How to Build a Wood-Fired Outdoor Cob Oven for $20

DIY Cob Oven Project-Outdoor Pizza Oven- Build Your Own For $20

How to Build a Wood-Fired Outdoor Cob Oven for $20

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Have you ever considered building your outdoor pizza oven? It something extraordinary, the taste of a pizza cooked in a natural oven is unmistakable, superior to the regular gas oven.

The DIY Cob Oven Project ahead will aid you in this endeavour, step by step, in this simple and extremely rewardful project.

You can use a cob oven project to make bread, pizza or different cookies, the taste is extraordinary, unique and definitely worth experiencing.

Every project of course starts with a little planning. Think everything through and find the best place in your backyard to position the cob oven.

Take in consideration that you will entertain a lot around it and that it can look extremely well if realized with passion and determination.

By positioning it nearby a outdoor fireplace you will have whole lot to earn, the warmth and coziness of a fireplace and the taste of a naturally cooked dinner will surely create a special atmosphere.

The base of the oven can be realized with wooden logs, upcycled bricks or local rocks such as flagstones, as showcased below. This base will give you the comfort of working on a decent height, without hurting your back. Moreover the base protects the oven from rain and snow, allowing it to maintain the heat for much longer and giving it extended usability during the unfriendly season.

After determining the area covered by the base it is time to work on height. Overlap the materials up to the desired height. Fill the center that would isolate the base of the future even from the earth further more.

You can use sand, empty glass bottles or basalt rocks.

This layer should be stable so if you choose to use empty glass bottles, which are highly effective thanks to the air that they will contain, make sure that you have used some earth to fix them into place.

Carefully flatten and level the top of the base now. It is time to lay the foundation of your future cob oven with firebricks. Make sure that you have the right set of bricks or the effort will be in vain. Fire bricks retain heat, allowing your oven to release it onto your food goods.

After positioning the bricks in the center it is time draw the future center of the cob oven and imagine how it will look. Here your pizza will be baked . It should be round to ensure that the heat is retained evenly by all sides.

Make sure that the front door, the three bricks below, is being protected by fire brick as well.

It would be useful to ensure that walls are making contact with fire bricks in the interior and not with base directly, in this manner you will keep the heat in the oven far longer.

If you have the time and will, sift the sand that will go into the making of the cob mixture. This will ensure a better quality and a longer life.

Shape the negative, the mould with wet sand, on which you will stick the cob mixture. This is basically the shape of the cavity inside the oven. Mark the center to keep track of the desired height. In this case 16″.

Bellow showcased the finished mould in wet sands resides. It will be covered in cob mix on the nest step but give it some time to dry.

Cover the mould with some wet newspaper to keep the mould`s shape still while you slap the wet cob on top of it.

Mixing the cob is no easy job. 2 parts sand, one part clayish soil, some chopped straw as a binder and water, these materials have been used. If you want to spice things up use some premium horse manure, it will help the mixture bind even more.

Work on DIY projects with love or do not work at all.

“Work is Love made visible. And if you cannot work with love, but only with distaste, it is better that you leave your work and sit at the temple and take alms of those who work with joy. For if you bake your bread with indifference, you bake a bitter bread that feeds but half our hunger.”

Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet

It is time. Starting from the bottom up it`s time to lay the first layer, do your best to keep it at an even thickness. Wait the first layer to dry up a little, not entirely, before you go on with the next layers.

Take note that the height of the top inside of the oven, basically the highest point of the dome, needs to be  x 1.6 the height of the door opening. In this project the door opening was 10″ and as a result the highest point of the dme was at 16″. This ensures optimal air and heat circulation when the oven is being heated up with fire inside.

Adding the last layer.

In the end, the whole thing looked a lot a giant frog so we’ve decided to ensure that the oven is perceived that way. This act made our cob oven far far more graphic and appealing.

The finished Frog Horno with the wooden door in place

You are done. Start by making a 15 minute fire, everyday, for a week. These daily heat injections will make the cob oven more durable. Cooking comes next. Get creative and enjoy the results of your extraordinary cob oven.

What do you think about DIY Cob Oven Project? Would you be interested in using one outdoors for your special pizza recipe? Please take note that these can be realized indoors as well, in a shed or similar establishment. All you have to do is to ensure that the furnace has another air to function and allow you to breathe as well.

Photo Courtesy to


DIY Wood-Fired Outdoor Brick Pizza Ovens Are Not Only Easy to Build – They Add Incredible Property Value

How to Build a Wood-Fired Outdoor Cob Oven for $20

LYNDEN, Wash., June 13, 2018 ( – One of the biggest misconceptions about wood-fired outdoor pizza ovens is the cost.

