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How to make a homemade Pizza Oven

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Picture of How to make a homemade Pizza Oven
This is a step by step guide on how to build a homemade pizza oven from scratch!! This is a great, relatively cheap project, that will keep you entertained all through the summer and surprisingly, even the winter!! I made it with Darren Lewis and Josh Bagshawe and it always ends up getting lit at every party and actually becomes quite the centre piece!!

As you will discover, as well as making fantastic pizzas, this oven comes into its element when slow cooking large joints of meat! Lovely slow cooked shoulder of lamb, belly pork, beef ribs, pork ribs and even a whole pot of curry! Whatever joint you decide, wrapping it in layers of tin foil will protect it from the fire and keep it tender and succulent!

Happy building! I look forward to seeing what you make! For further designs and projects please check out my website - www.philreillydesigns.com

All the best,

Phil
 
 
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Step 1: What you will need

Picture of What you will need
There are many different styles of pizza oven, ranging from small clay ovens to larger scale concrete ovens. What you decide to build depends on a few factors including budget, location size constraints, time, what you wish to cook etc.

We decided to build this pizza oven on a wooden crate so we had the option of moving it if we needed to! Although if you decide to do this, please remember that the construction will probably be about half a tonne so a pallet truck or fork lift will be required! A lot of people find a more permanent location for the oven and build a brick stand for it so the pizza oven is at waist level when stood infront of it.

What you require:

• Sharp sand (general purpose sand usually containing small amounts of aggregate in the mix)
• Builders sand (finer sand that is good for detailed work)
• Cement
• Aggregate
• A bucket or pot for the chimney (Optional!)
• Spade for mixing
• Trowel for brick laying
• Bricks (ideally heat resistant but not essential)
• Large cellophane sheet
• Some old pieces of wood / foam for shaping the arch
• Chipboard (if building on a pallet) - make sure it is for outdoor use otherwise it will warp!
• Wooden pallet
• Drill
• Wood Screws
• Wood Saw

The exact quantities depend on what size you decide to build. You can build this oven in stages so there is no need to know exact quantities when you initially start building. Lots of people say that heat resistant bricks should be used when building an oven. When heated to a high temperature, standard building bricks can expand and cause the oven to crack a little. We have had this oven extremely hot and have not had issues with cracking so a lot if down to personal preference!

danzo3214 months ago
So pizza just sits on a wire rack? You don't need air to enter from below?
Phil Reilly (author)  danzo3214 months ago
Hi danzo321!

You can do either, a lot is down to personal preference. We started by heating the oven really hot and then clearing all the coals to the side and cooking the pizza on the hot floor of the over (stone baked pizza). This gives you the rather traditional pizza which usually gets a little crisp around the edge where it gets near the coals. If you want more evenly cooked pizza, we tried putting an oven wire rack supported on a couple of bricks and laying the pizza on some tin foil on the rack. That also worked very well indeed!

Hope this helps!!

Phil
Phil, When I made pizzas the small stove got to 700º and we had ceramic shelves, which I'd suggest, sitting on a few bricks with coals underneath.
Your bricks look yellow-white, are they firebricks?
Nice job.
Phil Reilly (author)  danzo3214 months ago
Hi Danzo, ceramic shelves sound like a good idea but the metal rack worked well for us. Either way supplies heat from below and makes pretty good pizzas!

They are actually rather expensive Cotswold bricks that we managed to get for free! So we decided to use them! Fire bricks would be the best solution if possible but you would probably have to buy those! We got our oven very hot indeed and the bricks seemed to hold up ok!

Thanks!
When I was building my foundry to do aluminum casting, I made the bulk of the insulation layer with a high-temp concrete "Fireplace and Stove mortar" mixed with vermiculite. The high-temp concrete was fairly expensive, but using vermiculite to bulk it up worked excellently. Reasonably inexpensive "fire bricks" could be made of this combination, and depending on mixture of morter/vermiculite the end result can be quite strong.
I wonder if the cement board used for tilework would be a good replaceable shelf. I do not believe regular concrete can take this kind of treatment for long without degrading the surface. I don't know from Cotswold but sounds like they are good, I'd put them in the floor too. I am thinking, little passages through the floor or sideways through the bottom of walls would let air in to give a better fire.
rosewood5134 months ago
Fantastic you did a great job...

awsome!!!!!!!!!!

Jaynestown2 months ago

Hey, it looks very cool. Thinking of making one but I need to buy everything for it so I was wondering if you could tell me how many bricks it needs and the size of a individual brick.

cristoph2 months ago
Looks a bit like forge don't you think
juan_k1ng3 months ago
fekkin awesome want one
jack ruby3 months ago
Nice work! About how many bricks did you end up using for this project? How much cement?

