Your Ovens

A page dedicated to the ovens that you have built. Send me a photo, or a link, and I’ll add it to the gallery. You can email me directly at: simon.brookes@gmail.com.

Reid Maclean, Narrowsburg, NY.
Reid and his delightful family built this beautiful cob oven in their home in rural New York. He plans to put another 2” layer of cob over the insulation layer, and finish it off with either a lime plaster coat or cob/manure coat, but he’s not stopping there. Reid told me, “I’m going to be installing a 3” black walnut countertop to the left of the oven and circling the base of the oven. With the leftover fire bricks, I’m building a rocket stove with a cast iron pot over the chimney”. Hands up, who wants Reid to build their oven for them? This is a wonderful project and I can’t wait to see the finished photos. Best of luck Reid!


Michael Dovichi, Algoma, Wisconsin.
Here’s a beauty, with a twist. Michael’s oven has a concrete outer layer, a brick front and a beautiful, iron door. I’m sure the protective outer layer is essential protection against the Wisconsin rain and cold winters. Nice work Mike!


Lesley & Ian Ross, UK
There are pizza ovens and there are pizza ovens. This is a work of art! I don’t think I have ever seen an oven that looks so neat. Well done Lesley and Ian. Just make sure you keep it covered well over the winter, the horizontal rain can play havoc.


Jonathan Mulgrew and Richard Seaby, New Forest, Hampshire, UK
Jonathan and Richard came to one of my oven building courses earlier this year (2014) and decided to work together to build this fantastically neat oven. They said,” We built a concrete block plinth then rendered it. We found some corian work tops someone didn’t want so made some counters to make the pizzas on and left a space for the BBQ.”. Clearly I must be doing something right on the courses although, I have to admit, this puts mine to shame! Great work chaps.


Paul Chatten, Bromborough, Wirral, UK
This neat oven has a base of firebricks from old storage heaters, a vermiculite and lime mortar jacket, applied in two 1.5 inch coats. Sweet!


Tesh Chudasama, UK
Tesh has been busy making a new oven. This is oven version 2.0 and it looks even better than his first one. Nice work mate!


Paul Wild, near Huddersfield, UK
What a neat and perfectly formed oven. Paul tells me that he used brick to build the oven dome  (I’d like to see pics of the construction) then finished it off with a 2″ render. Magic!

Pizza Oven


Tesh Chudasama, UK
This is a work of art! Fantastic work Tesh.

image


Richard – Felpham, West Sussex, UK
A neat little oven with a nice roof. Richard used perlite mixed with clay as insulation layer. He has also rendered the outside for a smooth finish. Nice!

20130728_154320


John Hinds – New Zealand
Here’s a lovely oven from the other side of the earth (well, to me anyway!). John has used a few different techniques during construction. I’ll let him explain:

“For longevity, we did decide to cover it with a cement render but living on an island where many houses have been made out of mudbrick, plenty of builders were happy to share knowledge. We did the three layers of clay and straw, but before we put on the cement render, I got a large pile of straw and mixed it with a very a runny clay slip. This was put all over the oven and then covered in chicken wire to hold it in place. The cement render was then laid on top so when the oven expands with the heat, the straw allows this expansion without cracking the render. We also put in a colour into the cement so now fits into the garden better.”

How cool is that? An oven, i’m sure you’ll agree, that would not be out of place in Bag End! Thanks for sharing John. Here’s some piccies.


Fraser Petrie – Aboyne, Aberdeenshire, Scotland
Fraser has built a beautiful oven using local materials and with a few interesting adaptions. I am amazed by the dry stone plinth which must be about 7feet high? Fixing the chimney in place with chicken wire is also a great idea. Here’s to some fine weather in which to enjoy the pizzas!


Tom Goode – Scarborough, UK
With a name like Goode I think it was inevitable that Tom would one day build an oven (it’ll be a small holding and giving up the day job next Tom!). Tom says he would like to build another now. Go on – why not?!

Tom 1

Tom 2


Salvatore Michael – Tampa, florida
I love this oven! Salvatore has designed it to look like the mythical, octopus headed monster, Cthulhu – any why not! H. P. Lovecraft would have been proud. Great work Salvatore and thanks for sharing.

kthulu


David Levin – Cape Town, SA
David Wrote: I Am a student at the University of Cape Town studying mechanical engineering. I spontaneously decided to build a pizza oven in the June/July Winter holidays, I came across your E-book, and I recruited some friends to help me follow your steps to build a pizza oven in my front yard. I had a pizza evening the other night and I thought I’d write to you to show my appreciation.

A couple of comments about my pizza oven:
· I made some design alterations. As I have a small yard with little greenery, I didn’t want to destroy all the greenery I had and take up all the space, I made a corner model. This worked really nicely.

· My pizza oven is significantly larger than your specs, just so that I would not have to make 1 pizza at a time.

· I used rosso clay mixed with sand. As it was winter, the first layer took 2 weeks to dry completely. This difference in the time that was expected caused the pizza oven to collapse a couple of times.

