Building My Wood Fired Oven

Earth wood fired ovenOver the last few months I have been building a wood fired oven in my backyard.  Wood fired ovens have become quite trendy over the last few years and they are starting to show up all over the place, from custom bespoke ones to “off the shelf” ones from the local hardware store.  I suppose they all work, probably very well.  But mine is different.  I built it myself.

Not only did I build it myself, but so far it has cost me less than $150, and (if you ask me) it looks the bees knees.  The secret to building my wood fired oven is that it is made from cob or adobe (depending on which part of the world you are from).

We recently did some work putting in retaining walls which involved some excavation.  From this we had a pile of subsoil that I earmarked for building the oven.  Several years ago I got “Building with Cob” for Christmas by Adam Weismann and Katy Bryce.  In it they describe how (not suprisingly) to build with cob.

Basically cob is subsoil that has about 25% of clay in it.  Too much clay and it will crack too much when you build.  Too little and the mix won’t bind together and your structure will fall apart.  In the book they describe how to do a soil test.  Thankfully my subsoil came out pretty much right, so all I had to add was straw when I mixed it.  (Straw acts as a re-inforcer in the mix, like steel bars in concrete).

Over the coming weeks I’ll talk more about the building of my oven, and eventually I want to release a video on how I did it.  But for now, let me know, have you build anything like this?  What guides did you use, and was it a success?

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