Pizza Ovens Ireland
An Easy Guide to Building your own Outdoor Wood Fired Pizza Oven
With photos showing you the way
Full Instructions - Free

Pizza Oven Project - Build your own Wood-Fired-Oven - Start to Finish
 When I was contemplating building a Wood Fired Pizza Oven,  I had never heard of some of the the materials I was advised to use by other sites (mostly American).   So I decided to keep a photographic record and put the images on here with snippets of advise so anyone with a modicum of skill and a few easy tools can build a fantastic Pizza Oven.  I spent over €500 but, because I did it in stages, it  didn't feel so bad.  I'd wait until I had a spare €100 or so, and then go and get whatever materials I needed for that stage.  This oven gets up to temperatures of way over 400c degrees.  It cooks pizzas in less than 2 minutes.  Best Pizzas we have ever tasted!!  I hope the pages are of some use to you so you can join in the Woodfired Pizza Oven phenomenon.
I made up the oven as I went along but I kept to the principles that I learned from the internet:  The three most important things you must remember are Fire-Bricks, Insulation and Insulation.  And the insulation has to be of the right kind.  All available in Ireland.  It's easy! Please be aware that I am not a professional and I share these images and information on one condition:  You are responsible for your own Pizza Oven.  
In the twenty-one  Pizza Ovens Ireland images below, the text goes with the photo above it. Click the photos for large size and use your back button to get back on page. Page 2 is here

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First thing is to decide on site for oven, and dig out a foundation.  The ovens are extremely heavy when finished and you don't want to see any cracks.  I suggest at least 4 or five inches of concrete. The perimeter where the walls are to be built should be at least six inches and put some iron bar into that part of the foundation. Just like you would for a decent shed. I was lucky that I was building where there had been a small shed and the foundation came in handy.  I still put in several inches of concrete and reinforced with iron bar.
Tools needed:
Level, Trowel, Set-square, Shovel, Wheelbarrow, Hammer, Chisel, Nails, Gloves, Measuring-tape
This photo shows the basics of the build.  I recommend 60 inches wide (1524mm) even though my support area was somewhat short of that. I used cavity-blocks which are available at all builders merchants.  They measure approx 45 x 23 cm.  Easy to handle (with gloves) and after the first few you'll be building like a pro.  One of the most important tools in your arsenal will be a spirit level.  I use two -  a long one and a short one.  Sometimes the short one is handier.  After I laid the floor with reinforced perimeter for the walls, I let it dry for at least 24 hours before starting with the blocks.  I mixed mortar for blocks at 5 parts sand to 1 part cement. Please remember that you must break the joints.  In other words, be prepared to cut ocasional blocks with a chisel so that a block on top of a block starts half way along. My blockwork is dismal but strong and straight!  There is always the option to plaster it at a later stage.  This is only four blocks high, but the base of the oven (which goes on top of this structure) will be many centimetres higher. Use gloves and old boots - preferably steel toe-capped boots - when working with blocks and cement.  

 

 

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Now you must put in a really strong base for the oven. Several sites show how the experts do it with 'shuttering' and props, and sheets of plywood onto which you pour concrete and iron bars.  I took the easy way out (if a bit more expensive.  I went to a local concrete products place and bought reinforced lintels.  These are pre-stressed and contain an iron bar core.  I created the entire base out of these and can relax knowing they will not crack.

I hate using grinders.  I have used them in the past and I have also seen accidents to other people.  If you are unsure, get the concrete place to cut them to the exact size you want.  If you cut them yourself, you must cut the cement through and this falls off to reveal the core of iron sticking out.  Change the concrete cutting disc to a metal cutting disc and cut these off.  Are you sure you want to use a grinder?

This untidy photo shows the lintels have been cemented into place, and the bricks purchased for the front of base.  I just used a couple of 4 inch blocks and some stones to create a narrower opening.  I used the wooden lintel to hold the bricks just because I had the wooden piece! A metal bar or another lintel will also work. 

 

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You'll have to learn how to lay the bricks by trial and error.  Use a small trowel and the small level.  The longer level is handy for holding against the bricks to see if they are flat across.  Note the overlap of the top outermost lintel and the bricks.  This is to allow some cement-plaster later on the blocks. Keep the stones proud as well so that they look like a feature.  I was lucky to have some rounded river cobbles.  The void underneath the support structure is wasted on my oven but could have been used to keep tools and firewood.  At present I just have firewood at front of opening as an ornament.

 

 

This image shows how to install the top bricks.  Obvious to those who have done it before but not obvious to those who have not used cement before.  Again I used a 5:1 mix and tried to keep everything as straight as possible.  The last row of bricks on top will have to be 'buttered' on top with mortar before inserting them.  Try not to have the mortar too wet and keep it off the front of the bricks.  Used a piece of curved pipe to get a nice finish between the brick.

