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mikeyt1968 03-22-2013 09:23 AM

My oven build in Bristol, England
This a link to my oven build blog
Mikes brick pizza oven
I hope you like it, please leave comments. Thanks Mike

ATK406 03-22-2013 05:41 PM

Re: My oven build in Bristol, England
Beautiful Oven and a very nice write-up. I must admit that I have not read through all of it...yet, but I will. Thank you so much for sharing your story.

I was so excited when I saw that you finished the exterior with a brick dome. When I started my build last spring I did not much care for the igloo shaped ovens. However after constructing my own Pompeii oven dome...what can I say? I'm in love.

I live in Michigan which serves up a good dose of winter weather (rain, snow, ice, thaw and freeze again) for at least 4 months of the year. Anyway I knew a stucco exterior was going to be high maintenance but I am thinking an exterior brick dome like yours might be more robust.

Seeing your build has encouraged me. I was starting to think (over think) it was going to be really difficult, but reading through your blog and looking at your pictures I believe that it won't be so complicated after all. When the weather clears up and I get a little closer to this stage of the project can a contact you to get a few more tips (I'm curious about how you tied in the dome with the front facade)?

Anyway thanks again for sharing, you have a beautiful oven and wonderful tribute to your Dad.


mikeyt1968 03-23-2013 05:23 AM

Re: My oven build in Bristol, England

Feel free to contact anytime and thankyou for your kind comments.

Having read a lot of american posts on this site I am wondering exactly what stucco is, it is not a term used commonly in the UK but I presume it is a sand and cement render finish applied with a trowel. Is this correct?

I look forward to seeing how your build goes.


ATK406 03-23-2013 10:39 AM

Re: My oven build in Bristol, England
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Hello Mike,
Yes, I think you've got it about right RE stucco. I think it is common to use fortifiers and other additives (colorants, fiberglass etc.) too. There are some commercial brands that are supposed to be pretty good (Dryvit is one of them). I never really looked into it because I never intended to finish my enclosure that way.

I currently have a temporary "Dog House" enclosure over mine to keep it out of the weather. In the spring I will add countertops with a bar and an open BBQ pit and enclose the dome as discussed before. Next year I’ll probably build some kind of shelter over the top…I don’t want to make it too big, just big enough to keep us out of the rain if we’re having a pizza party (or simply making dinner) and a storm blows in.

How about you? Are you finished or do you have any “additions” in mind? I’m also curious about your oven performance, how fast does it heat up? How long does it stay warm? Yours is one of the few I have seen that uses clay bricks instead of firebrick. I remember reading the line you quoted in your Blog….about the choice between building with clay brick vs not building at all. Given all the angst documented here about the right bricks and mortar and insulation and dome ratios etc. you would think the wood fired oven was a new invention. It is refreshing to see somebody embrace/understand the fundamentals of the project and proceed as you have….and succeed…in fine fashion too!

I don’t know about you, but we use the oven quite regularly (2-3 weekends out of the month), even during the winter when the temperatures were in the low teens (F). As long as you are dressed for it, cooking in the cold is kind of fun (and the wood splits really well), except it gets a little lonely because everybody else wants to stay inside. Actually, I'm going to fire up the oven this afternoon to bake some bread and cook some steaks on the Tuscan grill for dinner tonight. I usually take my time heating it when it is cold like this.

I didn't create a thread to document my build (I usually just pirate other people’s threads…like I am doing to yours now) ;). Actually, I built my oven before I joined this group (using the FB plans). In hind sight I wish I had spent more time reading about some of the other builds before I started my own. There are some really talented/creative people on here and I could have learned a lot from them instead of my “OJT”. I’m proud of the work I have done and had an absolute blast doing it (even when I was working in 100 degree heat last summer). I did put together a photo album with my daughter (it’s currently saved as a .pdf). I'm thinking that I would like to create a blog post like yours but I'm a bit of a Neanderthal when it comes to computers, so I don't know if I'll ever get around to it. But here is a picture of me and my oven taken last fall. I’ll let you know if I ever post my build online.


