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robertjusher 09-18-2011 04:08 AM

How cheaply can an oven be built?
HI All
Doing the 2 kids paying off house 1 income thing, but really want a WFO in the back yard.
How cheaply can something useable and respectable to look at be made for?
I have been looking at cob ovens, precast kits etc and the full blown fire brick builds and unsure of which way to go.
Any advice on the most suitable way to go?

Ken524 09-18-2011 12:48 PM

Re: How cheaply can an oven be built?
Hi Robert,

We have had forum members build very nice brick ovens very inexpensively. The trick is to look for used or low cost bricks and scrap materials; start scrounging. Refractory supply places might be willing to sell you broken or misshaped bricks at a steep discount. The homebrew mortar recipe documented in the plans is a fraction of the cost of premix and has received excellent reviews. has a Brisbane section. I don't know how active it is but it's a great place to start. Find similar swap/free stuff websites in your area and start filling your garage with the stuff you need.

Have fun with it and start scrounging!

Bill Cornett 09-18-2011 01:33 PM

Re: How cheaply can an oven be built?
Read, read, read, and patience. I now realize that my 750 dollar budget was way too small. I could have trimmed it greatly. Size of the oven, making the base smaller than the hearth, 4" block w every other core filled instead of 8" block, and all cores filled. I used refractory cement (pricey) and bought the firebricks instead of getting free, dirty bricks which were a great distance.
Take your time and plan it in great detail.

robertjusher 09-18-2011 11:57 PM

Re: How cheaply can an oven be built?
Thanks for the advice so far.
I have done a bit of scrounging so far, I have 2 lenghts of 6 inch stainless steel tube and and old but nice top hat.
I was thinking of going cast in place refractory concrete, not sure yet but might be the cheapest way to go and get good thermal mass,,,, maybe old red solid bricks ???
I am sure I will need to buy fire bricks for the base, and am fine with that, just don't want to go too cheap and then need something bigger, better shortly after.
Thanks Rob

brickie in oz 09-19-2011 12:08 AM

Re: How cheaply can an oven be built?

Originally Posted by robertjusher (Post 120760)
just don't want to go too cheap and then need something bigger, better shortly after.
Thanks Rob

There ya go, you just answered your own question. :D

dmun 09-19-2011 04:24 AM

Re: How cheaply can an oven be built?
In these parts, refractory concrete is expensive, perhaps less so down under. I'd consider a scrounged red brick dome with homebrew mortar before I'd deal with that nasty stuff. Whatever your budget, don't forget insulation. A few big bags of vermiculite will pay and pay again in cooking success, and fuel savings.

robertjusher 09-19-2011 04:59 AM

Re: How cheaply can an oven be built?
Thanks dmun (and everyone else)
I keep reading mixed reports on red brick. I don't want the bricks dropping bits of brick in the pies !
While other have then going well. ???
While googleing the subject I came across a plan for a clay dome , insulated and then covered in a brick and iron roof structure that resembled the house it was was built at. Built on heable blocks on a concrete base with clay pavers for the cooking surface. Seemed to be , good looking, cheap to built and from what I have read will do the job very well.
The builder of this one claims 90 second pizza, heat the next day and if the roof of the structure keeps water out the clay should last a long time. Worth reading more about I think.
Anyone have much experence with this.
A local tv show called Better Homes and Gardens here in OZ made one a few years back..
Lots more to read

tektonjp 09-21-2011 02:40 AM

Re: How cheaply can an oven be built?
I should be getting my little (60cm) cast dome all in (base, oven floor bricks, arch, vermiculite and render) for about 35,000 JY. I think casting is great. Initial cost seems high, but it's quick, strong, and easy to work. I wouldn't even think of doing a brick one now.
I'm now thinking of designing something with a removable dome that sits on soldier bricks. I would like one at the mountain cabin that I can disassemble come winter snow time. Casting makes that possible.

jdelmon 09-21-2011 08:31 AM

Re: How cheaply can an oven be built?
I ended up buying a primavera 60 from forno bravo recently. I don't have a lot of time so it just ended up being easier. That said even the primavera oven has to sit on a level surface (ideally a slab of concrete) and we ended up putting it under an outdoor roof and putting a full chimney up to allow us to do pizza in the rain. Not an inexpensive endeavor in total. I had been planning to build a cob oven using Kiko Denzer's book on the subject. He favors using recycled materials found around your home to build the entire oven. There is a lot of info out there on this process. My take is the entire oven can be built out of mud for very minimal investment. It requires a roof (since it is made out of mud and will decay when exposed to moisture) and a foundation to get it off the ground and insulate the floor. You will need firebrick for the floor. I would estimate if you are patient and good at hunting down materials this option can be made for under $300 (biggest cost being firebrick for the floor). You may be able to lower it if you can find recycled firebrick. This type of oven can be built in a weekend and there are many stories online about it. Hope this helps and good luck.

Neil2 09-21-2011 04:29 PM

Re: How cheaply can an oven be built?
You can make a great door from the remains of a cast off aluminum barbecue shell. Check your local dump. (Even comes with a built in thermometer).

Other things you can find at the dump:
- Angle iron from old bed frames.
- Bits of chicken wire
- Insulation from old electric ranges

Reduce, recycle, reuse.

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