· I found that with a flue, the oven gets hotter and water wont seep through hole.

· Without a waterproof paint, the clay literally melts with the introduction of water!

· There was a lot of trial and error and my house was a construction site for 4 months. One needs to be resilient and learn from mistakes, and just keep reconstructing!!

Another important thing that I learnt was that the bottom (edges) of the first layer was not completely dry before applying the insulation layer while the top was rock solid and 100% dry from the fire inside. Eventually the oven collapsed and we were under budget, so we rehydrated the rock solid clay as the clay/sand mixture to be put on the new sand former on the second attempt. We were hesitant to do this as we didn’t know if rehydrating the hardened clay would be a success!! Thank god it held strong and conducted heat!!
The whole project cost R2700 (£190) with paint.



John Francis – Russell Springs, Kentucky, USA
John said: “Kimberly’s vineyard, and berry patch are in the background. In it’s maiden voyage last night it got so hot that we toasted marshmallows over the chimney! For the thermal layer, we used hay stubble and clay slip, rather than wood.

Thanks for the photo John. Enjoy!

Kimberly’s vineyard, and berry patch are in the background!


Oscar de Bruijn – Manchester, UK

A very neat oven by Oscar who, incidentally, built the brick arch first. That’s the second time I have seen this done lately. Nice work Oscar, thanks for sharing.

Oscar’s Oven in Manchester, England.


Jim Harrison – Northumberland, UK

Examples of awesome ovens are coming thing and fast recently. This oven by Jim Harrison is no exception! It’s a work of art (literally) – just look at that chimney. Here’s what Jim said about his oven:

The oven was quickly nicknamed George, after George Stephenson the great Industrialist and the most famous person from this region. Well I suppose I could have called it Gazza as he was full of steam and smoke most of the time too.

Best Regards and thanks again for a very informative blog.

Here’s the photos folks and a link to a video showing the build progress.

Thanks for sharing Jim!


Jim Allen – Oxfordshire, UK

Another cracking example (no pun intended!) here from Jim who came on one of my courses earlier this year. Look at that plinth made from local Cotswold stone – amazing! Jim tells me he made pizzas for a large party of friends on the oven’s inaugural firing. He intends to fill that crack soon so it’ll be just perfect again. Nice work Jim.

Jim's Oven

A lovely oven with a gorgeous, natural stone plinth.


Jeanette’s Oven, Washington State, USA

Jeanette Harris – Washington State, USA

Jeanette wrote:

“I started building the plinth last September. Finished it right before winter started. Took most of the winter to “collect” empty wine bottles for the floor insulation.

We live on the west coast of the United States in Washington State on the slopes of Mt. Rainier. All this means our geography is much like yours in England except we are farther north….AND a lot of rain. (notice the blue canopy).

About a month ago I restarted construction. You can see how big it is. The interior of the oven is 36 inches wide and 44 inches deep. The dome is 17 inches high and the inside door is 15 inches wide. I started the first small drying fires 10 days ago and the first VERY HOT fire last Sunday. The oven floor eventually got to 900 degrees! It’s also going to have a fire place/grill to the left of the oven. I’m going to face the cement blocks with my own hand made tiles and I’m making a terracotta stovepipe for it. We (eventually) will build a structure for it to protect it and us from our winter rains.
For the 4th of July I made a beer can chicken and roasted onions and garlic.

I downloaded and used your book along with Kiko Denzer’s book. Between the two of them I could not fail!
Thanks for all the help!

Our plan it to make this the “community oven” for all our neighbors. It certainly is big enough”


A very neat and tidy example from Dave Slater in Belmont, Surrey, UK. I love the brick arch and the chimney.

Meet ‘Smokey Joe’ all the way from Brisbane, Australia. Builder (and owner) Ben Cramp told me he used “4 bags of powdered clay and about 8 bags of sand”. I noticed that Smokey Joe has no chimney but seems to fire just fine.

Lesley, Pas de Calais, has added some amazing bling to her oven. Pretty eh?

Adam Lofting’s Oven built in France – very nice!

Chef Clay G’s Oven in Nashville, Tennessee. What a beauty!

Jan Adámek’s Stunning Oven in Czech Republic

Geoff's Oven

Geoff’s Oven, Queensland, Australia.

Clay Pizza Oven

Lisbeth and the Family Schillig’s Oven in Tønder, Denmark. I love the log store below.

Luke's Oven

Luke’s Oven, Northamptonshire, UK.

Urban Oven

A variation on the theme “made from scrap steel and local clay, steel fire box under the oven”, Bolton, UK.

Clay Pizza Oven

What a neat little oven this is from Tony in Plymouth, UK. Great work.

Clay Oven

Chris’ Clay Oven, near Ashover in Derbyshire, UK – Perfection!

An update from Chris (see above). A roof , chimney and door added. Love it!

Merry’s Oven (with Dragon!) – Devon, UK.

