Homemade firebrick oven:
- At under a buck a brick for 160 bricks almost anyone can afford an oven. The refractory mortar and the insulation (which you have to buy anyway) cost more than the oven.
- Unlimited design choices: you can build your oven any size, any height, with any vent size that will suit your cooking style best.
- Unlimited internet support, on even the smallest detail, from a large supportive oven building community.
- Bragging rights: "Yeah, I built this. Yep. Every brick"
- This is true of commercial ovens too, because more than half the effort of building any oven is the footings, stand, enclosure, and finish, but it's a fun project. You can enlist the help of friends, family, and neighbors, and build your local community.
- A "brick oven" should look like it's made out of bricks. I'm sorry, it should. I know you can get commercial brick built ovens, but most of the ones you can afford look like upside down beige mixing bowls.
- Brick ovens crack. Almost every one. Everyone gets paranoid about those hairline cracks, then finally shrug their shoulders and go back to cooking. If a crack in your oven is going to drive you crazy, get a commercial oven.
- You have to make your own decisions, and figure out certain things for yourself. If you want a ready made solution, go commercial.
Like Bill, I wish I had a little bigger oven. Mine is 36, which is fine for what I do, but there would be a little more versatility with a 39.5 (1 meter) oven.