Building a wood fired clay oven is a fun project and when you get done you’ll have fun using it too. It is however a moderately challenging project. So if you aren’t of sound body and mind, get help, or don’t do it.

Plan to do this project when there are a number of dry days in the forecast, and choose a level spot.

Foods are cooked slowly in wood fired clay ovens and have their own distinctive taste because of the natural properties of clay. A wood fired clay oven is a domed shaped clay shell with a brick bottom. Many cultures have used these ovens for centuries. Clay ovens may also be called earth ovens. Constructing a wood fired clay oven is time consuming, but very inexpensive because many of the materials may be readily available on the site. These are visually attractive additions to many landscapes due to their natural appearance.

Tools

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Materials

[otw_shortcode_ordered_list items=”7″ style=”decimal” item_1_name=”Bricks” item_2_name=”Sand” item_3_name=”Clay Soil” item_4_name=”Builder’s Sand” item_5_name=”Water” item_6_name=”Newspapers” item_7_name=”Fire Wood”][/otw_shortcode_ordered_list]

Wood Fired Clay Ovens Step By Step

[otw_shortcode_info_list num_items=”10″ item_1_icon_has=”1″ item_1_icon_types=”general foundicon-checkmark” item_1_icon_bgr_colors=”otw-b-orange-flat-bgr” item_1_icon_brd_width=”otw-b-bd-1px” item_1_title=”Preliminaries” item_1_content=”Check with local building authorities to see if a building permit is required. See if there are any other requirements before continuing with this project. Choose a location for the oven keeping in mind that you may want it to be close to the kitchen when carrying items to and from the oven. Place it in a location where the smoke from the oven does not disturb neighbors or drift into the home or other buildings through open windows and doors.” item_2_icon_has=”1″ item_2_icon_types=”general foundicon-checkmark” item_2_icon_bgr_colors=”otw-b-orange-flat-bgr” item_2_icon_brd_width=”otw-b-bd-1px” item_2_title=”Layout Bricks” item_2_content=”Lay bricks on level ground to form a 48 inch by 48 inch square. If using old bricks be sure to chip off old mortar with a chisel and hammer. Wear goggles to protect eyes when using chisel and hammer.” item_3_icon_has=”1″ item_3_icon_types=”general foundicon-checkmark” item_3_icon_bgr_colors=”otw-b-orange-flat-bgr” item_3_icon_brd_width=”otw-b-bd-1px” item_3_title=”Create Form” item_3_content=”Pile up some moist sand in the center of the brick base. This creates the form which will be covered with the clay and will be removed after clay has been added to form oven’s interior. The size of the pile will determine the interior size of the oven.” item_4_icon_has=”1″ item_4_icon_types=”general foundicon-checkmark” item_4_icon_bgr_colors=”otw-b-orange-flat-bgr” item_4_icon_brd_width=”otw-b-bd-1px” item_4_title=”Prepare Clay” item_4_content=”Spread the tarp out on the area next to the oven location. Mix your clay soil with some water on tarp until it is the consistency of modeling clay. Add builder’s sand if necessary. The clay should feel sticky, oily, and somewhat greasy. When digging for clay soil avoid using the top few inches of dirt, called topsoil.” item_5_icon_has=”1″ item_5_icon_types=”general foundicon-checkmark” item_5_icon_bgr_colors=”otw-b-orange-flat-bgr” item_5_icon_brd_width=”otw-b-bd-2px” item_5_title=”Cover the Form” item_5_content=”Cover the pile of moist sand (form built in Step 4) with wet newspaper to approximately 1/8 inch thickness. This prevents the clay from sticking to the sand form.” item_6_icon_has=”1″ item_6_icon_types=”general foundicon-checkmark” item_6_icon_bgr_colors=”otw-b-orange-flat-bgr” item_6_icon_brd_width=”otw-b-bd-2px” item_6_title=”Build Up Clay” item_6_content=”Place the clay mixture on the newspaper-covered form until it is 3 to 4 inches thick. Make sure the clay is an even thickness on the form.” item_7_icon_has=”1″ item_7_icon_types=”general foundicon-checkmark” item_7_icon_bgr_colors=”otw-b-orange-flat-bgr” item_7_icon_brd_width=”otw-b-bd-2px” item_7_title=”Pack Clay/Add Layers” item_7_content=”Pack clay with the flat board until clay fits solidly against the form. If the clay sticks to board more drying time is needed. When the clay is completely dry you can add more layers if desired. More layers hold more heat and reduce cooking time.” item_8_icon_has=”1″ item_8_icon_types=”general foundicon-checkmark” item_8_icon_bgr_colors=”otw-b-orange-flat-bgr” item_8_icon_brd_width=”otw-b-bd-2px” item_8_title=”Make a Door” item_8_content=”Determine the width and height of the oven door. A good size is approximately one-half the height of the oven and 16 inches wide. Scratch an arch in the clay with the carving knife where you want the oven door. Cut a hole to the shape and size of the oven door.” item_9_icon_has=”1″ item_9_icon_types=”general foundicon-checkmark” item_9_icon_bgr_colors=”otw-b-orange-flat-bgr” item_9_icon_brd_width=”otw-b-bd-2px” item_9_title=”Dig Out Sand” item_9_content=”Dig out the sand form when the clay walls are thoroughly dry. It is not important to remove all the newspaper as it will burn away on the first firing. Drying may take days, or weeks depending on weather.” item_10_icon_has=”1″ item_10_icon_types=”general foundicon-checkmark” item_10_icon_bgr_colors=”otw-b-orange-flat-bgr” item_10_icon_brd_width=”otw-b-bd-2px” item_10_title=”Season the Oven” item_10_content=”Pile firewood toward the back of the oven using kindling size and larger. Lite fire and keep fire going for two to three hours until any black soot inside oven has disappeared. This process also burns off any remaining newspaper.” item_display_connector=”0″ item_icon_possition=”otw-b-info-list-left” item_icon_sizes=”otw-b-icon-small” item_box_brd_width=”otw-b-bd-2px” item_box_brd_style=”otw-b-bd-solid” item_box_brd_color=”otw-b-green-flat-bd” item_box_shadow=”shadow-b-large” item_box_bgr_pattern=”pattern-b pattern-b-4″][/otw_shortcode_info_list]

 

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