numbers. Everything fell in it's place when I was like "well that seems logical".

    Domes are usually not hemispherical because that's not self supporting, the trick with parabolic/elliptical domes is that they are self supporting. The load from the top section is carried down all the way through the dome into the base below. This means that the structure is very strong, the best example of this is the Pantheon in Rome. It's the oldest and still the largest unreinforced concrete dome ever built. I've been there, it's big.
    Last edited by luctor-et-emergo; 06-22-2014 at 04:46 PM.

  33. #29
    Quote Originally Posted by VIDEODROME View Post
    Yup that looks like thinner crust pizza I've had in New Jersey. I'm not sure if it was Wood Fired, but it was a very large stone oven.
    You don't taste a real smokiness in the pizza when it's wood fired, the difference is mostly temperature and authenticity. There are electric ovens that get up to the same temperature although I think they're still rare.

    The biggest difference is that in an electric oven at 480-500F it takes 8 minutes to bake a pizza and in a wood fired oven at 700-750F it takes only a minute, at most a minute and a half. My oven is going to be about 40inches diameter which means 2 nicely sized pizzas could fit in at the same time. I'm not able to make 2 every other minute, so it's large enough. When you're thinking about a business there's a commercial advantage in being able to serve within 2 minutes of ordering. I'd think.

  34. #30
    Parthenon in Rome
    ???
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