I am building the Grande size oven. I noticed some are closing in the front some. What is recommended? I cannot decide. I would like to use the oven for many different foods. Thank you.
Hi Scott, and welcome to the BrickWood forums.
One of the nice things about this design is that you can choose (at least in one direction): you can start with the front open, and once you’ve had some experience with the oven you can decide whether you’d like to close it off later.
There is another wrinkle as well: the “open zone” is actually an area range. The minimum open zone needs to be at least 240 square inches, and BrickWood recommends the maximum open zone should not exceed 400 square inches. So you have some latitude there to decide why you want to close the front. If you are looking for maximum heat retention, low and wide and 240 square inches would work better for you. If you are looking for maximum access and better smoke draw, you then want high and a bit narrower and 400 square inches.
Really, though, if you are unsure, my advice would be to leave it open and leave the front minimally finished (just stucco, and be sure to paint it!). See how you actually use the oven for a season, and that will give you a better idea. Closing the front is a permanent step, practically speaking, and only you are going to know how you are using your oven.