Custom-built Wood-Fired Oven


This is a wood-fired baking oven designed and built in collaboration with Homestead Heat and Jeremiah Church.  The oven sits on the back porch, just steps from the kitchen for easy access during cooking time.  A combination of space considerations and aesthetic vision led to the decision to build the oven right onto exposed bedrock.



We used local Ashfield and Skyline stones to create a level foundation off of the uneven ledge stone.   The stones were mortared with the joints recessed and tightly fit to create a dry-stack look.  A reinforced concrete pad was then poured upon which the oven would be built. Jeremiah Church, a builder from Vermont with lots of experience building large commercial ovens, came down to lend his expertise for the building of the oven core.


Once the side walls were built we prepared to lay the main vault, the reduction arch, and the door arch.


Setting the reduction arch.

The complete core of the oven. The core is built out of medium duty firebricks, which are durable enough to withstand the shock and attack of wood-fires, and dense enough to absorb large quantities of heat needed for baking.


 Inside the oven.  The light in the back is coming through the ash drop.  Baking surface is 24 x 36 inches.


The oven is heavily insulated with mineral wool and wrapped in foil as an extra barrier.


Facing the core begins with red brick and stone accents.


Layout template for a jack arch over the door opening.  This work was greatly facilitated by Marcus Flynn’s thorough documentation on his website.

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We decided to take the enclosure a step further by adding yet another medium and so I cut a small, simple timber frame out of 4×4 white oak.  The posts are tenoned into the plates and pegged.



The timber roof was infilled with cement board and plastered. 

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Mini “jack-arches” accent each side of the oven.


Integrated wood-storage behind the oven.


For Pizza baking, the oven is ready with one load of wood that takes approximately 1.5 to 2 hours to burn down.  Coals are pushed to the back for baking and a small flame maintained for light and for browning the tops of pizzas.  The pizzas cooked earlier in the evening are done in 2-3 minutes.  For other baking the coals are removed or burned down over the ash grate, and baking is done with the even, retained heat in the oven’s mass.

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