 While landscape contractors and masons routinely quote custom-built brick ovens in the same ballpark as a gently used 4×4, the truth is, building an outdoor pizza oven from locally sourced construction materials is actually quite inexpensive.

Cinder block is cheap, concrete and mortar are cheap, bricks are cheap … and almost all the building materials can be found at the local big-box hardware store. The biggest investment in building a DIY wood-fired outdoor pizza oven from BrickWood Ovens is time – typically three weekends.

Now, before running to Google and typing DIY Pizza Oven or How to Build a Pizza Oven and viewing endless pages of wood-fired ovens made from empty beer bottles, mud and straw, be aware that there is a science to building a properly performing DIY outdoor pizza oven (and it doesn’t involve mud or beer bottles).

 First and foremost, when building a DIY pizza oven, the oven depth, height, width and chimney placement must be precise for proper air-flow. Second, the use of high-temperature refractory materials that are designed to withstand temperatures in excess of 1,200 degrees is required.

 Following these two simple rules will ensure the homemade pizza oven’s performance and longevity well into the year 2222.

BrickWood Ovens has taken the mystery building a DIY pizza oven.

They offer four different types of DIY outdoor pizza oven kits and each kit comes with a set of easy-to-follow pizza oven plans that detail every step of the construction process.

 Even with zero masonry experience, by following their highly illustrated and overly detailed installation instructions, hosting a pizza party in less than a month can easily become a reality.

Their most popular DIY pizza oven kit on the market is the Mattone Barile series oven form. It’s a 4,000-year-old design – the half barrel. Since the dawn of man, the barrel-shaped oven has cooked vegetables, meats and breads using clean-burning firewood.

 BrickWood Ovens manufactures a perfectly sized barrel-shaped foam form that allows the oven builder to simply place fire brick between pre-marked ridges on the form then mortaring the fire bricks into place with high-temperature mortar.

Once the mortar is dry, simply remove the foam form and finish the oven exterior.

The second most popular DIY pizza oven kit is the dome-shaped Mattone Cupola. This style of oven is identical to those expensive pre-fabricated ovens that sit in the backyards of million-dollar-homes but at a fraction of the cost.

This style of oven features a low, dome-shaped ceiling for evenly angled convection cooking/baking and since it’s made with thick castable refractory, the oven can hold its heat for days.

 But what makes this oven a DIYers' dream project is the fact that this oven can be built in just two hours! Simply pour and pack locally purchased Castable Refractory into the Mattone Cupola foam mold, cover and let dry for five days.

 After five days, remove the foam and finish the exterior of the oven.

New this year is the BrickWood Box – a DIY wood-fired meat smoker, BBQ, pig roaster, rotisserie, fryer and bread/pizza oven that is being billed as “The World's Most Versatile, Longest Lasting, Outdoor Cooking System.

” Un today’s disposable BBQs and smokers, the BrickWood Box is made with insulated brick and block and all the cooking components are made in the USA with extra-thick stainless steel.

 It’s another DIY oven kit from BrickWood Ovens that will be around in the year 2222.

BrickWood Ovens owners are passionate about their ovens too. BrickWood Ovens owner Catherine Claridge explains, “You would be surprised at the amount of emails we get from customers stating that they hired a fork-lift to move their existing oven to a new home.

 And many of our repeat buyers tell us that when they sold their home, part of the agreement was the wood-fired oven stays with the house.

 We’ve also received several emails from customers that stated their $1,500 pizza oven was appraised at $8,000 or even $10,000 during the appraisal process.”

“I love listings that feature an outdoor wood-fired brick pizza oven,” states John Irion, a RE/MAX real estate agent in Lynden, Washington. “Pizza ovens not only add a monetary value to the listing price of a home, but they also make the properties memorable for those shopping for a new home – especially for buyers that to cook or entertain outdoors.”

On the other end of the spectrum, several customers have built a low-cost BrickWood Oven just to sell a home. Mesa, Arizona, resident Fred Lewis attributes his backyard pizza oven to the success of selling his golf course home. “In 2011, you couldn’t give away homes in Mesa.

 We had our home on the market for over a year and only had two quick showings. My son suggested we build an inexpensive pizza oven to boost the home's curb appeal.

 We purchased a barrel-shaped pizza oven kit from BrickWood Ovens and all the construction materials locally from Marvel Materials and built our oven in three weekends. Two weeks after the oven was completed, we had an offer on the house.

 The buyer's agent told us the family that bought our home always referred to our home as 'the pizza oven house,' so yeah, that oven sold our home.”

Keep in mind, adding value to the home doesn’t always mean monetary value. It also means the value of cherished family memories. BrickWood Ovens promotes involving everyone in the construction of the family-friendly pizza oven project.