Thanks
Phil Reilly (author) 3 months ago
Hi jackamo! Yeah you could use this although you have to get it very hot, we reversed a vacuum cleaner so it blew and used that as a blower to supply oxygen to the fire to dramatically raise the temperature! Quite a lot of people use an oxy-acetylene torch instead of a forge but it's harder to evenly heat the blade!
Oh wow thanks that's really cool. I'll definitely look into that!
jackamo983 months ago
So can this be used to forge the knife you posted too? Because I have no way to forge a knife but if I could make this it would solve that problem.
dziegler13 months ago
In step 5 what are the little "sticks" protruding out of the cellophane covered sand pile? Are they just a guide for stacking the bricks? Nice Instructable - easy to follow.
Phil Reilly (author)  dziegler13 months ago
Thanks! We actually used those to help pin the cellophane sheet down as it was a little windy at the time!!
Phil Reilly (author) 3 months ago
Hey wkahlich! We managed to get the bricks free which would have been the most expensive part! I think it cost us about 40 quid, including the spade that was a tenner!
wkahlich3 months ago
how much did all of this cost you?
wkahlich3 months ago
so about how much did all of this cost you?
Eh Lie Us!4 months ago
A pizza igloo!

Right on!
nixes84 months ago
great work! bold and "macho" oven. i have a cob oven on our backyard, and she's turning 4 years this december. but i still wanted to build one made of bricks. i'm just having a little trouble finding those fire bricks.. i'll definitely use your instructibles for building one.
aebe4 months ago
Hornos are a very good way to cook , and yours looks great .
If you sweep out the coals and ashes before you start cooking , you can plug your chinmey and door , have more heat for longer , and no ashes in the stew .
State of California has a horno recipe that calls for a layer of vermiculite for insulation , but that takes away the benefit of having a lot of mass to hold heat .
karthickaski 4 months ago
hey Phil your idea is really works well .thank you .
pb4044 months ago
Looks great! One suggestion would be regarding the layer of plastic sheeting between the sand and the dome. You ideally want the inside of the dome to be as smooth as possible so try to have no wrinkles in the plastic. When I made my oven I used wet newspaper but you could also use the plastic sheeting cut into smaller squares or something like that.
rondust4 months ago
I really like this, you can even move it with a pallet trolley.
But why cant I download it as a pdf??
Why is that?
rondust rondust4 months ago
Weird, it is working now, false alarm.
Billster364 months ago
wondering why you put the chimney in the front instead of to the back of the oven. Is there a reason not to put it in back?
The way that hot air circulates in the oven chamber it forces the smoke out of the top front of the oven.
The chimney at the rear would waste a high percentage of the heat.
This basic design has been around fro thousands of years.
happygoat7164 months ago
I want that!
buttermere44 months ago
Fantastic job -- thanks for posting -- I have been wanting to make one but never really finding a plan I could follow -- Love how you used the pallet I have some really strong ones and that will be my plan but up on a wall of stone / bricks.

Thanks again for the posting. JB
Sweet! I like the idea of using sand as the armature for the dome. Have you had any problems with the heat and regular cement?
Phil Reilly (author)  random squigles4 months ago
Hey! Thanks! We had a few tiny cracks appear but that was only when we seriously fueled the fire and used an air source to inject oxygen into the fire (It got ridiculously hot!!!!!) - you can see in the photo with the flames coming out of the chimney! If you just use it to cook food then you should be fine!!
neo716654 months ago
Should have put a firebox below for a true oven. If I was selling my work I would just call this an outdoor fireplace.
It is a traditional oven design, you can see ovens like this all round the Mediterranean.
They work on retained heat, you do the cooking after the fire has burned out.
scottinnh4 months ago
As already noted in the article, weight is a concern if you ever want to move it. What could (somewhat) help with the weight is mixing in styrofoam into the cement mix. Note that the styrofoam is going to melt into a tiny speck once you fire up the stove, and this reaction will cause "voids" in the cement. This is exactly what you want to reduce weight, but be aware this also weakens the surfaces.

A stronger but slightly heavier alternative to styrofoam would be "hydro" clay pellets.
niac scottinnh4 months ago
Vermiculite is a better approach than styrofoam. It's cheap, and is used for this purpose already, and doesn't collapse (although it's a pretty soft material.)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vermiculite
SLEDHEDONE4 months ago
That is freaking P.I.M.P!
chuckyd4 months ago
The front opening to the oven will tend to spread apart due to the vertical walls and sloped top. It would be more sturdy to make the entrance a full semicircular arch.

Concrete begins an initial set in a few hours. After seven days under ideal conditions of temperature and humidity it will reach about 30% of its ultimate strength. After 28 days it will cease to grow any stronger at any significant rate and can be considered as having reached its design strength.

The screeding excercise serves to send the coarse aggregates down to allow the finer aggregates to rise and from a finished surface.
jslarve4 months ago
Looks really bitchen, and that's a really great idea.

Putting it on a pallet is really a smart as well.

I'd love to see a new version of the "finished product" photo (the top one) without the tarp and the other stuff strewn around the vicinity. Wouldn't that look great? :-)

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