Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Entryway Form

Neighbor John built this entryway form out of plywood and sheet aluminum. This will support the entryway as it dries.

Prepping the Opening

We added nails in the soft clay around the doorway to help support the entryway we were about to mold.

The Second Layer

Here you see the second layer completed. This layer of clay was mixed with wild rice hulls for strength. This was done on the same day as the first layer. The doorway has been sketched out.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

First Layer Done

Just one more layer to go-whew!

Almost There

First layer almost complete.

Starting the First Clay Layer

I was able to acquire the clay from my friend JD. He gets it from a local granite quarry as waste product. We would shovel the clay on a tarp and mix with water. Then it's time to get in there with your feet ala wine making and get mixed it up. We would form a softball size ball and place it around the sand form and do one layer at a time.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

OK, One Last Step With the Form...

We added wet newspaper over the sand form, so when we eventually dig out the sand from the complete clay structure, the sand wont stick to the clay. Next we start the first layer of clay.

Form is Done

We mixed sand and water in a wheel barrow so the sand would stick nicely. Here you see the completed form.

Sand Form

I used some old ice cream buckets to take up space for the sand form so I wouldn't need to get so much sand. Here you see the buckets in place and we're ready to begin forming the mound of sand which will become the inside of the oven.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Base is Done!

Here you see all of the top pavers in place, and the hearth is laid out with fire brick. We actually added more bricks for the hearth than you see here as we wanted a larger baking surface. One was added for the entry way and two more on each of the remaining sides. 28 total. At this point, including the slab, base and fire brick I have around $200 in the project.

Placement of Top Slabs

First top slab in place. Again, these are 2' x 2' concrete pavers. Set in place with construction adhesive.

Bricks in Place

Here you see all of the bricks are placed, ready for the base slabs to be laid on top.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

The Base

For the base I followed my friend JD's design and used concrete block. They are joined together with construction adhesive (it's stronger than you think), this way if I ever have to remove the oven it will be easier. The column of bricks in the center will support the four 2' x 2' slabs that will form the surface for the hearth. This photo shows the first row of bricks glued to the slab, with bricks used for weight to achieve a good bond.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Step One: Foundation

Note: Nothing during the process of building my oven is set in stone. There are many different ways to approach this project and the steps I have taken may not work for your situation. A very good resource to dig into is "Build Your Own Earth Oven" by Kiko Denzer.
I decided to erect by base on a concrete slab. We made a form from used 2x4 lumber(thanks Zahns!) and dug out a spot in the ground. My foundation is 4' x 4'. We mixed the concrete in a wheel barrow where we added a couple of bags at a time to make it easier to work with.
Next we'll move on to the base.

Adding cement to the slab form. Note rebar for strength.

The slab is poured and smoothed.

Monday, September 7, 2009


Welcome to the first entry of Wood Fired Journal. You will learn along with me as I journey through the world of baking in a outdoor clay wood fired oven.
I have had a little experience baking artisan bread in my kitchen oven, but I have longed for baking in a wood fired oven ever since I tasted the beautiful loaves and pizzas from my friend JD's cob oven. I admit I am very "green", but we will learn together.
First up will be a step by step overview of how to build your own oven. Later we will explore techniques and recipes.
Please note that much of the credit for the design of this oven goes to my friend JD Jorgenson. JD was a great help with the planning of my oven as well as donating materials to my project. JD answered my relentless questions with patience and I can't thank him enough. More thanks goes to my neighbor Greg who after possibly too many craft brews convinced me we could do it. Others in the neighborhood pitched in with gusto-a big thanks to all of you!
Let's get started shall we...