Building a wood fire oven takes some planning before you get started with it. Below are some important tips for the planning process. We’ll also explain the best way to build it and what kits we recommend for first time builders.
Preparation and planning
First, you will need to work out where you want to build it. Keep in mind that the process starts with a concrete slab, so you’ll need to make sure that the ground is level. Once your oven is built, you will need an area to place your tools (brushes, paddles, etc) and a table and chairs for your loved ones to gather around. Make sure there’s plenty of room around your planned oven area so that you aren’t boxed in.
Next, you need to work out what type of wood fired oven you are after and what materials you will build it out of. Brick, marble, adobe, cob, clay, etc are some examples of materials to use for your oven. You need to make sure that you choose materials that will suit the rest of your area. For example, if you have a modern looking home, modern-looking materials to match would be ideal. If you have a farmhouse type of home, rustic-looking materials would match nicely.
Size is an important factor to take into consideration. A smaller oven will take less time to heat up, while a bigger oven will take longer. Choose what size you want based on what you plan to cook and how much time you have to heat it up each time you use it.
Foundation and concrete
Once you’re ready to get started, the first step is to make the foundation. Do this by digging a hole about 15 cm deep. Width will depend on the size you want the oven to be. Fill the hole with concrete. Then place your concrete building blocks on the borders of the concrete. Fill the square with rocks and rubble. Keep building and adding blocks until you’re happy with the height. Fill the square as you go, but make sure to leave a gap at the top to allow room for insulation. Finish the last layer of block with a concrete cap.
Fill the void with an insulation mixture. A good insulation mixture is made of a blend of sawdust, perlite and clay slip. Add equal amounts of sawdust and perlite into a wheelbarrow. Mix the clap with water to form a consistency like sour cream. Now you’re ready to mix the clap slip with sawdust and perlite. Make sure it’s all mixed well. Add the insulation layer to fill the remaining emptiness of the square. Make sure it is levelled.
Adding the oven floor
The next step is to add the fire brick layer. This is also the oven floor.
You can use sand to build the dome around it. Use wet newspaper over the sand layer to stop the clay from sticking to it. You can also add straw to the mix of materials used for the dome. Once you’ve got your mixture and materials, mould the mixture into a dome. Once your dome is ready for it, cut a doorway/opening.
Dome insulation layer
Add a layer of insulation on top of and around the dome. Use the same mixture from before. Make sure to leave some room where the door will go.
Final dome layer
The final dome layer is another layer of clay. Once your dome is set, you can remove the sand from the inside. You’ll hit the newspaper layer once you have removed all the sand. Carefully peel off the newspaper layer.
This part is completely optional, but if you want to add some decorations, now is the time to do it!
Now, you have completed your oven! Once you’ve cured it, you can get cooking and enjoy your new oven.
General tips to keep in mind:
- Make sure there are no logs, trees or branches in the area where you are building your oven. Keep in mind that you are working with fire and there needs to be a good amount of room around the oven to ensure safety.
- The nicer it looks means the more value it adds to your home/property.
- The walls need to be thick for insulation. Thicker walls = ability to get the flame higher.
- You’ll need room to scoop and move charcoal.
An easier solution
Once you’re ready to start the building process, we recommend using our pizza oven kit. They have everything you need as well as step by step instructions to guide you through the process. Designed with beginners in mind, DIY Pizza Oven are perfect for first time builders.