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Wood Fired Oven Plans
My WFO in Black and White
My Wood Fired Oven
I have a wood fired oven, I built it myself without any knowledge of how to build anything at all using masonry materials. After all, I am a baker 'NOT' a builder. So, there you have it - my reason for wanting a wood fired oven is related to my love for bread and everything related to bread and flour. If only I could build my oven out of dough was a thought that entered my mind at certain times throughout my journey. That would have been so much easier.
Anyway, ovens can be built from dough, but they would not last very long, therefore I had to learn about masonry and cement and bricks and mortar.
Alas - there began my search for wood fired oven plans and wood fired oven kits. I found many on the internet, too. I found plans for ovens made from clay, I found plans for ovens made from bricks, and I even found plans for ovens made from mud and earth. If you have some pre-existing knowledge of wood fired ovens and how they are made, I am sure that you have come across names like 'Kiko Denzer' and 'Alan Scott'. Those names usually top the list of search results - there are reasons for that, too. They top the charts because they are the best at what they do - 'They build ovens!' Kiko Denzer builds them from mud and Alan Scott builds them from bricks.
They both are authors and have written books about how to build the particular kind of ovens that each specialize in. Alan builds ovens that are primarily used for baking bread and Kiko builds ovens that are better suited to baking pizza. I am not saying that you can't bake pizza in an oven built by Alan Scott, I am also NOT saying that you can not bake bread in a mud oven like the ones that Mr Denzer specializes in building.
Wherever there is heat and / or flame breads, pizza's and a myriad of other baked goods can be baked.
Getting back to my wood fired oven - I did not use oven plans. I did not build a tunnel shaped oven out of brick, nor did I build an oven out of mud.
My oven is built out of fireproof cement, regular cement mortar, sand, mud, clay, fireproof insulation, rocks, stones, wood, steel and a lot of time.
My Wood Fired Oven
Soccer Ball, Bucky Ball, Buckminster Fuller, Geodesic Dome
About My Wood Fired Oven
If you have come this far, you are probably wondering how you can build an oven just like mine or similar. It was no walk in the park, in fact it is a result of much trial and many errors and if I were ever to make another oven in the future, it would be different.
All that being said - my pizza oven is extremely functional and it bakes awesome pizza, the best pizza's that I have ever made in my 25 plus years as a professional baker were made in the oven that you see in the picture above.
It is a geodesic oven....... WTF is a geodesic oven? I hear you say... Yeah, yeah I know. I once said the same thing.
Let me explain.....
A geodesic structure is a structure that was made popular by a man that goes by the name of Buckminster Fuller. Have you ever heard of a bucky ball? You can buy them in toy stores across the globe and they are fun.
So, a geodesic structure is a ball, balls are round like the earth, spherical so to speak, they can be cut in half, too. Anyway, imagine a common soccer ball - it is perfectly round and full of air - right? Nearly all balls are full of air, that is not important, though. Please ignore my ramblings!
Getting back to the point. Have you ever notice the pattern on a common soccer ball. It is made up of hexagons and pentagons that have been joined together. Well, here goes..... A soccer ball is a geodesic shape. Take a look at the photo capsule to the right and you will see.
My oven is not made out of soccer balls, though. Good heavens, wouldn't it look funny if it were?
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How I Built My Wood Fired Oven
So we have established that the shape of my oven is a geodesic dome, so now let me explain with some detail how I built it, (it being my oven). Here goes....
- I built a good sturdy base out of common red clay bricks. What an experience that was, too. Considering the fact that until that time I had never even held a trowel in my hands. Here's what happened, the first batch of mortar that I mixed set hard real quick and wouldn't stick to the bricks. I had no idea that mortar set so quickly. I mixed it and tried to trowel it, but I dropped it on the ground and spread it all over my yard. It just would not cooperate at all. I ditched it in favor of another carefully mixed batch that I like to call the second batch. The second batch went on to the bricks a little better than the first. Thus I was able to produce a base and an arch. See photo set below entitled 'My Wood Fired Oven - Progress Shots - The Building Of The base'.
- Upon the base, I laid a 4 inch layer of vermicrete. Vermicrete is vermiculite infused concrete and it is made made from vermiculite and regular portland cement. You just replace the sand with an equal proportion of vermiculite and or perlite. Vermiculite is expanded formica and it is non flammable and makes for one of the best insulating materials on the planet. Perlite is expanded silica sand and is better loose, but you can make perlcrete instead of vermicrete if that is all you can get your mittens on.
- Upon the insulating layer, I laid a single course of fireproof bricks. These are bricks that are made out of white fireproof clay. The kind of clay that is found in the bottom of old coal mines. They are usually twice the price of regular clay bricks, but they will withstand much more heat than regular clay bricks. You may scroll down this hub to see photo's of the floor bricks being laid. Go To - 'My Wood Fired Oven - Progress Shots - The Floor Bricks Being Laid'. I talk a lot about being laid in this hub, don't I? Everyone needs to be laid once in a while.
- Upon the layer of FP bricks is the geodesic dome inner shell of my oven. This shell is made out of triangles that were cast using fireproof refractory cement. I made the molds myself and I did all of the casting myself, too. They are bevel edged triangles and in case you were wondering - 5 triangles when assembled make a pentagon, the addition of a sixth triangle makes for a hexagon. Alas! The geodesic dome theory has been introduced in to the building of my oven. See the photo set below entitled 'My Wood Fired Oven - Progress Shots - Building The Geodesic Inner Shell'.
- Over the fireproof inner shell is a couple of inches or mortar, followed by a couple inches of fireproof insulation, followed by another inch or so of mortar to hold the insulation on, followed by the outer facade, which is made out of carefully scavenged rocks. All of which came from the river near my house. Even that real big one on the left side of the door. That was a B#T$H to carry home!
My Wood Fired Oven Build - Progress Shots - The Building Of The Base
My Wood Fired Oven - Progress Shots - The Floor Bricks Being Laid
My Wood Fired Oven - Progress Shots - August 2013
My Wood Fired Oven - First Real Fire and Mini Geodesic Oven Build
Mini Geodesic Wood Fired Oven Conclusion
The few pictures above showcase my mini geodesic oven build attempt. The truth of the matter is, that is as far as it went. The pieces have since been stacked neatly at the front of my big Geodesic pizza oven so that when people say, "Hey Luke, how did you build this monstrosity?" I can show them exactly how they went together. Very novel!
Anyway, this is not the end of the story, it is just the end of that particular chapter.
In the future I may add more to this hub, but then again, I may not. Might be better to just write another.
If you read all of this, Well Done! and thank you.