Render & Paint Pizza Oven

May 17th, 2009

The following images show the finishing touches to make the oven look nice. First I rendered the outside in a “Rustic” way, this means I cant render very well 🙂 I used 5 parts sharp sand + i part cement.

Render 1

Reclaimed Chimney Pots

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Here you can see my “Rustic Effect”

Rustic render

My son just needs to finish the job he started of painting the oven!

Back View

Location of oven – To the left is last years project to build the Gazebo and BBQ, or bus shelter as it has been called.


Bit messy but here is the BBQ I also built.


Insulating the Pizza Oven

May 17th, 2009

The big concrete bulk now needs to be covered in a 4-8 inch layer of softcrete which will insulate the oven.  The pictures below show me doing this.

Preperation 1

These pictues show the wire frame I covered the oven with. These will help the soft crete to bond with the oven and provide some strength.

Wire support

All the way around the oven

All the way around the oven

This is what you need to buy in the UK, its called Micafill, costs around £7 per 100ltr bag from building centres. I needed 6 bags total for this project.


Insulation Material

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The pictures below show the pouring of the soft crete around the wire frame.


Side view

The top is starting to take shape

Top View

Notice I have put a lot of insulation on the top, as heat rises this area needs the most insulation, I have around 8 inches.


Here is the rear view showing the finished insulation, now waiting to be rendered.


And the view from the side.

Side view

Wood Fired Oven – Concrete Cracks !

October 1st, 2008

Ok so when I first made a decent size fire, I was initially concerned to see a hire line crack appear in 3 areas of the concrete roof. But these are perfectly natural, when concrete heats it naturally expands, once the cracks are formed my oven expands and contracts in the same way each time I use it. Once the oven is covered in insulating concrete this small hire line crack will not even be seen.


From the research I have done, you have a problem if smoke comes from any of your cracks, or if the cracks weaken the structure of the oven in any way.


In general the comments seem to indicate that all wood fired ovens have cracks and this is perfectly normal.

Wood Fired Pizza Oven wont cook !

October 1st, 2008

After spending most of the summer building my oven, I was a bit disappointed to find that after my initial small curing fires, my first attempt to cook pizza failed.


I checked my measurements and all seemed OK, my door was 62% of the height of the cooking chamber, and the fire seemed to burn well.


I decided to make the cooking chamber a bit smaller than the 3foot x 3foot initial design, I lined the inside with a layer of bricks, I also put another layer on the floor.


I also though that the fire I built may not have been hot enough, and that my door opening could be too wide.


I addressed all of these issues in one go, to see if the oven would get hot enough, so I raised the floor, which made the door height smaller than the recommended 62%, I also made the opening narrower.


I also got hold of some decent size logs to burn in the oven.


The fire was a little more difficult to get going as the smoke filled more of the chamber which chocked the flames, however once it was going all was fine.


The walls are now around 1 foot wide, and the floor 1 foot deep, the oven takes 3 hours to get up to temperature.


Once the flames died down and I pushed a nice big pile of embers to either side to expose a nice big cooking area I placed the 1st pizza in and it cooked in around 3 minutes! Success !


I cooked just 4 pizza’s this time and they all cooked OK, I put my thick wooded door on to cook the last 2.


When I went to the oven in the morning to clean it out, around 12 hours later, the oven was still warm on the inside. Not warm enough to cook, but defiantly warmer than the outside. I was quite pleased with this as I have not insulated the oven yet.


So far this is what I know about the ovens performance.


Heat up time 3 hours – After 3 hours of good size fire I could not keep my hands on top of exposed concrete for longer than 10 seconds or so.


Time to cook pizza – 2-3 minutes.


Heat storing properties – As the walls, floor and roof are very thick, the oven is still warm after 12 hours, this is without insulation.


Build Chimney

September 6th, 2008

The pictures show the process to build the chimney and front arch.

Chimney 1

Chimnet 2

Chimney starting to take shape with front arch.


Chimney from rear

Chimney from rear



Starting to look like a pizza oven now

Pizza Oven

Side view

Cleaning Brick work

Cleaning Brick work

1st small drying fire

Small Fire

Reclaimed Chimney Pots

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Pizza Oven Barrel Roof

September 6th, 2008

The pictures below show the finshed barrel roof with the concrete side walls, also the concrete layer poured over the top of the brick dome.

