Are you thinking about buying a wood-fired oven but you aren’t sure just where to look? May I recommend what not to do, and then provide you with some great advice? There are “online operations” who fight tooth and nail to undercut the smaller showrooms in the country but they will likely cost you more and service is out the window, there are the “online super stores” where you can’t talk to ANYONE, and they’re so large you wouldn’t know where your product is coming from, and once shipping is factored in m a y b e you’ll save twenty five dollars, or, maybe it’ll cost you more down the line because you had no advice at all? Or possibly, there’s a big box store with a competitive product that looks pretty darn dazzling at first sight… oh, the power of impulse purchasing! but the salesperson (if you can find one), doesn’t know diddly-squat about the product, and you can forget any followup service.
Here’s my advice: Take the time to call or visit Jim and Cathy at The Arch who have been reputable full-service dealers of Forno Bravo wood-fired ovens and fireplace units and Forno Bravo’s accessory line since 2009. More recently, they added Forno Bravo’s exciting new Bella Outdoor Living premium stainless line which makes for a well-rounded offering.
We work hard every day to provide full service from the moment you contact us with questions about everything you want to know about the best wood-fired oven for you to the day the final brick is in place in your back yard or businesses. Even after that final brick is set, we enjoy hearing from you about your experiences whether you are exploring different types of pizza flour, managing your new commercial oven (a major investment) at your deli, or wondering how to get those pizzas to slide off the peel without ball bearing cornmeal pieces wedged in the bottom of the crust. (i.e. You don’t use corn meal because they tend to burn and get very hard …semolina works better )
Recently a customer visited our showroom, as they often have since purchasing an oven from us a couple of years ago. With great enthusiasm, he discussed hydration levels in dough with us for almost an hour. Our customers had taken a class in Charlotte with an accomplished chef and they were very excited to share their experiences with us. It was fun to talk about dough! I wonder what customer service at the big box store would have done with that conversation. Oh, that’s right, there wouldn’t have been a conversation!
The fact that Jim has been a professional mason in the Asheville area for over thirty years and Cathy has an interior design background means you will get a sincere interest in your project and professional experience to go with it. We can’t claim to be chefs because we are not, but we are delighted that the food from our own Forno Bravo oven is quite exceptional! That’s what wood-fired cooking is all about- great food and friends and a connection with fire! Because we’ve been baking, roasting and grilling for years, we can speak from experience about fire wood, temperatures, accessories, commercial considerations, heat retention, installations, cooking tips, and so much more. I have great respect for Jim’s masonry talent. I recall a customer from Hilton Head who had a beautiful outdoor kitchen installed reminding Jim that he is a master at his craft. Jim can give you a fair price for a complete installation, and we always give you a fair price for Forno Bravo products. We also give design advice such as practical heights for counters, considerations to traffic patterns as you navigate long handled peels and proximity to your kitchen. It’s our daily conversation, but to others it’s experience that is well worth it. We hope you will support our business by giving us a call at 828 253 5455 or completing this contact form.
We look forward to working with you!
Our showroom can be located at 2000 Riverside Drive Unit 10, Asheville, NC 28804 or visit our website at: http://www.thearchnc.com Hours: T-F 9:30-5:30, Sat 10-3
The Arch has moved once again! We’ve moved into a space that at one time was the old power house of what long ago serviced the Burlington Industries textiles manufacturing plant but is now The Riverside Business Park. We moved just a few hundred feet from our previous location within the park so if you’re looking at a GPS map, that famous little red arrow marker points to the same spot!
The building definitely presented us with some huge challenges, but with all the meandering metal pipes and metal boxes- (most of which I have no idea of their functions), they are now part of the overall “industrial look” that we simply work with..or around.
Fortunately we have maintained the same contact address as we simply moved “Unit 10” with us.
The space was clearly in very sad condition before we moved into it as you can see from these “before” photos. The many shades of paint and crumbling ceiling raised more than one eyebrow when we considered the space originally, in fact, at first, I for one, said ” NO”!
Then gradually, with the help of the park, and a closer look at the space, we accepted the challenge and recognized that it is going to function well for us. The high ceiling, natural light, upper loft work area and the outside awning are positive attributes of the space. Front doors were added, zero VOC paint was sprayed throughout the space, we built in some upper loft half walls and Jim wasted no time applying American Clay on a few of the walls (..there’s always more walls to cover with this amazing clay!). We still have a lot of work to do, but we’re here and we welcome everyone!
