One of our first projects this season was this cob oven project. We wanted a way to be able to make things like bread, pizza and other baked goodies. Also, this was good practice for building the cob cabin that we build later in the season.
What you can’t see: Daniel collected the rocks that were to ultimately become the base for our oven. He fit them together, stacking and re-stacking them until they make sense in a structurally sound way. Then we unloaded them in an order that could be reproduced so that we could put a layer of mortar in-between.
Below you can see two courses of the foundation in place:
The final structure has three courses and a huge slab of stone that serves as the bridge over the hollow cavern that we built.
Getting the top stones in place was a bit of a logical nightmare, but with some coaxing and shifting around we found a suitable configuration. We had to make sure that we created something generally level so that we wouldn’t have such a hard time laying the fire bricks down.
We placed our firebricks on a layer of cob and here we are using a 2×4 to make them level by hitting it with a rubber mallet. We probably could’ve added more bricks but we bought ten and decided that a trip into town to get more would be superfluous. In the end, we can’t make huge pizzas but it doesn’t matter, we make Italy-inspired personal pizzas that are delicious (with a little crunch….due to errant coal bits).
Daniel is using the 2×4 to measure where the door might be and help visualize the height of the actual oven.
The finished product is a sweet little foundation with level(ish) firebricks and room underneath for a woodpile that “jamie” will later decide not to burn but to keep for decoration and a home for the pack rat (Chester). The design and placement of the oven was chosen by Daniel, he has a keen eye for these types of things. We started building the oven before the rest of the “kitchen” was even put in place. Now after all is said and done, this may not have been the best place for the oven, but that’s OK. For future cob projects for cob novices out there, more time thinking equals less time lamenting over a thousand pound structure that cannot be moved.
Stay tuned for the meat on this oven-skeleton.