Concrete Side walls


Concrete Side wall

Brick oven roof complete, and starting to dry out.

Brick complete

Side View

The wooden former to hold the concrete.

Concrete Former

Foil and Steel rods in place to give th eroof extra strength.


Concrete poured, and made into shape with float

Roof poured

After 1 day I removed the wood to reveal the finshed concrete roof.

Set roof


Top Arch

September 6th, 2008

The pictures show how the top arch is created, also concrete cladding to assist heat storage.

all four sides of the oven are now in place.

Back in Place

1st Arch of oven roof

1st Arch of oven roof


Arch with concret

Wood Fired Pizza Oven Brick Floor

August 7th, 2008

So now we need to add extra heat absorbing material to the concrete floor, fire bricks are recommended but due to cost I decided to use clay bricks and terracotta tiles. The bricks are filled with a fireclay mix.

Oven floor ready to start, notice the cut out at the front, this is important as it provides an airflow over the front and up the chimney.

Ready to start

I used some spare cut bricks to build up over inside of the arch, I used bricks with holes in them so that air can get to the front of the oven.


Clay bricks

Start to lay clay bricks

Look it must be strong if I can stand on it!

More floor

Its even level!

Its even level

Now fill up with fireclay/sand/concrete mix




I then layed my tiles on to this mix.

Floor tiles


The whol oven floor is around 7 inch’s deep, which provides a large heat retaining mass for cooking in the oven for a long time after the fire is out.

Tech Details

Cheap Clay bricks 10p each!

Cheap Tiles

Fireclay/Sand/High Alumina content cement.


This part took around two hours.


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Concrete Former

August 7th, 2008

I decided mainly due to cost to make the walls out of refractory concrete mix, so I made some wooden formers (Molds) to pour the concrete in. I made two formers, one for front and back and one for the sides. After the first side which was cast in one length I decided to split into two as it was quite heavy to lift. The front and back are the same except that the front has extra wood to make the hole where pizza’s needs to go!

Small side

Reinforcing steel mesh for the walls (Rebar)



Front ready to pour

Pizza oven front



This mix of concrete took lots of experimentation to get right, the down side of this heat resistant concrete mix is that it starts to harden straight away. It is solid within an hour, so you need to work very quick with it, I recommend you have some help. so that one person can mix, while the other tampers doen the mix into the former.

 Trying out for size!

does it fit

Tech Details

Wooded formers, made from 2×2

Refractory concrete, with high alumina content to resist heat. Exact details available on my DVD.

Oven Floor Concrete Structure

August 7th, 2008

After the insulating soft concrete has set and you have removed the wood former, it is time to pour the strucual concrete with steel mesh that will support and provide heat storage for the oven floor.

Finished Softcrete, ready to start next phase

Finished softcrete


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Start to pour

Start to pour concrete oven floor

I am using the bricks as part of the mold for the concrete, I decided to not leave any expansion room for the floor. You could add a bit of wood all the way around then remove when done, this will allow for the wood fired oven floor to expand a little.

Half filled I now place steel mesh to reinforce the concrete

Steel Mesh

Almost done

Oven floor

Once done the supporting structure of the floor is 5 inch’s deep, which provides lots of strength and a large capacity to store heat.

Finished concrete

All poured now just wait a couple of days for concrete to set.

Once set remove the supports and wood from underneath.

Rech Details

This is normal concrete mix 5:1:1 (Ballast, Portland Cement and Lime)

Effort – It took one person 2 hours to mix and pour this concrete.

Oven Floor

July 18th, 2008

The following pictures show the stages in making the oven floor, this is made of insulating concrete and nomal concrete.

Supporting frame


On top of this frame I cut in a bit of wood to support the concrete mix.

The picture below shows another wooden frame which I will fill with insulating concrete mix, which will help keep the heat in. I used the bricks to hold the wood in place as this mix is light they dont need screwing together.


Another view, you can also see the steel mesh to give this concrete mix strength and bond with the next layer of concrete.