Alan Tilson with Indow Windows is in the upper loft (come in and discuss these energy efficient interior window inserts), and Roxanne’s “satellite” location for Amazing Capes takes up the other wing. !!! Check out her website too!
We have easy parking and the same great sustainable products and some new additions such as this sweet small portable stainless steel wood fired outdoor oven shown below.
Some of what The Arch offers: American Clay Earth Plaster and workshop offerings, Forno Bravo ovens and outdoor fireplace units for residential and commercial locations, Bella Outdoor Living wood fired ovens, one of Asheville’s best selections of sustainable flooring, Vermont Natural Coatings for floors, furniture, decks and exterior siding, home accents and art tile.
In our next blog post we plan to share images of The Nano C22 in action, fired up under the outside awning. We’ll be cooking some delicious appetizers! We are taking orders ( on the ovens), so come on in and take a look! There are larger units and drop-in options. Call us for details. 828 253 5455
Visit us at our new location at The Arch, 2000 Riverside Drive Unit 10, Asheville, NC 28804 http://www.thearchnc.com 828 253 5455 firstname.lastname@example.org Visit our website for hours of operation.
Beautiful and contemporary Bamboo Engineered Silver Lining and Escape are perfect for those looking for that slightly subdued bamboo texture with either a cast of Silver Brown/Gray or a distant wheat field under their feet. They are not strong colors nor are the patterns overwhelming, but instead will blend with many color schemes. The strands of bamboo are seriously compressed into long blocks using a “cold press” method for optimum stability . “The unique engineered construction provides the most stable platform in the industry while maintaining the status of a completely renewable resource since each layer is composed of 100% Moso bamboo”. All Eco Timber flooring is free from added urea-formaldehyde and other harmful VOC’s and contribute to LEED points.
For more information on specifications of these products:
Designers have taken an interest in the soft tones of these two new products. There are a number of dyed bamboo floors on the market that are so busy that they are not of interest for the larger living areas. Silver Lining and Escape are two selections that work beautifully with so many settings. Drop by The ARCH to see the larger 17″x17″ samples.
Remember- The ARCH can have an order drop shipped anywhere. Give us a call 828 253 5455
American Clay’s Humidity Buffering Qualities Contributes to Healthy Air Quality From Bathrooms to Wine Cellars
The growing interest and importance of air quality continues to reinforce our great feeling about American Clay Earth Plaster. We are confident that it is good for us and the air we breathe! There are some interesting advantages that American Clay offers to those wanting more consistent humidity levels and the reduction of potential mold and mildew, as well as a quieter space.
From personal experience we have lived with clay plaster in our own home and have experience with a broad variety of applications and placement of clay. We have American Clay plaster in a kitchen/dining area, sun room, bedroom and in two bathrooms. We’ve enjoyed the benefits the clay provides in every space and have witnessed, felt, and breathed in it’s ability to absorb and release water vapor when high levels of humidity are present without a spec of mildew appearing anywhere -EVER! What might seem to be a vulnerable location is where we applied clay along the top 18″ above the tiled walls in two shower areas but absolutely no problems have resulted- instead it benefits these areas. In contrast, if a painted wall experiences high levels of humidity such as in a bathroom the surface will eventually develop condensation from water vapor creating an environment favorable for mold and mildew growth. Another more extreme experience that we had was with several large3’x6′ foot display panels we made and applied with clay plaster for an expo. After a three day event we drove home and with the onset of a rain storm we rushed the panels into our (less than perfect) garage several years ago. We had an unfortunate heavy rain that evening that ultimately flowed into the area where these panels were situated.The panels were trimmed with wood for presentation purposes. After about a week we noticed a mold made its way up the wood strips but did not touch the clay. Not a spec! The mildew completely avoided the clay. If ever conditions were ripe for mildew this was it. We cleaned up the wood and put them in dry storage and years later they still have no mold on them. (I wish I had taken a photo). The following diagrams portray how American Clay provides humidity buffering in your home or business. (Click on diagrams to enlarge text).
As noted in this last image, the more clay there is in a given space the greater the humidity buffering. We called a few customers that have applied the clay in wine cellars as this is an excellent application choice to assist in maintaining a consistent humidity so critical in a wine cellar.
In reading about climate control in wine cellars, efforts must be made to maintain a certain temperature as well as humidity level.
If the humidity rises above 70% I have read that this is when the potential for mildew on the corks can develop which may create a problem for the wine.
