Wednesday, October 8, 2008

First Post - Oven nearly finished

The purpose of this blog is to document my gastronomical adventures with my wood fired oven. I've spent the last six months or so building my outdoor kitchen/pizza oven - really my first big DIY home improvement project. That being the case, it certainly went much slower than I would have hoped (at some point I figured I would have the oven up and running in June, here it is October!) but the end result will be something that is not only functional, but that I am quite proud of. Some specifics and background in case you're curious:

The oven was purchased from Mugnaini in Watsonville CA. I did research before I bought, and the Mugnaini ovens came highly recommended as a "pre-cast" oven. The fact that their offices and warehouse are literally a few blocks from my place of employment were definite factors as well. They make a wide range of ovens - the one I bought is a Prima 100, which they say is their commercial quality oven, for a residential installation. They allow for a wide range of installation options, but I settled on their brand new (at the time of purchase) steel frame installation. I didn't feel comfortable tackling a masonry installation on my own, and the bids I got to simply do a box to hold the oven (no roof, no finished exterior) ranged from $7-9k. From a budget perspective, this was really a non starter, so I started exploring steel frame construction on the internet. I seem to have a habit of finding how-to DVD's of low production quality for my other hobbies (aviation related) - lo and behold I stumbled onto Willy the BBQ Coach and his set of DVD's. His BBQ 101 DVD had some of the absolute worst production quality ever committed to DVD (the first seven minutes seemed to be a hand held video camera taping a TV playing the video), but none of that really mattered since the information on steel frame construction was well presented, easy to understand and well thought out. So with that, I decided I would buy the steel frame installation from Mugnaini and then do all the framing myself. What Mugnaini delivered to me was the oven, a platform for the oven to sit on top of, and a steel stand to support the platform. That was about...March-ish. Roughly six months of evenings and weekends later (special thanks to my wife here for putting up with all this!) I had got the project to the point where I could hand it off to the tile and stucco contractors. As of today, the tile guy is nearly finished, and the stucco contractor should be here either late this week or early next to do the first coat of stucco. As my wife will attest, I'm terrible at taking pictures - not the technical part - I'm competent enough to click the button and all that - but I simply forget to take them pretty much all the time. Below are some photos, but missing are the really early ones with lots of framing detail and such. So it goes....

Here is where it all started:

And here's the arbor that covers the outdoor kitchen being built:

The arbor has been stained/sealed, and framing has begun. The house has been painted. This view is of the back of the oven - the rest of the kitchen is on the right along the big wall:

Here is the oven with the framing finished, and the dome wrapped in an insulating blanket. 24 gauge galvanized steel sheet has been wrapped over the barrel roof in order to better support the cement board that will be added:

Cement board has been added, the grill and side burner have been dropped into place to test fit one last time.

The counter tops have been tiled with a terra cotta tile. There's some tile on the front of the oven that I later decided to have removed. The appliances still fit!

The mantle has been tiled but not yet grouted. I found some jumbled lots of 2"x 2" talavera painted tiles on eBay. There's a couple of odd ones in there (like the Texas state flag) but I like that it's unique and quirky.

In the upcoming days I'll be getting my custom chimney back from a metal fab shop, and hopefully the stucco guy will get started on the scratch coat.


Blakefamfour said...

Your oven looks great, Uncle Sky! You did a great job on it. Maddie.

I want to come and eat pizza from your oven. I want to see the Texas State flag. Where is it? I miss you so much. Lucy

Coming along nicely, Sky. I especially love your commentary. Can't wait to come hang out with you and Maisie, eat pizza and soak in the view! Barrie

maisie said...

You've been incredibly patient and hard-working. I'm in awe of your ability to design and build this kitchen. There have been a few setbacks but you have overcome every challenge and created a truly professional looking centerpiece for our yard.

Here's to lots of parties!