While the rain continues unabated here in the UK, with no sign of sunshine on the horizon, I have decided to add a few posts which feature ovens from fans of the blog (and who have used, to some degree, my instructions to build their own). What I love more than anything is seeing how other people interpret the original design I posted – and end up with incredible looking creations of their own.
I’m kicking off with a really lovely, rustic looking oven built by Andrew Frazer who hails from Austin, Texas. Andrew came across the blog last year and ended up building his oven in July 2013. Luckily, Andrew has also provided an excellent narrative about the build process and some of the things that influenced the choices he made during the build. I’ll let him continue in his own words.
My oven was built, this July, with the nearly pure clay that I struck about 18″ under the topsoil and the base is made from limestone rocks that I struck about 4″ under the topsoil! My earlier attempts to dig a garden and plant a couple of trees provided me with all of the free-stacked rocks that form the base. The oven sits on a 3-foot stack of limestone, in-filled with gravel. The oven is clay-dirt from my backyard, mixed about 3:2 or 2:1 with sand from the hardware store. The outer layers have added straw and the final clay plaster is 2 parts sand to 1 part clay dirt. The interior dimensions are 24″ circumference and 16″ high. Fires nicely and holds heat like a dream. Walls are very thick, I’d say 6-8″ in total.
- 6″ of drainage gravel under the first of the limestone rocks. The rocks are all from my backyard and stacked without mortar.
- The interior of the base is filled with urbanite I found dumped in the woods behind my house (a bit of enviro-cleaning) and levelled with pea gravel. This gravel helps to lock everything in place.
- Since my rock base was very irregular on the top, it is capped with an inch or two of cob.
- The next layer is a pearlite/clay insulating layer. I used a ring of bricks as a dam to hold the insulating layer in place until it dried. The bricks were removed and some were used in the construction of the arch .
- The top layer is a 3-4″ thermal layer of clay/sand and finally levelled with dry sand before laying the tiles.