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A Simple Clay Brick Oven

Updated on August 31, 2014

A Simple Clay Oven

A perfect example of a simple clay oven.
A perfect example of a simple clay oven. | Source

Just Clay Bricks, Steel, And Fire

Building a pizza oven does not have to take up all of your free time, and you don't need much space in your garden either. Learn how to build a simple dry stacked pizza oven out of clay bricks some angle steel or flat steel and a fire.

Here is the lowdown on building a real quick oven that can be easily dismantled after use. The simple truth is that even though everyone loves pizza, especially wood fired pizza, they do not necessarily want to build a large cumbersome sculpture of an oven in their garden.

I have one in my garden, but sometimes I really do think that it is a little too large.

The design that I hope to successfully explain to you below is the design that I take camping when we go. That is not very often.... Not often enough, in fact....



Learn From Lego How To Dry Stack Clay Bricks

Stacking clay bricks is a simple task. You just take a brick and place it wherever you need it to go, then simply just repeat the process over and over. That process is one of the main reasons why lego is so popular as a medium for designers when they are designing four sided geometrical shapes.

I love lego and use lego often. I played with lego day in and day out when I was a kid and I still play with lego now. My kids love lego, too.

A Dry Stacked Clay Brick Oven


Clay Bricks, Steel, And Fire

So, if you can understand that most bricks made before the turn of the century were made from clay. Clay was one of the most widely used building materials in the world during the centuries prior to the 19th and 20th centuries that we know.

Clay is very easy to work with and it can be molded in to whatever shape you so desire. For the purpose of this tutorial, I want you to understand that if you are going to be using bricks and fire, you MUST be absolutely certain that the bricks do not contain Portland cement. Portland cement is explosive when exposed to high temperatures and you don't want to be rushed to the emergency ward of your nearest hospital with half of you face missing because you set fire to cementacious bricks.

The best bricks to use are really, really, really old ones. Old clay bricks are a dime a dozen at recycle yards, however they cost much more if you buy them at a garden or home center. Any bricks that you can find that have an SK inscribed in to them are perfect for making fire pits and ovens. The SK rating means that the bricks are made from fire resistant clay and or alumina cement. Alumina cement is fire resistant cement.

Planning Your Clay Brick Oven Build

The image above of the dry stacked clay brick oven that I found on the website is super easy to make. All you need is about 100 clay bricks of a fairly uniform size. Meaning that they need to be almost the same length and width.

Stacking them is simple. If you don't yet have a location picked out, I suggest that you suss out your garden to see where a suitable location is. Remember that fire shouldn't be close to your house. Too close is any distance less that 3 meters.

If you have a set of saw horses and some cement sheeting or durock board you can use them to make a base that is raised up off the ground. If you don't, then you can build your oven directly on the dirt ground or on a concrete pad or patio.

Clean all of your bricks by knocking off any dags if you are using old bricks. Dags are small pieces of mortar that may still be stuck to the bricks. The term 'dags' (Australian Slang) also refers to the poop that sticks to a young lambs tail while they still have it and part of the reason why lambs tails are lopped off.

Buy new bricks then there is no need to clean.

Building Your Super Simple Clay Brick Oven

Start with the floor and stack the bricks side by side, end to end. The floor needs to be 6 bricks wide by 4 deep, 24 bricks in total. This configuration will give you a floor area of roughly 63cm by 84cm based on the fact that an old clay brick is 10.5 cm (105mm) wide by 21cm (210mm) in length.

On top of the base you will need to stack the side wall bricks and the back wall bricks soldier style. Soldier style means that the end of the brick is pointing down and has become the base or foot of the brick. Coming back to the fact that the base is 84cm from front to back, you will need 8 bricks per side and 6 bricks across the back to make a rectangular enclosure big enough to make a fire and bake a pizza. So far you will have used 24 + 6 + 8 + 8 (46bricks)

Angle Iron

Angle iron is L shaped, it is also perfect for the ceiling of your clay brick oven. For this oven you will need 8 pieces of angle iron. Each piece needs to be as wide as the oven. Two pieces of angle iron will provide a bed that you can easily stack the ceiling bricks on and you can sleep safely at night knowing that they will not fall on top of your pizza while your pizza is cooking. The ceiling will be two bricks thick, so you will use nearly all of the remaining bricks to make the ceiling. The floor contains 24 bricks, therefore the ceiling will require 48 bricks.

Special note:- You don't have to make the ceiling 2 layers thick. It is okay to make it a single layer. However, this type of oven relies on stored heat and reflective heat to bake whatever is put inside of it to cook. With a single layer, much of the heat that goes in to the brick will be lost through cracks and a good portion of heat will pass directly through the brick. In one side and out the other. An additional layer acts like a buffer. The heat will still pass through the second layer of bricks, it WILL take quite a bit longer to do so, though.

Another added benefit of having more retained heat and an added extra buffer is that you will need to burn much less firewood to cook the same amount of food.

Recycled Clay Brick Oven


The Finished Masterpiece

If you have done everything correctly, you will have an oven that looks something like the oven that Eric from garden fork made. The picture is to the right of this text. Quite possibly below this text if you are reading this on an android smartphone or something similar.

The oven that Eric built has a single layered ceiling but I am sure that he was still able to produce a palatable pizza. I sincerely hope that you can, too.


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