One of our recent projects was to research and build a clay oven. That part would have been challenging enough but we’re also – as we always try to do at Dryads Rest – using mostly if not all local and found supplies. Free is always the ultimate. So here we go –
Location chosen – the first one should be close by so we can easily make and use it. We settled on a spot far enough to not have smoke be coming in any doors or windows, but close enough to access easily. By the garage, sheltered under the eaves seemed good.
Using salvaged parts of shipping boxes and pallets, a stand is assembled. We laid a floor of a couple layers of plywood then built a frame of 2×6, filling the bed with sand. Above that we laid brick, filling with more sand. We included a pipe for increased air intake.
Trimmed pallet planks finished the base sides. Local clay was laid on the oven floor, about an inch thick. We found a stove door, how lucky was that! Bricks set around the door (using a metal flat bar to support the bricks in back) Sides begin to rise…
Day Two of clay – more work with the walls, I found a mallet and my fists to be equally good to pound the clay into place. Finished setting the bricks..
Day Three of claywork – more clay, more pounding, pushing, shaping. Walls continue to rise. Much care and attention is given to smoothing the insides as I go. The dome top is taking shape.
Day Four of claywork – still more clay, more pounding, , pushing, shaping. Working clay gives you a workout! At this point the walls are about 5-6 inches thick, closer to 4 inches at the top. The dome is finished! much smoothing goes on. At the end of the fourth day of claywork I am a muddy mess! But the oven looks great. I had been concerned about the oven needing a support structure to build, but we didn’t need it. So far we don’t regret that decision..
I built a quickie shelter for our newly finished oven and good thing too – we had torrential downpour that night and the next day. Once the weather cleared, I set to building the first fire, to start the drying process. It took awhile because it’s still so damp in there but soon got the coals going.
That’s the progress so far. Cost at this point: $0 – all scrounged.