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Duckweed is cool but a Wood-fired Pizza Oven is HOT!

March 15, 2012

My Forno Classico Pizza Oven

I’m taking a moment from my obsession with duckweed to announce the first firing of my wood pizza oven!!!

It’s a beautiful piece of brickwork done by my friend, Giuseppe of Forno Classico in California. I pulled up a chair in my kitchen and drank a cup of coffee while watching the flames flicker. What  little smoke there was obediently went straight up the chimney flue.  I had a silly grin on my face that said, “THIS was worth all the effort. THIS is totally amazing.”

I’ve wanted a wood-fired pizza oven for many years., so when I bought this house, that was the first thing on my wish list.  I  purposely ripped out a closet to make my kitchen large enough to accommodate an oven. I researched for months and finally chose a Forno Classico design, hand-built just for my situation.  My ex built a steel frame to support the 900 plus pounds.  I shored up the basement with steel posts and a wood beam. A friend helped me mix concrete for the frame. My ex and friends actually did the heavy lifting of the oven, as it alone weighed nearly 400 pounds. My Uncle Steve came from Missouri to help install the flue through the ceiling. Then I was stumped for a few months until the weather and schedules allowed for a two-man team to install the flue through the roof. Thank you all for your help! Pizza’s on me tomorrow night! Bring beer.

I’m the immersion-type DIYer, and wanted to understand how domed brick ovens are made. The opportunity arose in the form of a trip  to Guatemala this past January to watch Patrick Manley and Bill Babb build one  for a Mayan family. Pat is the founder of Masons on a Mission and is considered the foremost expert on masonry heaters in the US. He and Bill let me cut bricks and mix cement. I understand the process and have a new appreciation for what goes into building a domed oven. I’m going to build one this summer in my backyard so we can have wood-fired pizza year round.

As I write this, my Forno Classico is now cooling down. Will do this three more times before tomorrow night, getting the fire hotter each time to break it in. Giuseppe and Patricia, thank you for such a beautiful oven. It’s going to be the source of many happy family memories for years to come.


2 Comments leave one →
  1. March 16, 2012 11:13 pm

    I’ll have you guys over soon before it gets too hot out. It’ll be a blast!


  2. Kimberly Doran permalink
    March 16, 2012 3:40 pm

    Ooo, I want some wood-fired pizza! jk, the oven looks great. – Kimberly


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