 The time spent with kids, grandkids or even grandparents in the construction of the family oven is a priceless treasure everyone will remember. In addition, the basic masonry skills learned while building the pizza oven will last a lifetime.

To learn more about BrickWood Ovens' low-cost DIY Pizza Oven kits and their 4.9 5 stars BrickWood Ovens Review rating, please visit Be sure to visit the BrickWood Ovens Photo Gallery, a showcase of thousands of customer-submitted photos and videos of BrickWood Ovens in various stages of construction.

Media Contact:Kevin ClaridgePhone: 360.635.5500



Building “Toastie,” Our First Wood-Fired Cob Oven

How to Build a Wood-Fired Outdoor Cob Oven for $20

(as reported in our newsletter, July 2001)

No Loafing Around: A great crew gathered this past weekend, and now there’s a fabulous wood-fired bread oven on the farm, made by many hands natural materials. It’s almost done — it just needs a little time to dry out and cure, and then get ready for some great breads and pizza!

How will it work? You build a fire in the oven, to heat it up. Then you scoop the fire out and put your bread inside, and close the door. The oven’s innermost layer holds the heat and humidity at the perfect levels for baking (and there’s a smoky twang too!).

Step 1: The Pedestal, Door and Form
When the crew arrived Saturday morning, they found a pedestal for the oven all ready, built “urbanite” (concrete debris) by our guide Charles and Tom’s nephews from Germany. Charles had also formed an arched door and a baking floor brick. The crew molded the oven’s inside space sand…

Step 2: The Innermost Thermal Layer
The crew mixed natural clay and sand to form the inside thermal shell of the oven, and packed it over the sand mold, about 3 inches thick or so.

; then they took handfuls of rice straw, soaked them in clay slurry, and covered the inside shell with a thick insulating layer.

Then, on the next day, the crew used “peanut butter” (an adobe composed of clay, sand, and aged manure from Peanut, the farm pony) to top the straw layer with a protective shell, and added a decorative lizardy creature to be the oven’s happy guardian.

Step 3: The Insulating Layer
Then the crew took handfuls of rice straw, soaked them in clay slurry, and covered the inside shell with a thick insulating layer.

End of Day: The Insulating Layer is On!
The insulating layer is 4 inches thick or more; it serves to keep the heat inside the oven.

Step 4: The Topcoat of Cob (Adobe)
On the next day, the crew made “peanut butter” (an adobe composed of clay, sand, and aged manure from Peanut, the farm pony)…

Step 5: Finishing and Decorating
The crew used the “peanut butter” to top the straw layer with a protective cob shell, and added a decorative lizardy creature to be the oven’s happy guardian.

If you were there, then you remember digging sand the old paddock, and clay the hillside, and pushing the cart to fetch manure and straw. And measuring out shovelfuls onto an old tarp, and adding water, and people rushing in to dance this mess around.

Then everyone scooping up handfuls, and squishing it among their fingers, and loving the feel of it. And people and kids scooping the mix into buckets, and scooping it out again onto the oven’s sides and top, and gently patting it into place, and running their hands to make it as smooth as Buddha’s belly.

And people laughing and talking, kids running here and there, dogs barking, and the joyful fulfillment of the work of hands.


Build Your Own $20 Outdoor Cob Oven for Great Bread and Pizza

How to Build a Wood-Fired Outdoor Cob Oven for $20

Cob Oven Update! (1/26/2015): This $20 cob oven article has been the most popular entry on my website since I originally posted it. It’s been 5 years since I wrote it, and we’ve made significant improvements to the original design, resulting in a much better outdoor pizza oven.

I highly recommend reading the Better Outdoor Pizza Oven Plans if you’re interested in building one of these for yourself. The instructions there are much more detailed, too. Here’s the original article for posterity…

– – – – – –

I must admit, I’m a bit of a breadhead. Few things are as exciting to me as freshly baked bread with a dab of butter, or hot and greasy scallion pancakes, or fluffy and airy naan, or a pizza fresh from the hearth of a wood-fired cob oven. (That last one trumps all the others.) I thrive on bread. I love eating it, and of course I love making and baking it, too.

Earlier in the year, the idea of baking in the outdoors in a wood-fired oven became something of a romanticized (in every positive sense of the word) notion to me. It was soon obvious that I should build a cob oven, which would be fairly easy and quick to build, and quite cheap, too.

Compared to masonry ovens, which can cost hundreds or thousands of dollars and usually require pretty intense materials in their construction, a cob oven can be made from very simple, locally available materials.

(Although it must be said that masonry ovens undoubtedly have a longer lifespan!)

