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Old 03-11-2011, 06:18 PM
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Default Leaning toward a clay/cob/earthen oven

For those who don't know... which is probably everyone because I don't remember ever sharing it here on the forum, we're moving to a new house soon.

At the new house, Ronzorelli will have the room in the back yard to build himself a WFO. Ronzorelli is VERY excited and happy about the very thought of this. Ronzorelli doesn't normally talk about himself in the third person so Ronzorelli doesn't know why exactly he's doing it now... so Ronzorelli will stop.

Seriously, I'm jumping for joy inside like... a little girl? Ok, maybe a little boy who just got the present he'd been wanting for years. I've dreamt about building one for years. I finally get the chance to do it...

Now... again... for those who don't know, I'm one cheap and LAZY... SOB. I don't want to work too hard and I don't want the job to take too long, and I don't want it to be remotely even close to being expensive... for those reasons, I'm leaning toward the earthen WFO spectrum.

I haven't seen a lot of resources on here about the earthen oven types, which is understandable considering it's mainly for Forno Bravo type brick ovens.. I've done some research on line and I'm looking to buy "Build Your Own Earth Oven" eventually before we move.

With all that said, I'm ALWAYS open for other advice, hints, or tips from anyone who's done it themselves.

So... anyone have any advice?
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Old 03-11-2011, 08:35 PM
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Default Re: Leaning toward a clay/cob/earthen oven

There's a lot here about cob ovens, though it's a bit outside my source of expertise. I think in general, if you have to buy pottery clay, it's more cost effective to build with firebrick (in the states) If you're disinclined towards backbreaking work, then maybe mining and processing your own clay isn't the route to go.
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Old 03-12-2011, 01:32 AM
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Default Re: Leaning toward a clay/cob/earthen oven

Depending on where you live "mining and processing your own clay" just means digging up some dirt. In Portland Oregon, people just dig up the local dirt add some sand. With that mix they build successful ovens. This book: Build Your Own Earth Oven, 3rd Edition: A Low-Cost Wood-Fired Mud Oven; Simple Sourdough Bread; Perfect Loaves; by Kiko Denzer and Hannah Field provides some specific tests you can perform in your kitchen on the dirt in you back yard to determine if it is good for making an oven.
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Old 03-12-2011, 05:00 AM
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Default Re: Leaning toward a clay/cob/earthen oven

Why so gung-ho on earth/cob/clay oven and not brick?
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Old 03-12-2011, 09:20 AM
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Default Re: Leaning toward a clay/cob/earthen oven

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Originally Posted by Tman1 View Post
Why so gung-ho on earth/cob/clay oven and not brick?
I laid that out already... in the first post.

I don't have the brick laying skills to do something like a domed brick oven.

Last edited by ronzorelli; 03-12-2011 at 09:22 AM.
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Old 03-12-2011, 09:21 AM
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Default Re: Leaning toward a clay/cob/earthen oven

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If you're disinclined towards backbreaking work, then maybe mining and processing your own clay isn't the route to go.
Um... mining and processing? You mean digging up a few shovelfuls? I'm not going to be renting a backhoe or digging for gold or anything. I'm just going to be digging up some clay.
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Old 03-12-2011, 09:33 AM
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Default Re: Leaning toward a clay/cob/earthen oven

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I laid that out already... in the first post.

I don't have the brick laying skills to do something like a domed brick oven.
Well, I think 95% of the people on this forum who've done a pompeii style oven didn't think they had the skills either.
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Old 03-12-2011, 09:36 AM
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Default Re: Leaning toward a clay/cob/earthen oven

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Well, I think 95% of the people on this forum who've done a pompeii style oven didn't think they had the skills either.
I'm also not willing to go out and buy tools to cut and lay brick that I will never use again.

I'd rather simply form the dome with my hands.
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Old 03-12-2011, 10:36 AM
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Default Re: Leaning toward a clay/cob/earthen oven

I started with the intent to build a mud oven. I believe the mud oven can be built less expensively. However then it is all mud and cob. That must be kept dry. Once you add in enough structure to keep a cob oven dry and happy then your starting to get towards the cost of a brick oven.

So, it depends on your location (wet / dry), your desire for a permanent oven or a temporary one. Here temporary for mud/cob might mean a few to 10 years, where a brick oven should out last you and probably your children.
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Old 03-12-2011, 11:40 AM
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Default Re: Leaning toward a clay/cob/earthen oven

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I started with the intent to build a mud oven. I believe the mud oven can be built less expensively. However then it is all mud and cob. That must be kept dry. Once you add in enough structure to keep a cob oven dry and happy then your starting to get towards the cost of a brick oven.

So, it depends on your location (wet / dry), your desire for a permanent oven or a temporary one. Here temporary for mud/cob might mean a few to 10 years, where a brick oven should out last you and probably your children.
You may have a point with that added cost... that's definitely something to be factored in.
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