My adventures in building a brick oven in my backyard
December 2004


Monday 11/29/2004 While the concrete cladding is drying I started laying the first course of 4" concrete blocks.


Saturday 12/04/04 Continuing to work on the facade. Check out the curves.


Saturday 12/04/04 I called it a day after laying two more courses of brick.


Sunday 12/05/04 On Sunday I only laid one course of bricks and then started working on the sides.


Sunday 12/05/04 I decided to fill up the front gaps with brick leftovers and layers of mortar. This gives me some kind of "Home Blended" concrete.


Sunday 12/05/04 Once dry, I will be able to stack 12" by 12" blocks on top.


Wednesday 12/08/04 The first 12" block is in place. We're currently debating how many we will stack on top of each other.


Wednesday 12/08/04 The first and second row of 4" blocks were bonded together by 14 inch pieces of rebar and concrete.


Wednesday 12/08/04 Current front view. I'm still waiting for the chimney flue liner to come in. Until then, I can't finish the brickwork.


Saturday 12/11/01 The side gaps are filled with a vermiculite/cement mixture.


Saturday 12/11/01 I slightly underestimated the amount of vermiculte I was going to need. I bought 10 cubic feet and this is how far I got.


Saturday 12/11/01 Two extra 12" blocks were added on the sides.


Saturday 12/11/01 Chimney flue.


Sunday 12/12/04 Looking down into the chimney.

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Sunday 12/12/04 Two pieces of angle iron will hold up the flue.


Sunday 12/12/04 A second piece of angle iron will hold up the bricks.


Sunday 12/12/04 Everything gets filled in with bricks.


Sunday 12/12/04 Looking up from the bottom of the chimney.


Sunday 12/12/04 The chimney has been closed in and now I have to figure out how to build it up to the top of the flue.


Thursday 12/16/04 I got two more bags of vermiculite to cover the rest of the oven.


Thursday 12/16/04 The two bags covered everything but I will buy one last bag so I can bring the thickness of the insulation to 6 inches.


Thursday 12/16/04 I also added two flat coral stones on both sides.


Saturday 12/18/2004 Before I covered the thing with stucco, I needed to make sure there was some kind of ventilation in case moisture got trapped in the vermiculite. I decided to place three stainless steel tubes in the vermiculite.
The reason why I went with this system is because I my father-in-law had these pipes laying around and he suggested it might be a good solution.
I agreed.



Saturday 12/18/2004 Every inch I made a small incision on both sides of the tube so that moisture (steam) could easily escape from it.
In case you are wondering: It does work.


Saturday 12/18/2004 I started a very small fire to help dry out any moisture left in the oven.


Saturday 12/18/2004 Woohoo. Exciting!


Saturday 12/18/2004 Good draft.


Saturday 12/18/2004 Aaaahhhhh.....


Sunday 12/19/2004 A first layer of stucco is applied.


Sunday 12/19/2004 One layer of rabbit fence for strength.


Sunday 12/19/2004 This is how the oven looks after 3 layers. The lines in the stucco are there on purpose. It facilitates the bonding between layers.


Tuesday 12/28/2004 At first the oven turns black because of the soot. When the bricks get really hot, the soot burns off. When there is no more soot left in the oven, it's said to be "white hot". You will want a white hot oven for baking foods.


Tuesday 12/28/2004 To limit the amount of fresh (i.e. cold) air that can come into the oven I made a draft door. The next day I found out how fast wooden contraptions catch fire.


Wednesday 12/29/2004 Tonight's temperature reading is brought to you by Ybor Gold. The dome peaked at about 550F and the hearth at 620F. I took about 2.5 hours to heat up.


Wednesday 12/29/04 We decided to take advantage of the heat and make our very first pizza.


Wednesday 12/29/04 This pizza was baked at 550F. Note that the oven is "white hot".


Wednesday 12/29/04 Four minutes later. Yummy! Soon I will bake them at 750F which is the ideal temperature for pizza's.




I completed my challenge succesfully. On December 31st we had a pizza party at our house. We baked 18 pizzas in a row and everybody LOVED the pizza.

Here is a picture of me and pizza Nr. 15 that evening.


Although the oven was functional, cosmetically it was far from done...


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