Thursday, September 1, 2016

Affordable Brick Ovens

This one is 2500 years old
Whenever someone says something is 'affordable' two things come to mind: 'Affordable to who?' and 'How cheap are we talking about?'
The two questions put me on opposite sides of the value scale.  To my mind, 'affordable' should mean within the reach of the average person (if there is such a creature:).
I have tried to make my ovens, which have many custom aspects within reach of cooking enthusiasts, start-up bakeries, restaurants, and caterers.  To do this I have streamlined the various steps in making an oven out of the highest quality materials.  I then allow the budget to stay 'affordable' for simple finishes and to climb in cost for really artistic exteriors.  Sometimes this includes the surrounding terrace and landscape.

Large farm/orchard oven
For restauranteurs wishing to have a true brick oven (as opposed to the cast-refractory shells that are mass-produced) I offer more than competitive pricing.  I also consult with the owners on possible money-saving steps that can be taken by them or standard block an mortar masons they currently know.

But, the fundamental principal is durability.  A poorly made or designed oven is not worth even building.  Because the ovens I build (or show you how to build) are made from precision-cut fire brick, hand-fitted, they will last hundreds of years.

failed cast refractory oven
All brick construction prior to exterior
Perhaps  you don't want to think beyond your lifetime.  Fine.  In many places in Europe, the brick ovens of hundreds of years ago are treasured as both living historic structures and centers of community activity even today.

I would not suggest anyone go way beyond their budget for an oven.  However, I'd recommend considering the story behind an 'affordable' choice.

Owens Farmhouse portable by TBO

Family brick oven by TBO and local masons in West Virginia

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