There are several benefits when using the American Clay plaster- it assists in maintaining consistent humidity levels, assists in preventing mold and mildew, helps purify the air which is also important, and it is beautiful! We asked several customers how their wine cellars are doing after the applying the clay years earlier.
One of our customers shared that he has had no problems and added that he also selected the clay for the old world look. Shown here are two other wine cellars. Most of the wine cellars include applications on the ceiling contributing to humidity buffering benefits.
Lastly, I have shared this open-air lobby area before, but is a true testament that the humidity does not bother it. The benefits of American Clay go well beyond those mentioned here; in fact they are nothing short of amazing!
Give us a call anytime to discuss your project.
Interesting article: The 10 Most Common Wine Cellar Problems and How to Overcome Them
Click here for a humidity demonstration done by American Clay.
Natural Hydraulic Lime – Creates Old-World finish That is a Perfect Finish Selection for Wood-Fired Ovens, Foundations, and Other Masonry Projects
The ARCH, known in part for it’s natural finish options, has recently gained more experience with a Natural Hydraulic Lime finish product that we offer. Jim Erskine’s masonry experience spans thirty plus years, and as with most masons, his experience over the years has been primarily with Portland Cement products. Since 2004 Jim began working with American Clay’s natural interior earth plasters and has since become a strong advocate for all natural finish products. We’ve learned Natural Hydraulic Lime is retaking its place on historic masonry structures, and it is of increasing interest for a wide range of masonry applications. Recently we’ve enjoyed two applications on Forno Bravo wood-fired ovens as well as a residential wall foundation. We’re thrilled with the more natural look, as it takes on the nuances of color from the sunlight of the day and we know it will improve with age and develop a character unlike a traditional cement stucco.
Not pretending to be an expert on the properties of all the St Astier’s product options I can point you to a Chicago Tribune/ Washington Post interview with Andy deGruchy, president of Limeworks.US since 2001 and masonry conservation specialist for over 25 years.
You’ll learn the difference between hydrated lime and natural hydraulic lime among other interesting historical aspects and views within the construction industry as they relate to lime products. Jim and I first met Andy here in Asheville, as he was demonstrating the application of Natural Hydraulic Lime (NHL) products over the Hemp Technologies Hempcrete wall sections, of which we have a wall portion displayed in our showroom. NHL breathes with wall systems as they should, not trapping the moisture into cracks and crevices that are a result of concrete construction over time, weakening the structure. Natural Hydraulic Lime is found on some of the oldest historic structures on this earth. Featured here are a few photos from three recent projects . The first being a wood-fired oven of Rich and Kelly Lytle of North Asheville.
This is a Forno Bravo Casa2G90 oven kit, it has high heat refractory cement applied to the joints, high heat retention insulation, lathe, mortar mix, two coats of Ecologic Lime (which is a pre-blended Natural Hydraulic lime including the sand and pigment). The oven foundation work, oven assembly, oven finishes are all completed by Jim and Tom Silver. The attractive natural stonework is by local stone craftsman David Reed. The second oven, is our “slow but sure progress” on our own oven (still awaiting tile for the arch, counter surfaces and lower stonework).
We chose to add American Clay pigment – two color packs of Palomino Valley pigments to one bag of NHL 3.5 as a final coat to the process.
Lastly, the foundation photos are for a home in the area. Covering a block wall,
a coat of NHL 3.5 was applied, then the Ecologic pre-blended Natural hydraulic lime.
The appearance is much more natural and appealing than cement stucco. As with the other projects it will continue to harden over the months to come.
For more information on these products as well as natural lime paints, give us a call at The ARCH at 828 253 5455.
You can also look over www.limeworks.us for more information. A discount is provided to buyers if you use The ARCH code. Give us a call and we’ll gladly provide you with information as well as our code for a product discount.
Unless your deck is totally covered, the access to your deck is paved from all sides, you have no pets, and you wear slippers to walk across your deck- it’s going to get a mean work out- every year.
Abrasion and the weather elements are going to take it’s toll. North Carolina’s 2010 winter meant frequent snow piled high on our deck- which meant c-o-n-t-a-c-t with the shovel from time to time. We work in the yard a great deal, so unless you have a “shoes off” policy for your deck, (inside maybe- but the deck?), here again, comes a good bit of dirt, sand, and occasional gravel stuck in your soles. Then there’s the intense sun exposure- especially during the summer months. The list goes on… but don’t forget the dog racing back and forth in excitement.
