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S20 E39: Pizza Oven Repair, What Is It?

Nathan explains the anatomy of track saws; Mark repoints an outdoor pizza oven; The Ask This Old House team comes together for a 20th Anniversary “What Is It?”

Previous episode: S20 E38 | Next episode: S21 E1

In this episode:

Carpenter Nathan Gilbert gives us an in-depth lesson on track saws. First, Nathan explains how track saws are changing the way carpenters and woodworkers are breaking down sheet goods. Then, he walks us through all of the different parts and adjustments that these handy saws and the tracks they ride in have to offer.

After he explains the parts, Nathan shows us how to set up a track saw for a quick cut by slicing through some plywood on top of a sheet or rigid foam. Finally, he sets the saw to cut a 45-degree angle, providing a perfectly mitered corner.

Next, we tag along with mason Mark McCullough as he helps a homeowner fix his pizza oven. The pizza oven’s constructor, another mason, built the structure from fieldstone, brick, and concrete, and Mark loves the design. However, the weather hasn’t been kind to the oven, so he lends some expertise.

The two get to work assessing the oven, noting damaged areas, and come up with a plan. Next, Mark climbs on top of the oven and replaces the old flue with a new water-tight one. He shows the homeowner how to grind or chip away all of the damaged mortar before showing how to mix type N mortar and repoint the joints.

Finally, the crew takes another crack at everyone’s favorite segment: What Is It? Landscape contractor Jenn Nawada brings a gadget to the table that stumps everyone. From host Kevin O’Connor’s pocket carry to heating and plumbing expert Richard Trethewey’s exfoliator, the guys try them all. While general contractor Tom Silva might’ve been closest, Jenn tips the crew off as to what she really brought along.


Tool Lab | How to Select and Use a Track Saw

Carpenter Nathan Gilbert teaches us everything we need to know about track saws, including their parts, how they work, and how to use one.

How to Repair an Outdoor Pizza Oven

Mason Mark McCullough shows a homeowner how to breathe new life into their outdoor brick and stone pizza oven.

Celebrating 20 Years of What Is It?

Landscape contractor Jenn Nawada stumps the guys with a contraption they’ve never seen before—even after celebrating 20 years of “What Is It?” But, what is it?

Original Air Date: Aug 3, 2022, Season 43; Ep. 39 23:42