Posts Tagged earth oven

Another Pizza Oven Build

Last year at the bushmoot I was intending to build an earth pizza oven.  As the area is built on sand dunes, sand was not going to be a problem.  Clay on the other hand was.  I ended up walking to the river, digging and finding… sand!  So this time I came prepared with some readily dug clay and some from a local potter.



We dug in a load of sand from literally next to the tarp.  Two young girls did most of the work, the rest of us mucked in only when the camera was showing!



For the base, we used wooden logs – these were chopped from a timber pile.  About 3ft long, they were notched so they wouldn’t roll.  We used a tarp to stop the sand running through the bottles onto the floor.  We laid bottles, then tucked the tarp over the bottles and layered sand over the tarp to both hold it in place and give us a firm bed for the fire bricks.  We then built the sand form over the top.



Sand form getting there.  All done with eye.



Layered a copy of the metro over the top and wetted ready for the oven clay mix.




Clay being built up around the form.  This was done quite quickly and inside you could see the cracks where it wasn’t bonded quite as well as it could be.



Smack the finished dome with a big stick.



Straw dipped in clay slip and layered on.  Door is cut.



Add another layer of clay with added straw for stability over the top – just a thin layer.



Add decoration and immediately light!



Used an arrow as a blow pipe




The front did dip a little, but still worked fine :)




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Oddly my shed roof had lost its roofing material.  It could have been all these winds, but based on the fact it was ripped to shreds by lots of sharp claws, I’m guessing it has something to do with the four legged creatures in the house using it to get on the roof.  Perhaps I need to use something tougher.



There was enough felt left over to do the roof of the pizza oven.  I’m worried because I don’t think the lime render is sticking very well at the moment has developed a lot of cracks – this may be due to the damp seeping in.   Hopefully this’ll have sorted that problem out now!

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Pizza oven whitewash



Had a chance to put on a couple of layers of lime white wash over the dome.  I’m really very surprised it came out so white as the first application was pretty much see-through.  The 2nd application was less of a surprise (Even though it too was see-through) but I was pleased at quite how white it’s come out.  Now just waiting for a free weekend for Tiff to come back and paint him!

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Lime render


Tiff came over to do the artwork on the lime render. It was a shame we lost so much with the lime render covering the mud render, but I think it looks just as good if not better! Now chunks of the egg rise out of the dome.

I also got a chance to render the base. It’ll look a lot better when white washed and painted!

The lime render should keep the water off and allow the water vapour inside to permeate and escape minimising the risk of the dome collapsing.

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Earth oven version 2

Three days of digging, sand shuffling and sculpting is done. Read more to see the results!

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Clay bake

After about 2hrs in the oven at 50’C they’re starting to dry. You can see that the 100% clay has already started to crack badly.

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Further clay experiments


How do you know you’ve got the best wife ever? Well, when you come home, eat dinner and then announce “I need to go into the garden and make mud bricks!” rather than putting your son to bed. She calmly accepts this and even let’s you bake them gently in the oven.

I’ve made a 100% clay brick, 50%, 45%, 42.5%, 40%, 35%, 30% & 25%. Mixed it thoroughly. Read more for the calculations

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Clay content


Determining your clay content is fairly simple, all you need is a pickle jar or similar, some clay and some water!

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Death to the pizza oven, long live the pizza oven


All good things come to an end, and with a bank holiday coming up I fancied rebuilding the oven with better insulation etc.
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Bread in the pizza oven

Admittedly I accidentally made the dough according to the wrong instructions – it was supposed to be pizza dough.

The pizza was as excellent as it usually is and I took the chance to try my laser thermometer from Maplins. Unfortunately it turns out it only goes to 370’C. My oven is substantially hotter!

Anyway, it was taking twice as long to cook a pizza, which generally means I’ve finished. But this time we tried throwing in the accidentally made dough.


In 25 minutes we had a lovely loaf!




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