So I picked up a copy of Kiko Denzer’s Build Your Own Earth Oven, a little gem of a book covering the construction of cob ovens from the ground up. And in July, after I settled into my new house, I knew it was time to start building this oven I had been dreaming about, so I could finally make pizza the way it was meant to be baked: on a super hot brick hearth.

The Foundation

With little more than some clay, sand, sawdust, brick, some recycled beer bottles and old cinder blocks, I had everything I needed to make my own oven.

After familiarizing myself with Kiko’s design, I began building the foundation for my version from the reclaimed cinder blocks and a few chunks of urbanite.

A foundation raises the oven off of the ground and places it at a more convenient working height. (A hearth 40″ off the ground is a good average working height.)

The Fire Brick Oven Hearth

An insulating layer of beer bottles in a sawdust/clay mortar was assembled on top of the foundation in a ring of cob and beneath the firebrick hearth.

The hearth, a simple arrangement of 17 recycled firebricks, would serve as the bottom of the cob oven, where breads and pizzas would bake directly.

The hearth bricks were carefully laid on a thin bed of sand, so that they could be gently tapped to be firm and level.

(Laying out the beer bottles, and later, filling in with sawdust/clay mortar)

Sizing the Cob Oven

I chose to construct a 22.5″ diameter oven, deciding that anything bigger would be beyond my current needs, and after using it, it’s definitely proven to be the perfect size.

You can fit three medium-sized loaves of bread, or one or two small personal-sized pizzas in it at once.

And at this small size, the entire mass can be heated to about 700 degrees in two hours of solid firing with good wood.

Making a Brick Arch Doorway and Cob Dome

Before building the actual dome, I made an arched doorway with some reclaimed red brick, mortared with a sand/clay mix. (The doorway is a little narrow at 12 inches wide, but so far everything I’ve wanted to fit has slid right in.

And it can’t make really big pizzas, but I’m liking the smaller sized pies.) The cob dome (nothing more than a mix of sand and clay at a 3:1 ratio) was carefully built up around a moist sand form covered with wet newspaper and up against the brick arch.

The sand was piled the doorway after the dome had dried a bit.

(Tracing the brick arch to make a cardboard form, setting the bricks on the cardboard form)

(Finishing touches on the clay/sand mortar between bricks, then making a smooth sand form)

(Four inches of cob go up around the sand form, and later, the sand is dug out out the dome [interior view])

One more note about the door: the door is a critical 63% of the cob dome height, or 10″ high. (The dome is 16″ high, which is Kiko’s recommendation for cob ovens across the board.

) This one measurement is the most critical because it allows the oven to actually draw. You see, the door is left open while the oven is firing, so that cool air is drawn in, and hot air and smoke can pass out the top half of the door.

(Larger ovens frequently have a chimney, or you can make a simple firing door to help with draw, too.)

Cob Dome Insulation and Plaster

A several inch thick (between 2″-4″) layer of insulation (a mix of sawdust and clay slip) went over the whole dome. This layer helps to keep the heat longer, allowing for longer heat and longer bakes.

Cob ovens built strictly for pizza don’t require such a layer, and more serious bread bakers may want to double up on insulation thickness, since it will allow for the baking of many loaves.

Finally, a thick layer of earthen plaster covers and protects the whole thing.

(2-4 inches of sawdust/clay insulation is built up, and next is the nearly finished product with earth plaster and a door)

That is pretty much the whole oven. Pretty simple, huh? Kiko’s book is a fantastic resource for how to build your own, and I highly recommend it. I didn’t work on the oven very inconsistently (due to weather, etc.), but I imagine it took less than a week of actual construction between April and I. (And much of the time is spent waiting for things to dry, too.)

Baking Pizza in Your New Outdoor Oven

There is nothing quite wood-fired bread and pizza. Feeding the oven with wood, and watching the fire burn is an awesome experience. When the draw is just right, you can hear a low rumbling of the burning wood within the dome, which is rather powerful.

Other than being stupendous for baking tasty food, the oven is a great example of a simple technology that isn’t dependent on fossil fuels for its building or use. You need only simple natural and recycled materials for its construction, and wood to keep it baking.

Getting away from cooking with propane is certainly in my realm of interests, and the oven has proven itself to be an important piece of that goal. I hope to have another cob oven more integrated into our subcommunity’s full-on kitchen once it is under construction. This oven encompasses many of my loves: baking, cob, wood energy, and the DIY philosophy.

Not only that, it cost less than $20. (The firebricks were the only significant cost at $1 each.)

If you have any interest in baking, especially baking really damn tasty bread and pizza, or baking without propane or other fossil fuels, check out Kiko Denzer’s Build Your Own Earth Oven for complete details and how you can get started! I cannot recommend it enough.