Monday, September 19, 2016

Brick Oven Cost: the competition

TBO 36" in Ventura CA
Up front, let me state that I am a very small company.  I have one part-time assistant.  I am the mason who builds your oven, brick by brick.  So, in making comparisons to the giants of cast refractory ovens (kit and assembled), I harbor no illusions of competition.

That said, I am always (ALWAYS) confronted with the cost constraints of potential customers.  I have empathy with those who do not have the budget for a custom brick oven.  I encourage, even supply, would-be owner-builders with ample information on this blog.

So, how do my base prices for 36", 42", and 48" interior diameter custom brick ovens compare to the leading (and original) importer of cast refractory ovens from Italy, Mugnaini.

Andrea Mugnaini has written my favorite brick oven cookbook, which I include with every oven I build.

Here are their prices: Medio=      from $7550.00
Mugnaini Prima 100
                                   Prima 100= from $8950.00
                                   Prima 120= from $9550

It is assumed that this does not include shipping, or the slab you need in your backyard to put it on.  The metal base, though easy for a machine to move, will rust.

I could not discern what from meant aside from shipping.

Here are my base prices, which include the ground slab, the woodbox, the oven floor with insulation, the dome with insulation, and the face and flue:
                                          TBO 36=  $8000.00
                                          TBO 42= 10,000.00
                                          TBO 48= 12,000.00

It's easy to see that value-for-value there is no comparison.    What my customers get is a permanent installation with not just plug-and-play customizations.
TBO 48" Baker's oven in NH

TBO 36" in home
I recently built a TBO 48" for a baker, who later told me that the same oven would have cost more from Le Panyol without the customizations we agreed on.

Again, I cannot compete with the factories that make refractory wood-fired ovens; I don't want to.  I can offer a true brick oven at a cost that, at least, makes a buyer think twice: do you want a manufactured import, or do you want a brick oven mason to build it the 'the old way' but with 'new thinking'?

New thinking means that the ergonomics of cooking in these ovens is taken into account: i.e., a wider face than mouth so the entire interior is accessible.
New thinking incorporates 'make up' air channels for all indoor installations allowing the combustion air for the fire to enter at the right and left of the oven mouth under the flue.  This eliminates smoke problems, increases draft, and negates any air removed from the room by other appliances.  No other brick oven builder or built, offers this.

An example of this is a recent project built into a glass greenhouse/sunspace in NH.  Working with the owner we found a logical location for the oven prior to the greenhouse build.

The volume of the oven was placed on a slab outside of the greenhouse perimeter.

Oven prior to installation of an ash dump drawer below hearth and the custom steel door
The face, wood box and hearth came 8" into the interior, making it space efficient.  The New Thinking that made this possible combined experience, thought, and flexibility of design.

Below is a comparison of a shipped-in oven.


Getting a Stefano Ferrara oven can be a challenge. For one, importing an oven from Naples is expensive. Here's at look at what it costs in US dollars to buy a Stefano Ferrara oven, untiled and not including shipping fees, with data provided by Denver-based importer Wood Fired Pizza Oven. Though there are more sizes available, this table displays the costs of the 120, 130, and 140 centimeter diameter iterations as they are the most commonly found in restaurants:
Stefano Ferrara fixed oven
120 cm$16,693
130 cm$16,693
140 cm$17,410


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