Introduction: How to Make a Pizza Oven for £50 (sort Of)

Picture of How to Make a Pizza Oven for £50 (sort Of)

In an attempt to make a pizza oven for as little expense as possible, and from recycled material; I ended up making a pizza oven - but only of sorts. Half-baked if you excuse the pun. I thought I'd share my experience of my attempt as I think with the addition of hindsight a £50 pizza oven is achievable. I am aware that the overall design isn't extremely effective however the idea was to build completely from recycled material (except for the cement/mortar).

What I used:

Breezeblocks (from a skip)

Patio slabs (from a skip)

Kos fire cement (Amazon)

Household bricks (from a skip and also from gumtree)

Mortar (Wickes)

Electric heater bricks (skip)

Garden ornament (already had)

In an attempt to keep costs as low as possible I used as much material as possible from skips and from gumtree. I found breeze blocks and patio slabs to make the base for the pizza oven. For the main structure of the pizza oven I considered using clay and I also considered buying refractory bricks (bricks able to withstand high temperatures with low thermal conductivity) however this would have an added cost. As a cheap alternative I found a number of red clay type household bricks that came from an external garden wall that someone had thrown in a skip. I also found a number of normal household bricks. In addition to this I found a number of old electric storage heater bricks which I decided would be ideal for the base. These bricks are the clay or ceramic type bricks that act as heat storage.

*****************Safety considerations******************

Note: I should point out that although I found no issues with using normal household bricks, they are not designed for this purpose and could pose a safety hazard. They have been cases where bricks have shattered from thermal shock or exposure to high heat.

*********************************************************

The building process was very simple. A flat base was made using breeze blocks with a central support made of more breeze blocks to provide support for the patio slabs - this formed the base. All this was held together using mortar. Next came a layer of the electric storage heater bricks. Next I built the archway by eye slowly building a layer at a time over a period of a week - making the archway two bricks thick. I then used Kos fire cement to cover the internal archway that would be most exposed to the fire - in an attempt to protect the bricks.

**************** Issues with the design *******************

When it came to lighting it up it worked well. There was some heat leaking from the top of the pizza oven however the internal temperature was maintained fairly high. When it came to trying to cook a homemade pizza I discovered that there was not enough insulation in the base of the pizza oven. Not only was there insufficient layers in the bottom of the oven but the electric storage heaters likely had a two high thermal conductivity and were therefore absorbing the heat rather than allowing the base to be at the high temperatures required to cook a pizza. Luckily it worked well for cooking chilli so all was not lost!

What would I do different?

1. Do not use storage heater bricks as the bottom layer.

2. Provide more insulation in the base. I would try and use a layer of recycled wine bottles with cement followed by a few layers of bricks and finally a layer of teracotta tiles for the base in contact with the pizza.

3. I would consider covering the archway with a layer of mortar/cement or covering in some sort of insulation or lagging for further insulation.

Thanks

Comments

jsmith324 (author)2015-03-20

Look into Perlite and Vermiculite. Really cheap from garden centres (about £15 for a large bag) They're used as soil additives but have incredible thermal insulation qualities. I used a mix of 5 perlite-1 Portland cement to make up a 1 inch thick base for my bbq. 1 inch of this gives the same insulating performance as 30 inches of concrete. I'm working on how to make a render for my own upcoming pizza oven.

tomatoskins (author)2015-03-20

This looks great! I love that you decided to share your experience here. Any plans on remaking this? If so I'd love to see that as a seperate instructable.

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