mikeyt1968 03-24-2013 12:13 AM

Re: My oven build in Bristol, England
Great photo, it looks great where you live, Had to google Michigan to see exactly where it is! The states is such a huge place.
In answer to your questions about warm up times as the oven is pretty much untested as yet I expect it will take a bit more time to warm up than a pure firebrick oven but its intended use is just for pizza parties for friends and family so once up to heat it should perform well as it is well insulated, the main issue for me with the firebricks is that in the UK they cost over 4 US dollars a piece! I think if I were ever to build a smaller oven for more frequent personal use I would probably use firebrick.
I am also new to blogging but on the advice of a more technical friend used blogger to create my build blog and apart from a few teething problems was fairly straightforward. If you have any photos of your build I would definitely recommend posting some more. Its great to see how other people build their ovens.
It looks like you have got a great set up from your photo, loads of storage and preparation space. Are those wooden shingles (tiles) on the pitched roof?
It also looks like you are lucky anough to have plenty of free firewood where you live. I have to buy mine in!
I will add to my blog when I try my first Pizza cook, I have got a feeling it could take a while to get the hang of it!
Your plans sound exciting and like you I will probably make some trestle tables for food preparation for now but make some countertops in the future. It has been so enjoyable so far I reckon it is going to be one of those projects that is continually added to when time and funds allow!
It looks like you are lucky enough to have plenty of space to build a big set up. We have quite a small garden in town so this limits things for me a bit.
I would be interested in what is inside your 'doghouse' so if you have any more photos of your build it would be great to see them.
All the best

cobblerdave 03-24-2013 02:31 AM

Re: My oven build in Bristol, England
Gudday Mike
I read your blog and like your build ,we'll done. Really like the brickwork over the dome looks real smart.
On wood you'll find that small sticks work really well in you oven if you buy wood in you'll find yourself having to split them into smaller pieces. Keep on eye open in you local area for branch falls and sticks. Stuff that would be passed over for other wood burning are usable for WFO. I can find enough branches from the road side in 1/2 hour to loose fill a barrow which will give me a pizza burn.
Regards dave

mikeyt1968 03-24-2013 12:11 PM

Re: My oven build in Bristol, England
Thanks for the tip dave. I often work out in the country and will keep some sacks in the van.


ATK406 03-24-2013 12:34 PM

Re: My oven build in Bristol, England
Looks can be deceiving. I also live on a relatively small lot (that is my neighbors' garage and barn in the back ground). You can get free wood here if you shop around or make a connection with the utility company (most of our electrical power is delivered above ground and they are constantly driving around trimming trees). I purchase my firewood from a friend of ours and he delivers it right to my yard (red oak, ash, apple and cherry).

The roof is supported with a simple A-Frame structure resting on my slab. The roof itself was made with cedar pickets (normally used for fencing). They were just the right length and since this is only temporary, I'll be able to reuse them for something else later (some will be used to cedar plank of our favorite dishes).

Thanks for the tip on the Blog.


mikeyt1968 03-27-2013 01:19 PM

Re: My oven build in Bristol, England

That salmon sounds good, I have secured a good source of ash seasoned hardwood now so am looking forward to my first wood fired pizza cooking session. make sure you post some photos of your ongoing build.


ATK406 03-27-2013 08:06 PM

Re: My oven build in Bristol, England
Hello Mike,
Good luck with your pizza party. Ash is great for heating your oven and cooking. That's what I'm using now. I particularly like the fact that it splits so easily. I try not to use pieces bigger than 2-3 inches thick. I even go smaller than that when I'm maintaining a fire on the side and cooking the pizza. Bigger logs take longer to get going and are more prone to rolling down onto the floor. I've even had one land on a pizza :eek:, but it was ok, my wife didn't even notice :p...actually I ate that one.

If I have a piece with a big knot in it, I split what I can and burn it up when I have the blazes of hell roaring in the oven during the peak of my burn.

I don't know if there is a psychological exam that could prove this out (and I wouldn't take one anyway) but I suspect that all of us here have a bit of a pyro-streak in us....I know I have always enjoyed building fires and now I have a great excuse to do it!

We're going to have pizza on Friday night and I'm roasting a leg of lamb on Saturday. I'm going to do something different with my pizza this time...I bought some anchovies (I've never tried them before) wife and kids are not so adventuresome, so that one will be mine for sure...log or no log :D

Happy Easter and Best Regards,

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