Another view

First bucker load of insulating light concrete mix

Starting to fill

Reinforcing Bar (Rebar)

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Concrete spread out.

Top mix, still insulating but not so much as the bottom mix.

Top coat


Once the mix was in I left this for a day to dry fully.

Remove the wooden frame once dry, you are now ready for the structual concrete mix which will support the oven.

Insulation Material

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Effort – This part of the project took around an hour.

Front lower Brick Arch

July 17th, 2008

This part is completely optional and mainly just for making the front of the construction looking nice. I think its worth the effort, as it adds a nice entrance to the storage spare under the oven for wood.

I made a template our of wood to support the brick arch while it is constructed and dries.

Wooden Template for Arch

Arch in place supported on loose bricks, ready to start.

Ready to start

Lay bricks following the curve of the template you made.

First couple of brick are layed

All bricks laid for arch.


Wooden template removed, you can see I have started to fill the front with cut bricks to make the wall. I cut bricks with angle grinder and stone cutting wheel.

Template removed

Almost bricked up

Bricks layed and cleaned up, I also cut a small bit of brick to make the middle a bit more attractive where bricks did not line up. You may of course be more acurate then me!

Nearly done

View of front


View from back

Back of arch



Top Layer of Bricks

July 16th, 2008

I decided to use a layer of bricks two courses high to shutter the concrete oven floor. I thought this would look nice from the outside when the oven is finished.

View 1

Once the arch is built this will retain the concrete that is needed for the wood stoor roof / oven floor.

View from other side

Another view

View 3

This was a simple job, just two layers of bricks approx 40 bricks.

Effort this took 1 person 2 hours (I am a very slow brickie!)

Supporting Concrete Brick Wall

July 15th, 2008

The picture shows the layout of the concrete blocks, I decided on 4x3x4 and 4 rows high total of 40 blocks. I layed the first two rows down, checked with spirit level and squares to make sure the corners are at 90 degrees.

Once I had the first two rows ready I mixed the concrete and poured it into the hollows, tamping it down as I went with a bit of wood.

Brick wall 1

Another view of two layers

Another view of two layers

Tip – Any small stones / rubble can be hidden inside the wall, as long as the concrete can get all around it, it will remain strong.

Another view of two layers

cement mixer

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Pouring concrete

Pouring concrete

Concrete wall at 4 rows high (Note to self – Make sure washing is down before taking pictures!)

Wall at 4 rows high

Finished wall filled with concrete.

Finished Wall

Tech Details

Wall = 40 x 9″ Hollow dense concrete blocks (They are heavy I could only lift one at a time!)

Concrete Filling = 6:1 Plus water Sand/ballast + standard Portland cement


This took one person 2 hours.

Concrete foundation slab.

July 14th, 2008

I decided to build my oven on a 6 foot square concrete foundation. The slab has reinforcing steel mesh imbedded into the concrete for added strength. The slab is 4-6 inch’s deep, which should be thick enough to support the weight. In theory the slab should be thicker, I went for 6 inch as I hit hard ground very quickly, plus I used some hardcore rubble impacted into the ground for a solid linning for the concrete to sit on.

Location of Pizza Oven

Pizza Oven location

Another View of the base

View 2 of concrete base

Base view from other side

base location

Mixing concrete is fun, but its good to have help, thanks Les!

cement mixer

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Help mixing concrete

Base is now filled half way with concrete, you can see I have placed the mesh on top.

Concrete with steel mesh

More concrete….

More concrete

Reinforcing Bar (Rebar)

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Concrete poured and finished. You can see the wood that we used to tap down the wet concrete.

Base done

OK here it is the dried concrete slab 1 week later after I removed the wood shuttering.

Finished and dry concrete base

The total time spent for two people to get to this stage was 6 hours, we are not professionals! I work during the week so can only do this at the weekend. I removed the shuttering one week after finishing the slab. It could probably come off and progress to next stage after 3 days.

Tech details

Concrete Mix = Sand + Ballast & Blue Circle Portland Cement 6:1 plus water

10mm rebar mesh, Bought 3×2 metre

 Effort = 2 people 6 hours (This included wheeling tone of sand + ballast from front of house to the back)