Build a brick pizza oven
Building a pizza oven from used solid bricks can be a very rewarding project.
This pizza oven building project was started in May 2010. Here you will find all the steps to build a workable oven that cooks real pizzas and marvellous bread.
The pizza oven is a traditional dome type whereas the tunnel type of pizza oven is easier to build. If you have any questions feel free to make comments. The oven is designed to be moved by forklift, but not towed on a trailer.
First of all, determine what type of base you require. This one is made from delta core concrete, light and strong and transportable. I got it home with my 6×4 trailer. This means I can pick the oven up with my forklift and place it anywhere I want. Most people will choose to build theirs in place.
The base is 1500 x 1200 mm and 150mm deep. You will need to add two tension bars across the base to give tension in that direction.
Determine the diameter of the oven. This one is one metre inside diameter.
Here I have marked it out and placed the outside base layer of red solids in place. These are glued to the concrete with a mixture of clay, lime and cement. Remember you are building a brick oven, not a mortar oven. To do this keep the gaps between your bricks less than 3mm.
To set the base out I drew the one-metre diameter on a 6mm sheet of cement sheet with the entrance of the pizza oven door too. Under the sheet went a 25mm layer of high-temperature ceramic insulation. To cut and shape the bricks I used 14-inch friction saw, with a masonry disk. Old bricks are easy to cut and if soaked in a bucket of water have a reduced amount of dust.
Insulating a pizza oven
Insulating a pizza oven is most important. Mineral wool is the best as it will withstand 2000C, much more than required. Rockwool is the next best or perlite, depending on whether it is under or on top of the bricks. If the insulation is under the brick floor it needs to be supported to no squash the insulation.
Here is the first layer in place, ready for the next layer.
Finish the floor.
The first layer and the floor finished.
Here I have used clay floor tiles, in hindsight, not a good choice as they crack under heat stress. A later version has ceramic furnace tiles in place of these. NB that under the floor tiles is a layer of 50 mm brick pavers sitting on top of the cement sheet. Next build I will place 50 mm of insulation under the brick pavers.
Making the door and formwork.
You will require two pieces of steel, one for the door and the other for the flue entrance. I bent these the hard way with a hammer. In the centre of the photo is the form for building the brick dome. The door is 550mm wide and 260mm high.
Can you see the pin in the centre of the floor, next to the cup? It’s a bolt through a piece of plywood and stuck to the floor with masking tape.
Here the second layer is stuck to the first layer. Looks like the last brick need to be cut to finish this layer.
The third layer in place.
Note the small pieces of brick used as wedges.
Note the inner top bricks are getting towards being vertical, meaning the mud between the bricks has to dry before moving the former.
Finishing the dome
The final part of the brick building. In this step, I have placed a disk of sheet metal inside through the door up under the dome. It is held up with bricks and wood. On top of the sheet is some sand formed into a dome and the remaining bricks placed onto the sand.
Once all the bricks are in place the sheet is removed and it all stays together.
The inside finished.
The first chimney in place. just needs mortar.
Firing and drying
The first chimney was OK but smoked on startup. After making the larger chimney #2, which was much better, I found that they all smoke on startup. It is the volume of smoke produced that the chimney can’t cope with even if you have a big fire. The answer is to start small.
Insulating the oven.
Here I have used old fibreglass batts, however, “Rockwool” is recommended.
Adding the mortar.
Painful. The lesson with this is to place aluminium foil or some other non-combustible on top of the insulation under the wire mesh. Also, you need to place foundry chaplets in the insulation too so the mortar will not squash the insulation. Then, if the insulation is compressed the chaplets it will hold the mortar away from the bricks. In this case, the mortar overhangs the concrete base, which does not help. There is a better way.
Mortar layer all finished.
The finished article.