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My Oven, an Ongoing Journey

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Do you remember the excitement of dreaming about a wood-fired oven? On my oven journey there were many years of dreaming followed by the excitement of watching it come together. If you’ve ever watched Dave at work, he is a master-builder. We call it “performance masonry.” I watched step-by-step as my oven came together with all the specifics I wanted.

my oven design options leuders stone countertop

Dave suggested leuders stone countertops and a small granite work top.

We were delighted with the additional suggestions Dave made on stone and some granite for finish-out. I remember the first time I lit the oven, the first entertaining, how good the food tasted.

my oven wood-burning-oven-pizza-oven-first-fire

From this very first fire, our oven has provided five years of fun and fabulous food.

Family friend

The food still tastes good, and I still love my oven after five years. The oven has an important place in our family. Nick and the girls are comfortable cooking in the oven, and we fire it up for a lot of our entertaining. As a family we’ve created great meals over the years. Our relationship with the wood-fired oven is like having a dependable friend.

my oven wood-fired-oven-care

My oven ages

My oven shows normal signs of use: smoked arch, a few fine cracks in the exterior stucco—nothing to be concerned about–just signs it’s been out in the changeable Texas weather through hot and cold seasons. The signs of age/use also remind me of sharing the whole process from design to finish with many customers.

my oven smoke-arch-minor-cracks-surface-stucco

After five years in the open, the stucco finish has feathery cracking. You can tell by the blackened arch that it gets used. Mild soap and water will clean off some of the soot.

Best of past and present

Dave went to Italy in 2012 to visit some of the old wood-fired ovens, talk shop with oven builders, and experience traditional local cooking classes. He remarked on the construction of old ovens built from whatever rock or stone was on hand. Their rustic appeal often comes with crumbling mortar and inefficient heating. Today, even in the old country, oven cores are usually built with modern materials that hold heat efficiently.  Dave has mastered the art of building beautiful ovens that work. He is able to link the best of the old ways of building  with today’s materials and methods. He builds ovens that are meant to be used and enjoyed for a lifetime.

my oven wood-burning oven, pizza oven, modern materials firebrick refractory

Refractory and firebrick ovens provide even heat and superior fuel efficiency compared to old-world rock or dirt ovens.

Yearly check-up

To keep your wood-fired oven in top shape, we recommend that you do a yearly check-up, or have us to do it for you. Is the flue clean? Does it need sweeping? (See our blog on doing this yourself.) Is there any loose mortar inside the vault? Any dings from throwing wood? (See our blog on adding wood safely to protect the interior of your oven.) If you have a Forno Bravo kit, you can replace cracked floor tiles. Do  any minor exterior cracks need to be re-stuccoed—a face-lift? (Forno Bravo also has exterior stucco patching kits.)

As Dave says, “if you take care of your oven it should last longer than you do.”

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