Linda Gibbons from Oklahoma (where the wind comes sweeping down the plain!) has built this wonderful oven.

Another fantastic example built by Adam in Cleveland, Ohio.

26 thoughts on “Your Ovens

  1. Pingback: Een klei-oven en “pottery” maken » Mijn Liefde Voor De Natuur

  2. Pingback: Long Time No See! | The Clay Oven

  3. It is with ironic sadness I am reporting that after almost two years of constant use and the heaviest rainy season in thirteen years, that the Cthulhu oven will be sacrificed for the betterment of the family he is serving right now. He will be destroyed with my very own Hammer of Sledge. My the last few meals prepared within be worthy of song.

  4. Hi I spent a couple of weekends building a clay oven in July, I came across some bricks and clay while digging in the garden and with help and instruction from your fantastic website I built George (Stephenson). I chose an unorthodox method of building the arch first and a course of bricks to form the diameter.
    Although it isn’t quite finished we are using it at every opportunity. you can view some pics on youtube. http://youtu.be/sxMiqQzagBc

  5. Hi Simon,
    A very inspiring blog you have here, I made my oven from mostly recycled material, an oil drum and a night storage heater.
    I love cooking on it, it’s such a wonderful way to cook.
    Cheers
    Marcus

  6. i’ve just finished my oven, now on the trial and error on how long it takes to get up to temp…. i’ve found charcoal heats the oven up much better as the wood i have burns far to quickly. it’s my birthday this weekend – the perfect excusr for the first pizza. any tips on quick cooking pizza dough?
    rick

    • This is a great dough which I use regularly. Make it 2 days in advance and the resulting fermentation will give it an amazing flavor. The dough must have a significant resting period to allow the glutens to relax. This will prevent your dough from snapping back into shape when it’s time to make the pizza. The result will be a very thin, quick cooking crust with the perfect crunch on the bottom.

      Makes 1 pound dough

      Ingredients
      1. 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons warm water
      2. 1 envelope active dry yeast (2 ¼ t)
      3. 1 teaspoon sugar (or honey)
      4. 2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
      5. 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
      6. Extra-virgin olive oil
      7. Corn meal or semolina flour for dusting

      Directions
      1. In a small bowl mix the 2 tablespoons of warm (not hot) water with half the sugar and the yeast. Allow 5-10 minutes to bloom. Mixture will be ready when foamy. The older the yeast the longer it takes.
      2. In an electric mixing bowl (KitchenAid or similar), mix the water, remaining sugar, bloomed yeast mixture, 2 cups of AP flour and the salt and mix until a raggy dough forms. Scrape the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and thoroughly knead until smooth and elastic, at least 5 minutes.
      3. Lightly oil the bowl and return the dough to it; turn the dough to coat it with oil. Cover with plastic wrap and let stand in a warm spot (like on top of a warm oven) until doubled in bulk, about 1 1/2 hours. Punch down the dough and allow it to fully rise again then divide it into 3-4 balls. Place each ball into individual plastic baggies large enough to allow for more rising and refrigerate for 2 days.
      4. VERY IMPORTANT: Get your dough out of the refrigerator 4 or 5 hours before rolling/cooking an allow to come to room temperature.
      5. Once your pizza dough is ready to be topped-use the semolina or corn meal on your work surface so the peel can easily slide under or build the pizza on the peel itself.

      Chow,
      CG

  7. can anyone advise as to what type of clay to use or mixture? Theres no local source of dig your own around here! (lancaster). Been searching for two days & non the wiser.

    • I got my clay in 12.5kg bags, and found a puddling ratio of 12.5 kg clay to one sack of sand (usually 25 kg) worked well.
      you will find, as per chapter 3 (puddling) that the guide to consistency is a fairly good guide. if you inspect the mix you will also be able to see any areas of sand that are not ‘puddled’. its definitely trial and error, with a bonus that you can always add in some extra sand / clay / water to perfect the mix.
      As a tip when building, i would keep any left over mix in an airtight bag, so you have some repair mix to hand once the drying out cracks appear.

      have fun.

      • Hi tony, I’m located in Plymouth and also venturing on my first oven. What supplier did you use for the clay? Any help and advice be much apperciated!

  8. Simon.
    After a friend of mine introduced me to your blog we decided on a joint venture, to save on clay delivery. I’ve attached a few photos of the finished oven, and hopefully a link to a little you-tube movie of the oven build.

    so far its cooked divine pizzas, (2:30s per pizza, 12 pizzas in one evening) beercan chicken, and your own Moroccan lamb (sort of, lamb shanks coated in a mix of natural yoghurt and tesco “ras al hanout” rub) and its been a fantastic success.
    The base was made from railway sleepers, and i added a layer of bottles to insulate the base.
    The oven has a 60cm diameter internal, 40cm high which gives a 25cm (63% of overall height) high opening, which is 30cm wide, just enough to get 2 medium chickens in, stood on there beer cans, along with a couple of shanks, and baking spuds.

    thanks for the guide, and happy cooking.

    tony

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