A homestead wood fired pizza oven – the build begins
A few years ago I enjoyed pizza in a backyard wood fired oven at the Little City Farm B&B and since then have flirted with the idea of getting just such an oven. That one was a Cobb oven and although the simplicity tempts me I just don’t think that material would survive for very long in Ottawa with the abundance of rain, loads of snow, and lots of freeze thaw action especially given I don’t want to build a shelter for it.
That leaves three alternatives. Masonry stoves, but with these you get a very permanent installation that is going to cost a pretty penny. Then there is regular steel… cheap, easy to work with… but this material will rust and burn out. Then there is stainless steel… Looks good, it’s durable and won’t rust or burn out, it should spot weld easily, but it is fairly expensive.
Oh, and did I mention that the Mangiafuoco oven I like is selling for $3,500 before tax? Cool oven but, uh, yeah, no. I think the oven is lovely but I don’t really want it that much…. plus truth be told it, there is an added coolness factor is having something that you’ve built yourself, and I haven’t done much work with stainless steel yet so it should present a good learning opportunity.
So, last summer I collected a load heavier gauge of stainless steel that folks were throwing away… in the form of BBQs. See, here’s the crazy thing. Way back when, propane gas grills were pretty much all cast aluminum painted black. The burners would rust out and need to be replaced but the body would last and last… and if a neighbor happened to decide to upgrade and drag their old one to the curb… well those bodies made for an easy source of aluminum to cast in the home foundry.
Now though, most gas grills seem to fall into the single season (or maybe two) low end units made with regular carbon steel painted black OR much nicer and more expensive stainless steel. I’ve got one of the higher end models that is completely stainless steel that I managed to snag at the end of the season clear out with a further discount because it had a ding in the back of the lower housing. With it plumbed into my natural gas supply I never need to worry about running out of fuel which is great. I expect that I will have to swap in new burner tubes and covers at some point but apart from that can expect it to last decades.
But, it seems that there are a fair number of semi-stainless BBQs out there. They have the visible parts like the lid and maybe the doors fashioned in stainless but the rest is made of regular cheap but rustable carbon steel…. which means… those pieces of stainless steel sheet get rolled to the curb when the bottom burns out and the owner decides to buy a new one. So last summer I started grabbing these lids and doors when I happened to see them…. now it’ time to start the transformation from waste to that $3,500 pizza oven.
Stay tuned as the transformation progresses. Did I mention that the $3,500 price tag was before tax?