The manufacturers of the world’s most efficient, beautiful, wood-fired oven,
Le Panyol, are featuring our oven on their website. We are so excited to see the photo of our Four à bois Le Panyol Pro 120L – like proud parents we have to share all of the love, labor, and engineering that went into the construction of our first wood-fired oven. Phase I: Building the base
Before construction of the oven could begin the floor had to be reinforced. Pascal removed the existing wood floor from the restaurant and replaced it with a much stronger steel I-beam and metal joists covered with a thick layer of concrete. This provided the sturdy foundation necessary for the oven construction to begin.
Delivery of the oven bricks, heat-resistant insulation, and white earth/sand mixture.
The supporting structure of the oven was constructed with a wall of cement blocks on the inside and a layer of brick on the exterior.
Planning and construction of the oven foundation
Bottom part of the oven foundation was open for storage. This shows the wood template temporarily put in place to support the concrete and rebar platform that the oven dome will be built upon.
The cement blocks in the walls of the oven base were reinforced with rebar and filled with concrete. The opening in the oven base provided room for convenient wood storage in the restaurant kitchen.
The top of the oven base was reinforced with additional rebar before the final layer of concrete was added.
Smoothing the concrete cap on the oven base. Once cured the second phase of the oven construction was started.
Phase II: Assembling the oven
Fireproof insulation was laid over the concrete cap to protect it from the heat of the oven.
The heat resistant insulation was then covered with a layer of the Larnage White Clay, the same soft “white earth” material used to make the oven bricks. This created the base of the heat retaining mass for cooking chamber of the oven.
Le Panyol recommends a dry-fit/test run before the final installation. Our oven was delivered with an instructional DVD explaining the history of Le Panyol and the oven construction process.
Le Panyol Pro 120L is a very long, oval-shaped oven designed for commercial use. This is the outline of the first ring of oven bricks.
Wooden braces were provided to guide the installation of the curved oven bricks.
The final dome-shaped oven is held together by the weight/friction of the bricks and the keystone at the top of the oven. In this picture the oven bricks are not yet in their final, tightly-fit positions.
Per Le Panyol’s suggestion, jacks were used to hold up the keystone until all the oven bricks were perfectly aligned. Then the jacks were removed and the oven bricks were held in position by their own weight.
Completed exterior of the oven dome – note the tight fit of the bricks after the jacks have been removed and the keystone is in its final, secure position.
Completed interior of the oven dome. Le Panyol Pro 120L oven dome weight approximately 1270 kg (or 2800 lbs).
An additional cement block and brick chamber was constructed around the oven dome to house the additional mass that will allow the oven to maintain its inertia.
Finished oven dome was sealed with a thin layer of heat-resistant mortar provided by the oven manufacturer.
Like other ovens Le Panyol had a flue to directs smoke outside the building.
Phase III: Exterior completion & insulating the oven mass
The wall of cement blocks used to create the foundation for the oven was continued up to the finished height of the ceiling.
The layer of veneer brick on the exterior of the oven base was also extended up to the finished ceiling height.
The opening of the oven measures 60 x 40 centimeters (approximately 24 x 16 inches).
Like the oven base, the cement blocks were again reinforced with rebar and concrete. The inside of the cement block cylinder was also lined with a layer of heat-resistant insulation.
Once the cement block “oven cylinder” was completed and lined with insulation the space above the oven dome was filled with 15,000 pounds (approimately 6,804 kilograms) of Chamotte insulation. Charmotte insulation is a heat-resistant sand made with the same white clay used to make the oven bricks.
Chamotte insulation has excellent insulating properties. It is considered to have +30% heat retaining properties when compared to sand. This creates the heat-retaining mass that will allow the oven to maintain high cooking temperatures over long periods of time without requiring additional fuel.
Another 4,000 pounds (approximately 1,814 kilograms) of sand was added on top of the white earth to finish filling the top of the brick cylinder. The finished weight of the heat-retaining oven mass is estimated to be approximately 22,000 pounds (9,979 kilograms).
Le Panyol Pro 120L has a cooking area measuring approximately 1.5 square meters and is capable of holding at least 14 dishes at a time.
Finished oven taking shape. Once completed the oven was allowed to cure for four weeks while the rest of the restaurant renovation was underway.
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