Building a mobile pizza oven

Hi Everyone,
My students and I at Big Picture South Burlington (imagine going to high school at the Generator) are trying to build a cob-construction pizza oven on a trailer to use for school and community events. The design challenge is to make an oven that can withstand movement over short distances (a few miles on local streets at most). If anyone has experience in doing something like this or may want to help us figure it out, please let me know. It might be as little as a 30-minute consult with my students over video or a chat outside at Generator or my school, or you could join us for as much as you are interested in. We know more or less how to build an oven, we’re just not sure how to make it mobile, so that is the big ask. Thanks in advance to anyone who wants to chat!
Cheers,
Jim Shields

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Maybe reach out to this local business

Looking forward to seeing your results!

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Hi Jim,

Tom Sabo, the biology teacher at Montpelier HS, who also runs the student farm and pizza business, will have a ton of info and ideas to share. His email is: [email protected]

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One thought that first comes to mind, is to possibly use vehicle motor mounts, or general cylindrical vibration isolators as a buffer for vibration between the slab base of the oven and the platform you have it sitting upon.

Woodbelly Pizza, in Montpelier, has a mobile pizza oven. They show up at the farmer’s market, and are available for catering (they catered a family event for me a while back). Great people.

Try giving them a call: https://woodbellypizza.com/
(802) 552 3476

Good luck!
Bill

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Cool idea, Nate. I was looking at leaf springs from vehicles, but motor mounts sound good, especially considering the weight (possibly 1,000-1,500 lbs?) Thanks!

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You might also reach out to NOFA-VT, [email protected]. I don’t know what they did this summer, but in past years they’ve traveled to events all over the state.

Looks like your students have no shortage of resources!

Cool project. Hope they can come do something outside Generator.

Yes, we heard that from someone else, but I contacted NOFA and they have a fancy copper pizza oven and we are making ours from cob (local clay, sand and straw), and it is much less tolerant of vibration, so we have a tricky design challenge, basically trying to do it the way everyone says not to do it! Thanks, Brook!

Yes, I heard they helped Common Roots make their new oven in Wheeler Park, so I’ll try to connect with them. One of our issues is that COVID has limited our ability to take field trips, and these guys are in Waitsfield. But good idea!

Jim,

I forgot to ask you the other night at Generator how this project was faring. Any updates? Seems like a fun build.

Hi Nate,

It went pretty well. We ended up scaling the project down a bit to accommodate a smaller trailer that a student donated. We had a choice of spending some $$ on a bigger trailer that would have made the project take longer, so we decided for our first build to make it compact. We ended up with an oven with an 11" door and a ~22" cooking surface and we cooked two 8" pies side by side on our test bake. But when we moved the oven, we “discovered” the tilt feature on the garden cart, and the oven almost slid off. We are rebuilding the cart and subfloor today and the oven is still intact, but that was a setback that prevented us from further testing of the oven. We still have to dial in the proper timings and fire parameters to get the cook temps we want. I included a few pics. Thanks for asking!

oven on gator.JPG

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That’s fantastic!