Have you had a lovely long bank holiday weekend? Are you all refreshed and relaxed? Maybe you’re ready for a nice little garden project?! So it’s time to complete your very own al fresco pizza oven. Summer awaits and there’s no time to lose! First instalment was posted here so we will carry on from having that lovely cuppa….
Step 6: The inner wall
Form your straw-free cob into 3inch thick briquettes and surround your sand dome with these. The children are great at this once you show them what size they need to make. Get brick building! Keep the tops flat and as you build up, and lean the bricks in like an igloo. Pack and smooth them down and together, filling in any gaps with little pinches of spare cob. Do this all the way around the dome until the sand is covered.
Step 7: Create a doorway
This is the only bit requiring a calculation. It’s important because it affects how the oven heats, and how it draws in and circulates air. The height of the door needs to be 63% of the height of the sand dome. So if your dome is 40cm tall, your door needs to be 25.2cm tall. If you have planned this really well you will have previously constructed a door to the exact height, and built up your sand dome to the corresponding height. You can use this wooden door to hold up the surrounding cob – removing the cob where the door will go (it’s easier to pack the cob briquettes all the way around and then take out what isn’t required). Remember the width of the door will be the maximum width of your pizzas so allow at least 28cm width at the base of the door.
Step 8: The outer wall
Using your insulating cob (the mix with the straw), build a wall of 4inch thick briquettes all around the inner wall, and surrounding the wooden door. Try to create a porch like an igloo as this will help to draw air into the oven.
Step 9: The finishing touches
If you prefer to be sophisticated you can finish this with a lime render but if you feel like personalising your oven you can get really creative using the smooth straw-free cob. Build up and sculpt your mound into whatever you want! Use sticks to prop up ‘ears’ or ‘noses’ and texturise the surface to make a fur effect. We had spotted an urban fox on the day so it seemed very suitable to recreate her in our remaining clay.
Step 10: Drying out
Pray for a dry spell and leave your oven for at least a week to allow the cob to dry out. Once it is dry you can dig out the sand to expose your oven. Fire the oven for a day to fully dry out, and hey presto! You have a fabulous pizza oven.
Very important note!
In the spirit of sharing, please note this is a personal record of an amazing workshop. It is not an official, accurate step-by-step guide to building a pizza oven. As such I cannot guarantee that your pizza oven will be the best, most functional oven ever made. When in use please note it will be dangerous for young children and babies to be near it due to extreme heat and flame. That said, I can’t wait to make mine and it’s definitely going to be a ton of fun when used under strict supervision. For a professional guide to making a pizza oven please sign up with someone like Edwards and Eve http://www.cobcourses.com/cob-courses/1-day-cob-pizza-oven-course/