My poor car!  I have seventy or eighty firebricks in there and two bags of Cement Fondu.  Cement Fondu is more heat resistant that ordinary cement and this oven is all about heat.  The tub is 25kg of Refractory Cement.  This product has extraordinary properties and is far superior than ordinary fire-cement.  It is used to lay firebricks but the gaps cannot be more than 5mm. Less is better! I also used three large bags of vermiculite and  twenty or thirty ordinary bricks for front. Regular cement and sand will suffice for front and for support blockwork.
Nine prestressed concrete Lintels 

One Pizza Oven Dome with Door!

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This is the step where you feel you are actually starting to build the oven.  I spent a lot of time planning the setting of the bricks etc.  It's at this stage that you need to be aware of what you are aiming for, so you can leave enough room for the various bricks and insulation cavities. I should have made a bigger base but managed to build with what I had. You will be glad you kept everything square and level. Of course the firebricks cannot be laid firectly onto the concrete base.   You need insulation!!  Otherwise all that valuable heat would pass straight through the bricks. Read on!!

The image above shows a frame made from 50mm wooden offcuts. This frame was levelled and filled with Vermiculute concrete.  I now realise I could have gone even thicker with the vermiculite base.  Vermiculite is readily available from builders suppliers.  It is an extrordinary product and is used for soundproofing and insulation.  It is also used in building where weight is a consideration as vermiculite concrete, while not having the load-bearing qualities of regular concrete is extremely light.

This is V.I.P.
The firebrick base that you are going to put on top of the vermiculite base needs to be dead level, so take your time.   Vermiculite is mixed with water. It drinks water!  (I mixed in a wheelbarrow) Make sure it is wet before you fill the frame and  and draw a baton across the top - then trowel level.  The function of Firebricks is to absorb and hold extreme heat!!  The function of the Vermiculite is to STOP the extreme heat from escaping from the firebricks.

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You will eventually need to heat the firebricks to extreme temperature and keep the heat in them!  Your oven will also be enveloped in insulation for the same reason. The construction of your oven has two major tasks.  Provide great heat and retain that heat. Ciment Fondu (readily available) has far greater properties than ordinary cement when it comes to working with high temperatures.
I used a Cement Fondu mix to raise and to level my vermiculite base. The bricks are laid on a this spread of Refractory Cement (from the tup in the boot of car in earlier photo). I also put a thin spread of  refractory cement between the firebricks.

I deliberately made this look complicated to impress people, but it's not at all complicated. From the left: 100mm Concrete block, piece of wood/brick to represent the gap for later insulation. The pencilled line is from the oven dome which I put up for a dry run after the bricks had set. Remember the bricks are on a thin spread of the refractory cement.  I should have had a larger base but made do.  100mm either side would have made things easier. I had to put a firebrick on each side to carry the dome.  But, it worked!! The red bricks and firewood are there to hold the dome while measureing.

It was a bit alarming to see that the dome I had bought for €300 didn't have a straight edge to it. A bit worrying since I had been advised not to have large gaps for the Refractory Cement I was planning to use. I ended up cutting firebrick wedges with a small grinder.  The wedges were put in place where needed with a thin spread of Refractory Cement on either side. I wondered if I should have built a firebrick tunnel shaped oven!  But the end result was fantastic and the pizzas ....heavenly.

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Here's another view of the gaps in the dome I had purchased.  You can see why I was worried. I spent time with camera and sent emails to supplier. Rotating the sections made no difference as they were all the same. Be sure to check the dome before driving away with it. Everything had been made with attention to detail so it was annoying having to cut wedges and make do.

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Before fitting the dome in place, it is important to put in more vermiculite cement around the brick base. This will have to be done with a frame that surrounds the firebricks. You need to keep that heat in.  Believe me, the pizzas will taste great! You can see the extra brick I used on either side to accomodate the dome base.
This is page 1 of the Pizza Ovens Ireland site.  (Use the links below to navigate.)
Spend some time looking at this. You are planning the landing area of the oven. Have a look at later stage photos to see what I mean. The Vermiculite surround has set and you can see that I have barely enough room to build the outer walls (L&R) which will contain the oven and the the insulation.

Contact:
edoriordan@gmail.com
Cutting the wedges of firebrick before starting the final installation of oven dome.  The dome is made of material similar to the firebrick and with the same qualities. Remember, It has to retain fantastic heat and the insulation will keep it in there! If you don't like using a grinder get a friend who is used to this work.  They are extremely dangerous in inexperienced hands.
Click Here for Page 2 of
Pizza Ovens Ireland
with lots more photos of Pizza Oven D.I.Y
Pizza Ovens Ireland Page 3 Pizza Ovens Ireland Page 4

Using your oven & making dough