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How to build a wood burning pizza oven

Updated February 21, 2017

A wood-burning oven is a way to cook pizza and other foods in a structure heated by fire. Wood-burning ovens are made out of bricks and concrete. Bricks or concrete should be refractory (able to block the escape of heat). Wood-burning pizza ovens create a unique centrepiece and distinctive way of preparing pizzas for parties and gatherings. Building a wood burning pizza oven is easy and affordable.

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  1. Choose an outdoor location for your oven and create a concrete foundation that is at least 6-inches deep.

  2. Create the oven's bottom with walls made from breeze block. Use a masonry guide for bricklaying instructions. Black and Decker publishes an extensive masonry guide that can be found in bookstores or online. Constructionbooks.com has a selection. Elevate the oven bottom to a position that creates a base high enough to comfortably insert and remove pizza. Top the bottom with an base made from 2 by 4 beams and plywood. The wooden base will be the support for the oven floor and hearth. Create a base that is at least 25-inches square.

  3. Line the base with cement and perlite to create an initial layer for the oven floor. Use wood lining and rebar footing to pour the cement. Finish the cement so that it is smooth and level. After the cement is poured, remove the wood lining. On top of the cement, create a second layer using refractory bricks, such as firebricks. Set them evenly with mortar or tamped sand.

  4. Lay out and mortar firebricks for the back and sidewalls of the oven. Leave a section in the front for an opening. The walls should be at least 2-feet high and the front opening should be at least 10-inches high.

  5. For the roof, create brick arches using a wood template. Create the arch's template shape out of 2 by 4 beams and plywood and use that to mortar the bricks around. After the mortar dries, remove the wood template and the arch stays intact. Build a chimney or an opening in the roof to allow for the escape of smoke.

  6. Create an insulation layer around the walls and ceiling using a layer of aluminium foil covered by perlite or aluminium sheeting.

  7. Finish the wood-burning oven by inserting a grill on which to set pizzas with exterior decorative elements such painted tiles.

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Things You'll Need

  • 2 by 4 inch beams
  • Plywood
  • Concrete/cement
  • Perlite
  • Breeze blocks
  • Firebricks
  • Mortar

About the Author

Mason Howard is an artist and writer in Minneapolis. Howard's work has been published in the "Creative Quarterly Journal of Art & Design" and "New American Paintings." He has also written for art exhibition catalogs and publications. Howard's recent writing includes covering popular culture, home improvement, cooking, health and fitness. He received his Master of Fine Arts from the University of Minnesota.

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