After building the base and laying the firebricks it’s time to start building the dome! Exciting eh?!…but don’t get too carried away as there was still some prep to do before that.
It would be easy to go gung-ho and just go for it but if you want an oven that actually works then you’ll need to do this.
You will have thought about this when building the base but now is when you have to get specific. The height of the dome and door both affect the air circulation and heating, making its measurements essential.
|Internal Dimensions||Hearth Surface Area||Vault Height||Door Height||Door Width||Foundation||Pizzas (10″)|
|30″ diameter (76cm)||706inch2 (4,363cm2)||16″ (41 cm)||10″ (25 cm)||16″ (41 cm)||53″ x 66″ (135cm x 145cm)||1-2|
|34″ diameter (86cm)||907inch2 (5,808cm2)||16″ (41 cm)||10″ (25 cm)||18″ (46 cm)||57″ x 70″ (145cm x 180cm)||2-3|
|42″ diameter (106cm)||1,385inch2 (8,824cm2)||18″ (46 cm)||11″ (28 cm)||18″ (46 cm)||65″ x 78″ (165cm x 200cm)||4-5|
|50″ diameter (130cm)||1,963inch2(13,273cm2)||22″ (56 cm)||14″ (36 cm)||18″ (46 cm)||73″ x 86″ (185cm x 220cm)||7-9|
My oven is going to have a 30″ (76cm diameter) as I don’t need anything too big and not planning on starting up my own restaurant any time soon. It still has a 16″ (41cm) width entry so I’ll still be able to get roasting trays etc in there so it’s a good size.
Preparing the Wooden Forms
The above guide helped me plan the wood forms I would need for the base and the door height. Forms are basically just guides that help plan and support your build.
Here’s the base which is made from plywood. It serves two purposes. Firstly it’ll allow for a completely round dome and secondly it will stop any mortar from falling onto the oven door. Importantly you will also want to cut it into sections so that you can remove the pieces via the oven door, and not be stuck with in your pizza oven!
The circle outline was attained by screwing a length of wood into the board and then marking the radius I wanted on the wood length. Then I just held a marker pen on that point and swung the length around like a clock arm.
Next up is the form for the oven door arch which has the dimensions taken from the chart. This will give the correct size opening but also helps support the brick arch whilst the mortar is drying. Cut one section, then use that as a template for the sections section so they’re the same size and then screw together with some 2″x 1″ batons in between.
The indispensable tool
Finally we come to the brick levelling tool which helps maintain the correct brick placement and angle when laying the bricks. This is just a simple length of wood which is hinged to the exact centre of the wooden base with another piece of wood to temporarily support the brick and show the correct angle for your brick dome. Use this and you’ll get the perfect dome shape.
Here you can see where I’ve laid out my bricks to get an idea of how it’s all going to work.
Looking back I should have made the door section neater but I’ll work my way around that!
Finally you will want to start cutting bricks so that you have half-bricks (obviously). I used an angle-grinder with a diamond cutting disc which made light work of the bricks and as the dome is going to insulated and rendered then you don’t have to worry about the cuts being exact or too neat.
If you are tempted to cut the bricks by hand then I’d suggest you rethink that and buy a cheap angle grinder for less than £20 as you’re going to need a lot of bricks!
Next up is building the dome!