How to Cast a Fire Clay Pizza Oven

Written by phillip woolgar
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How to Cast a Fire Clay Pizza Oven
You can build your own pizza oven in your backyard. (fuoco image by skak79 from

One weekend is all it can take to build your own pizza oven. With a few tools, the oven can be built to provide an alternative to outside cooking, and it doesn't have to be just for pizza. Bread is commonly cooked in the same type of oven. The smells of your cooking will waft down the street and your neighbours will be wanting to get a slice of home cooking at its finest.

Skill level:
Moderately Challenging

Things you need

  • Matches
  • Knife
  • Kindling
  • Spray bottle
  • Nails
  • Hammer
  • Newspaper
  • Wood for a door
  • Two-by-six-inch boards
  • Six-by-six-inch treated posts
  • Two-by-four-inch scrap board
  • Pre-fab concrete slab
  • Sand
  • Firebricks
  • Water
  • Builder's sand
  • Tarp
  • Road base
  • Shovel
  • Fire clay subsoil
  • Wheelbarrow
  • Concrete slab

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  1. 1

    Dig fire clay, which can be found just below topsoil. Typically, you can find some anywhere in the ground, but if you don't, try digging from an eroded hillside. Fire clay is light in colour and has no organic matter. If you can't find fire clay, any type of mud will do, the lighter the better.

  2. 2

    Assemble the fire bricks that you purchased from you local home improvement store in one layer on top of the concrete slab until you reach about one foot in every direction beyond the desired circumference of your oven. The area should be squared. These bricks will form the base of your oven.

  3. 3

    Dump enough sand on the bricks to form what will become the hollow part of your dome. The sand is simply piled and packed into place so that the clay can be applied on top to create the dome. The height of the dome should be nearly 75 per cent of the base's diameter.

  4. 4

    Mix one part fire clay with three parts sand. Break up any clumps of fire clay. Slowly add water to the mixture. You want to be able to densely pack the mixture. Test the mixture by grabbing a ball of it and dropping it onto the ground. If the ball becomes deformed, but doesn't crack in the middle, the mixture is at the right consistency. Add more fire clay if it cracks. Add more builder's sand if it is too sticky.

  5. 5

    Spread wet newspapers over the sand dome. Pack the surface of the newspapers with cob, which is the fire clay and sand mixture. Don't push too hard on the sand dome. Continue to pack the cob until the entire dome is covered. The walls should total a thickness of four inches. Allow the cob to harden for four hours.

  6. 6

    Cut the oven doorway to a height of about 65 per cent of the dome's height. Dispose of the sand and newspaper.

  7. 7

    Start a fire inside the oven with crumpled newspaper and kindling. Ensure the fire is at the mouth of the oven, since the dome is damp inside. Push the fire into the rear. Build an additional fire in the front. Cut the doorway bigger if the smoke is not escaping

  8. 8

    Cut a wooden door to the same size as the opening. The door is an optional tool to trap heat inside the oven.

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