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Spring’s rejuvenating presence is finally here in New England. We find this time of year is when we get the most phone calls and questions about DIY wood fired oven projects, what options are available, what makes our ovens different, and how long it takes to order and receive materials. There is a sense of urgency. We feel it too. It is time to start projects, get outdoors, and gear up for summer. Farmers and gardeners are planting crops, and Markets are opening with fresh local food. The smell of BBQ’s, grilling and wood fired bread and pizza is in the air.

If you are starting your own project, first ask yourself, what type of oven design concept will fit into your existing landscape, and what will meet your needs, budget and timeframe – either a DIY core package, a custom masonry installation, or a pre-fabricated “turnkey” model. These are the three broad options I always go over first with our clients.

Core Package – All of our Le Panyol ovens are offered as core packages. These packages include everything you would need for an on-site installation (the oven core, insulation, mortar, the custom Le Panyol oven door, stainless steel throat adaptor and pizza peel, etc). The only materials you would need to source locally would be for the oven base, chimney, and veneer – whether it be stucco, stone, brick, etc. We recommend this package to clients who have a local mason in mind to help them with their project, or who have masonry skills and want to manage the project themselves. Our cores are packaged and shipped within two weeks once an order is placed and payment is processed.

Custom Masonry Installation – Core packages are also offered to clients who want to work with our team of oven builders on a custom on-site design. These projects begin with extensive communication between our oven builders and our clients, rough conceptual sketches, to scale drawings, through final design approval. The oven model is chosen and is constructed from the ground up, and is entirely unique to our clients and their own business or living space. Custom masonry installations are typically booked at least two months in advance in order to leave enough time for design approval, sourcing and packing necessary materials and organizing our team and travel arrangements. Our copper option can extend this lead time. We are currently backordered on copper into early September.

Pre-fabricated or “Turnkey” Ovens – Our turnkey ovens are part of our signature series. They are fully assembled here at our headquarters in Maine, and shipped to our clients ready to use. These models come with a custom designed copper dome, which is handcrafted by a local world-class artist. They are entirely weathersafe, and can be installed indoors or out as long as there is proper venting. These models can be placed on a masonry base on-site, or they can also come with a custom steel stand or as a mobile unit with a custom trailer built by our masons. The lead time for our turnkey models can vary depending on our existing orders. We always recommend contacting us directly for an update on our schedule as well as a custom quote.

There are various benefits and factors to consider when choosing between any of the above options. The benefit of a turnkey model is that you know, up front, what the oven will cost and what you will get. The turnkey oven is designed by our team of highly skilled masons, is made to order, and a 50% deposit is required to lock the project into our schedule. Quotes and costs are reviewed and agreed upon before the oven is purchased. Most often, the upfront costs of a turnkey model may seem intimidating, making a masonry installation more appealing. We find, however, that a custom install, no matter which manufacturer you choose, can end up costing more than a turnkey model in the long run, due to labor, time, and sourcing local materials and tools for the installation. This is certainly not always the case, and when our team custom designs an oven, we always quote overall estimates for the oven core, labor and special materials at the start of the project. If you are thinking of taking the installation on yourself, or working with a local mason, these are important factors to consider before you begin.

The major benefit of a custom masonry installation vs. a turnkey model is that it allows you a greater degree of customization. A masonry install around any Le Panyol model allows you to think beyond the limitations of colors and metal, toward other materials, various shapes and textures, all of which will allow your oven to fit into, or stand out among, your existing living space and/or landscape.

In terms of landscape, this is another important step in determining the right model. Our turnkey models are typically shipped fully assembled with a stand, or ready to set on a pre-fabricated masonry base, but also can be built on-site. If your landscape is easily accessible, all you would need to do is rent an all terrain forklift or hire a local rigging company to set the oven in place at your desired location. We have a few clients this summer who were concerned about not being able to rent the right equipment to set the turnkey oven in place in their backyard or because their land was already developed and running equipment like a forklift would cause too much damage. If your existing landscape is complex, or already fully developed, you may want to consider building the oven on-site with a copper assembly or going with a custom masonry installation instead.

This is a brief run-through of the various options you have when choosing between our Le Panyol oven models and wide array of services. As you start your oven project this Spring, consider your local resources, your existing aesthetics and landscape. Then draw your own plans on a sketch pad, print photos of designs that stand out to you, and give us a call. We’ll help you get started on the right track.

We find there’s no better way to spend our summers than by a wood fire in a Le Panyol in the company of friends and family.