Superior Clay Bake Oven Workshop
May 9-10, 2001

at Wildacres Retreat,
Little Switzerland, North Carolina

Instructor: Jerry Frisch
Photos by Norbert Senf

8" concrete block base is laid out 56" x 68" and 32" high.

The inside of the oven is 36" in diameter and the walls will be about 8" thick so the base should be about 56" wide and 68" long to allow a 12" counter or hearth extension in front of the oven entrance.

Corbel slabs or a poured in place slab is used to cover the base.

Wood can be stored underneath.

The concrete base is covered with 2" of insulation such as rigid board, vermiculite concrete, foamglas, or Ytong (aerated concrete)

Firebrick is set in a levelling bed of clay or sand. The joints between the bricks are set dry.

A template is used to draw a 36" diameter circle.

Set first base piece segment centered at the back and the remaining four segments are set two to the left and two to the right of center piece.

Lay a bed of refractory mortar......
and set the dome.
Set the entrance tunnel on firebrick to match up with segmented pieces and dome so that inside of tunnel is 12" tall - or two thirds of the height of the 18" tall oven dome.

Parge oven with mortar and brick to make oven walls 6" to 8" thick. Thinner walls heat up and cool down faster. If the walls are too think the oven may not get hot enough.

Over the 6" to 8" oven walls apply 2" of insulating mortar made with three parts perlite to one part lime. The insulation is important even if the oven is part of a larger masonry chimney to insure the oven heats up.

Add a final coat or mortar or stucco to protect the oven if it's an outdoor oven. This step can be eliminated if the oven is built as part of a larger fireplace and chimney.

The oven will be ready to cure in 24 hours. At first build a small fire in the tunnel entrance under the flue. Gradually add wood and move the fire back into the oven. After the oven gets warm the fire or coals can be raked to one side toward the back and the geometry of the dome will keep the heat uniformly distributed.

A metal cover for the entrance can be made. Set the cover at the outside of the entrance when there's a fire in the oven. Push the cover into the tunnel past the flue opening to clos off the flue and conserve heat after the fire dies out.

Experiment and enjoy. The oven should be hot (700 degrees F) for pizzas and quick breads, 350 degrees F for meats and baked foods, 200 degrees F or cooler for smoking, simmering and warming.

Cooking Fireplaces and Bake Ovens
Old Design Small Colonial Periodic Ovens

Masonry Bake Ovens

Superior Clay Bake Ovens
Buckley Rumford Fireplaces
Copyright 1996 - 2006 Jim Buckley
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