In 2006 I built a traditional brick pizza oven.
As you can see from the pictures, I started the project when the weather was still cold and finished it when it was getting warm. The whole thing took about two months. We cook all kinds of food in the oven and it makes for a great party.
Click on slideshow below
The finished project – wood fired oven and barbecue area. We poured a cantilevered hearth slab out of refractory concrete. Under the slab is 3 or 4 inches of vermiculite mixed with portland cement for insulation. This is the actual cooking surface. These bricks are heavy and dense and are designed to hold the heat. Each brick weighs almost 8 pounds! The hearth must be perfectly level and flush, otherwise it will be hard to get food on and off without catching on the edges of the bricks. The hole is an ash drop slot. I put rebar in it so you can place a brick in when you are not cleaning out the ash. The outer hearth is made from regular bricks. Before this project I had never layed a brick in my life. The arch of the dome is constructed on a plywood form. By the last of the 3 arches I was starting to get the hand of making a good arch. Alex helped me to do some figuring on the day that I cut the bricks that angle from the dome to the angle iron of the door. After the dome is complete, it is covered in a thick coating of concrete “cladding” that acts as a heat sink. Here I had just mixed and poured about 15 batches of concrete by hand and climbed up with bucketfulls to pour it in the forms. Over the concrete cladding there needs to be quite a bit of vermiculite insulation. I saved room by using durock and metal studs instead of cinderblocks for the side walls. The chimney took a few tries to get started right with a large enough opening. On the first try I made it behind the arch but it was too narrow, so I redid it above the front arch. Even before the exterior is complete but when the concrete is fully dry you can start making small fires to cure it. It is weeks before you can make a raging fire without damaging the new oven. The chimney did not draw well enough becasue of its proximity to my roof so I had to add another few feet. I hand made some tiles in my kiln to decorate the front of the oven. Even the very first pizza was very good and cooked in less than two minutes. The oven is also great for bread, meats, sausages, roasted vegetables and anything else you can grill or roast.