Pizza Ovens Ireland
An Easy Guide to Building your own Outdoor Pizza Oven
With photos showing you the way
This is Page 2 - The Oven Dome


Click here for Page 1 of Pizza Ovens Ireland  which contains the first twenty-one images of How to Build a Wood-Fired Pizza Oven.  

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So, the base is made, the wedges for filling in 'dome imperfections' are made. This is the exciting stuff! In the image above of the pizza dome sections propped up, you will notice how tightly the fire-bricks are laid with the refractory cement beneath and between the bricks.  Don't use inferior bricks,  as this brick surface will be where you cook your delicious pizzas and you will want it to remain serviceable for many years. Only firebricks and an oven made from quality fireclay will suffice for the over 400C temps you will achieve.

Do a dry run before using the cement.  The pencil lines will be your guide as to where the refractory cement is to be spread. Try not to get it all over the place! Mark the sections 1,2,3,4, and use a pencil to mark the wedges. Wedges need to be large enough to fill the gaps but slender enough to allow a spread of refractory cement on either side. Always keep a level, a set-square, and a tape measure within reach. 



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A good photo to study so you can decided how you are going to create the landing area when taking out pizza.  Note the perfectly fitting door but the gaps under section.  No worries!  The wedges will fix this. The side walls which enclose the oven have been started with 100mm blocks.
The Vermiculite cement can be cut with a chisel to accomodate your personal plan. I cut mine to take a fire-brick tile approx 75mm (1.5 inches) thick and 230mm square. Do remember to temporarily  strap the sections together at planning stage.

Fire!  What a satisfying moment this was (will be).  One of my family insisted on lighting a small candle in the oven just to mark the occasion.  You will notice I have done a bit of plastering on front of base walls.  The blocks extend over the side of the walls because I skimped when building.  I corrected this with judicious use of cement plaster which brought out the side walls of base support. You must have room for insulation between your traditional pizza oven and side walls.



This extraordinary material is a ceramic fibre blanket.  I am told that you can hold in in your hand and turn a blow-torch on the material and you feel no heat!  Do not try.  It is used to wrap the dome and is one of the stages you must not skimp on.  Remember, the dome will be heated to over 400 degrees and you must contain that heat!  Other wise you will be losing heat and wasting fuel. Ceramic Fibre Blanket is one of the best insulating materials on the planet! It is used extensively in furnaces and pottery Kilns.



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Cut Sections of Ceramic Fibre Blanket and stick it to the dome with blobs of refractory cement. You know you are making progress when you have to start using a ladder Having covered the entire dome with an extra layer on top of dome, wrap netting wire around the entire dome; this is to allow you to cover the dome in Vermiculite Cement.  The wire holds the wet cement in place.  Ingenious. This is a bit messy but the wire makes it work.  Tie the wire across the opening to secure it.  It can be trimmed later. Keep a water bottle nearby for wetting. A regular 'plasterer's trowel' is ideal and keep a small 'ordinary trowel' to hand as well.

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This is the vermiculite cement being mixed.  It takes a lot of water.  Use cement fondu.  Remember that the water takes time to dry out.  Letting it dry out naturally is best.  Instructions for mixing will be given later.
Don't be in a rush to set a fire in your oven until the vermiculite has had a chance to dry!
When the coating of Vermiculite cement/concrete has dried (almost) you must put on another coat.  three or four inches is recommended.  I managed to get the three inches on. You won't get another chance to add more after th roof goes on, so don;t skimp now.  I must say that even at 450c degrees in the oven, there is no heat escaping thought the insulation as described here. What is Vermiculite?
Vermiculite is a mineral that is widely used as an insulating product.  It it also has many uses in garden nurseries including being used as a growing medium.  When mixed as a concrete - in situations where dry product is unsuitable - it is a magnificent insulating product.  Best mixed with Cement Fondu.




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