Monday, July 12, 2010

"Pizza to live for!"

The Pizza Eaters have been and gone! Beaut to share a meal with such a great group of characters. Clancy's sprawled out exhausted by all the attention and with a very full belly having hoovered up all the scraps that have been left at muzzle height.

The oven's performance was all that I'd hoped for. It seems to be even better than the first one I built. I think that this is mainly down to the location. Easy access to the kitchen and eating area makes the experience a much more sociable one for the cook.

While this oven is a bit smaller than my previous one (by about 100mm) it's still plenty big enough. Cooking two pizzas at a time is a breeze. I recon with a bit more skill development I could certainly cook up to three or four at a time. Not that there ever seems to be a rush.

Pizza making enourages lots of talking. As everyone gathers around the bench to create their own culinary master-piece there's a lot of talk about topping selection, the days events, the latest news......

Everyone leaves happy. They've got to create their pizza just the way they like it. No complaints.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

First Fruits

With the chimney up last night, it was time for the oven to start producing.

Regular readers will remember the mistake I made, when finishing the dome, of not covering the sand mold with a non-stick membrane. This resulted in some loose sand stuck to the roof of the dome. A wire brush on the end of the cordless drill seemed to work well to tidy this up. A good fire that creates plenty of air movement should get rid of any other loose bits of sand so that they don't end up in my pizzas.

Oven fired up nicely, chimney worked well. Little bit of smoke escaping out front initially, but once the chimney warmed up and started drawing nicely it seemed to be working very well (phew!)

It seemed only fitting that the first meal produced in the oven should be a Margherita Pizza. The traditional Neapolitan pizza. Cooked perfectly!

This was followed by one of Theo's desert pizza options, the Black Forest. Delish!

Smoke Chamber and Chimney

Made the most of the breaks in the weather yesterday to get the chimney up.

This involved building a smoke chamber in front of the door to capture the smoke and send it up the chimney. I was pretty keen on carrying the curved theme through from the oven to this, but it seemed a bit tricky, so went with a flat top instead. Much easier to lay, and install the chimney.

Was given a beaut, complete, stainless steel chimney by the Lockridge connections. Looks good and had every thing that I needed.

I replaced the sheet of Lazerlight above the oven, with a sheet of Custom Orb left over from a previous project. Reduced likely hood of being affected by heat. Also gave a firm base to fix weather-proof chimney sleeve to.

Next step is slap on final coat of render so that it looks nice and tidy.

Winter Weather

Winter has finally arrived in Perth. Great to see some rain after such a dry couple of months.
The rain has slowed progress down considerably though. I wasn't able to get much done this week at all. Had to postpone the pizza eaters 'till Monday.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Final Render Coats

I got the first coat of render on this arvo. Used 3 bags of mortar mix.
If the chicken wire is a bit loose it makes it's a bit fiddly, so it pays to have the wire as taut as you can get it.
The second coat should go on pretty easily as the it will have a nice firm base to stick too.
The pressures on abit now as the first lot of pizza eaters are coming around on Thursday!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

The Oven | Community

I went up to Lockridge for lunch today. No Leederville, but entertaining all the same! Some friends of mine have moved to the area with the idea of helping others to enjoy life a little more. They're good people. Real people. Humble followers of Jesus. They have a genuine desire to make their community a better place to live in.

On the first Sunday of each month they run a gardening workshop in the community garden (alongside the local Anglican church). At lunchtime they fire up the wood fired oven in the garden, and cook up pizzas for those that have turned up. This little social enterprise is a great use of the oven. The food it produces, and coffee cart, provide a focal point for people to connect around.

I learnt abit about gardening from Harry the Horticulturalist, got to catch up with old friends, met some new ones, and enjoyed a delicious margherita pizza straight from the oven. The coffee was pretty good too.

Insulation | Part 2

I fitted the insulation this morning. Took about an hour. The piece of rockwool I got was just a bit too small (should have got 3 square metres) so I had to scrounge a bit of roof insulation from a skip bin on a building site. I've checked the specs on-line and I'm confident it will stand up to the heat.

I draped the insulation over, cut out a few triangle sections to make it fit the dome, then used tie wire to 'suture' the joins.

I've covered the insulation in chicken wire, to give the external coats of render something to hang onto. The method for this is exactly the same as for the fitting of the insulation. I used scrounged chicken wire, but ran out and had to buy a bit more. This was finer wire (13mm mesh/0.56mm wire) and was much easier to work with.

At the door, I've folded the wire back around the insulation, then joined the two sides with a couple of lengths of tie wire. It doesn't matter about the edges of the insulation around the door as this will be covered up by the walls of the smoke chamber. This will be added after the dome has been rendered.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

A bit of Cosmetic Work

Today my dad gave me a bit of a hand to start building a retaining wall at the back of the oven. This will become a herb garden where I can grow basil for my margherita pizzas.

I used the left over mortar to tidy up the outside of the dome. Because I'm not that fussy about how I split the bricks when making the dome, there was a few divots that needed filling up. There was also one small gap in the dome that I noticed smoke escaping from when I fired the oven up again last night. A screed of mortar has fixed that up. Now I've got a reasonably smooth dome ready for the insulation to be laid over.

I've learnt abit about applying (and removing!) make up as part of my work this year. I recon today's job on the dome is probably like applying a layer of foundation. Get this layer right and the finish should be fine.

Friday, July 2, 2010


Managed to track down some insulation today. Big thanks to Gary at Right Homes for helping me out with this. Gary and Anna built my house. Great builders, and also just beaut people. Even six months after the build has finished, Gary was still keen to help me out.

Gary recommended that I use rockwool insulation in the wall cavity of the house as a way of maximising the effectiveness of its passive solar design elements.

This product is also spot on for insulating the oven. It's made from a mixture of rock and recycled building material. It's non-combustible and will withstand temps up to 650 degrees.