Your deck needs something tough and you need something non-toxic, and we highly highly recommend Vermont Natural Coatings Poly Whey Exterior Finish. Just last summer (before we carried Vermont Natural Coatings in our showroom), we applied “a different” brand that was admittedly toxic-we thought we had picked a “relatively safe” choice among the selection at a big box store (a very bad decision – and we know better). Hey, we’ll be applying it outside right? Wrong. Evaporation is not a funny thing when it comes to toxins and I, for one, unfailingly ended up with a headache and this was just one symptom that I was aware of. As for cost? It wasn’t worth it for a minute. A year later our deck looked pretty bad once again, and what’s our health worth? As dealers of Vermont Natural Coatings since the Fall of 2010, we are thrilled to have a product we have full trust in and continue to receive great feedback about.
We can’t say enough good stuff about Vermont Natural Coating’s products- all of their products. It feels good knowing we’ve recently put down a really great product. It’s coverage is superb, it’s cost is very reasonable, and it’s a sustainable, durable product. Best of all- when we applied Vermont Natural Coating we experienced NO toxic fumes during or after the application and no headaches to worry about.
We are very excited to now stock Vermont Natural Coatings at The ARCH. We also carry their non-toxic wood cleaner which is safe for all wood surfaces, vegetable-based, and safe for people and pets.
Vermont Natural Coatings was designated a Top-10 green building product at Greenbuild, the premier annual green building event.
Give us a call at The ARCH at 828 253 5455. Also, please know we can have the product shipped to you! Hey, Northern Michigan friends- I know what your decks go through!
American Clay Earth Plaster is a very user-friendly product. You don’t have a time crunch as with lime plasters to consider, it’s healthy to be around, and it’s a pleasant natural product to work with. May we suggest however, that if you involve yourself in an informative (and fun) workshop the learning curve becomes even smoooooother!
Your may find that your clay stays on the hawk better, you’re likely to have a better feel for the ideal thickness of each layer, you’ll know how to approach working corners and edges, and you’ll learn from others in the group. Did I mention- the coffee is great too?!
Everyone is welcome- from novice to professionals and it is affordable! Like with any new product the sharing process between everyone, (and this most certainly includes professionals in some type of finish application trade), – we learn from each other and lots of questions get answered.
Jim Erskine, instructor of the classes held at The ARCH in Asheville, is an “American Clay trained applicator” as well as a mason by trade. He has applied well over 50,000sf of clay and in many different settings. With more than a bit of experience he has had his share of trouble shooting which makes for a great instructor as he’s likely to have more answers for all kinds of applications. (Always helpful).
Jim’s experience doesn’t come from just a single large job- he has worked with and learned from a wide variety of applications such as: all kinds of homes, commercial spaces, historical homes, bathroom ceilings, conference room walls, educational facilities, high walls, tight spaces, stairwells, wine cellars, kitchens, new construction, old construction, chimney chases, applications over brick, over block, over repaired plaster, over dry wall, over Hempcrete, along stone edges, on curvy walls, from rustic settings to contemporary, for happy-go-lucky customers to the more “selective” customer- and the list goes on. He’s worked solo, with other applicators, teamed up with customers or other professionals.
For several years The ARCH has held morning workshops once a month. The half-day workshop is great to learn all the basics, better understand the products, get your hands into it, gain a little extra confidence, and it’s an opportunity to ask a LOT of questions. Most of all participants develop a passion and understanding for clay as a fabulous wall finish. It lasts, it’s breathing, it’s healthy, it feels good, it contributes to LEED points, and it has DEPTH! (My favorite descriptive word is DEPTH!) unlike flat finishes such as paint, clay has a depth. Paint has no “doorway of interest” like clay. In the workshop Jim discusses the different clay types, the new products including Up& EZ which, when added to the clay, can be rolled on and troweled out, he shares examples of samples and walls within the showroom, demonstrates the walls within the showroom, demonstrates the mixing process of the clay and pigment, demonstrates trowel use, how to get a nice consistency with the clay, and much more.
Finally there’s time to play with different finishes and techniques. It’s an easy going product! Easy to apply, pleasant to be around, great to live with.
A customer was in the other day that had taken a class a couple of years ago and is about to begin a second home project with an artistic lime putty wash finish. He shared that he occasionally goes around misting his walls with a fine mist of water just to smell the wonderful earthy aroma that when hydrated slightly will evaporate right back into the air. Oops, he “overshot spraying his plants” – just a pleasant reminder to do it again! Ah, a guy that uses all of his senses.