Wood-fired Oven: Part 2 - The Construction

The oven arrived long before we were ready to install it and it taunted us for months from the front lawn. By mid-July the courtyard between the two buildings was finally finished. Our carpenter built the cinder block and concrete base and my husband and our mason got to work preparing the base for the installation of the Panyol oven core.

First, recycled bricks from our former fireplace were cemented in place around the perimeter of the base to contain the first layer of insulation

A 3-inch vermiculite and concrete slab was poured over the base and then 3 inches of sand were poured on top of that. The terre blanche hearth tiles were carefully placed over the sand.

The next step was tricky: the wedge-shaped stones (voussoirs) had to fit snugly and evenly around the keystone (the round stone at the top of the oven).

All of the gaps between the voussoirs were filled with refractory cement and then the whole oven was covered with the same cement.

The chimney throat was put in place.

Our mason cut a beautiful piece of local sandstone for the lintel.

The outer walls were built up with more of the recycled brick and an insulating layer of mineral wool was placed against the inside of brick walls. Heavy-duty aluminum foil was wrapped around the core to keep sand from falling through any cracks that may form between the voussoirs in the oven core (inevitable due to the constant small earthquakes that we experience in this area). 1100 pounds of a sand/vermiculite mixture was poured over the oven core for insulation.

A standard wood stove chimney was attached to the chimney throat and some leftover roofing from the house was added. A concrete ledge was bolted to the front and the oven was ready to fire. Stay tuned for Part 3: Firing the Oven.