Cob Ovens


Posted by Jeffrey | Posted in Cob Oven | Posted on 29-06-2012

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Starting the fire
Project led by: Jeffrey
Location: Pete’s Castle, Dunster, BC
Date: June 2012

This 22″ cob oven was built over a few weeks.
Everything except the firebrick and stove pipe were collected from within 5 minutes of the house. (And both of those were reclaimed)

The foundation is constructed from dry stacked rocks, sitting on top of that is a cob/rock layer to bring the oven upto a comfortable working height for Pete.
After a layer of insulation, there is the fire brick oven floor.

The fun part was creating the heavy mud dome to contain the fire and baking.
First we created a sand form and then invited some friends from McBride to come and stomp some cob with us!
We had a great time dancing on the sand/clay mix to the sounds of children’s songs. When it was all mixed and ready we built the mud up around our form. Once to the top a hole was cut for the door, and we celebrated with a beer!

The dome was left to dry for a day then I carefully pulled out the sand. The dome held so we built a small fire to dry the mud – then a big fire to cook some pizzas!

Once the dome was completely dry, a layer of chip/slip insulation was added, then finally a coat of earthen plaster to finish the job!

I made the roof structure from maple & willow, using mortise and tenon’s and lap joints. A neighbor came to see the project and offered some metal roofing to finish the job (Thanks Brian!)

I love the transformation that happened when the final coat of plaster went on, tying the whole oven together… but most of all I loved the cooking of pizzas and bread! (The pizzas cooked in 5 minutes and 4 loaves cooked in 10!)

The design and finer points from this oven build were learned from Kiko Denzer’s excellent book Build Your Own Earth Oven


Starting the fire

The plaster layer begins to dry

The oven with it’s plaster applied

sun cob oven

I added a sun motif

cob oven framing detail

The roundwood framing details

round wood framing detail

I left on some of the branches to make the corner post more decorative

the bread cooked in the cob oven

The bread!

enjoying the pizza

Pete enjoys his first pizzas from his new oven!


Project led by: Jeffrey
Location: Moab, UT
Date: November 2013
I constructed the base of this oven from concrete blocks that were left over from a trailer demolition.
The oven was much the same as the one above, except I used a heavy straw/clay mix as the insulation below the fire. I aslo experimented with casting a fire cement floor for the oven. This worked really well and I would do this again.
I ran this project as a workshop for Community Rebuilds students.

Cob oven before final plaster coat

fire lights up Tyler as we heat the cob oven

Heating the cob oven

The pizzas straight from the oven.
I made the opening on this oven the same width as the baking trays. This makes pizza parties so much easier! (Also note the peel that Kate Heath made)


Below is some documentation of the first oven build, showing the steps taken.

The dry stack foundation with cob/rock to bring it up to height.

The dry stack foundation with cob/rock to bring it up to height.

insulating layer for cob oven

Bottles are inserted into the insulating layer – i’m not entirely sure as to why the bottles are in there… it seems to me that they are not good insulators – the use is probably to provide some support for the dense mud layer that goes on top of this. As this was my first oven I was happy to follow the examples in Kiko Denzer’s book ‘Build your own earth oven’ – Having been through the process now, for my next oven I will use pumice (lava rock) to create an insulating, yet firm layer.

hearth floor

the hearth floor made from firebrick is laid

cob oven sand form

The sand form is built and smoothed down

stomping the cob

we covered the sandform in wet newspaper to protect it and keep it dry, then we did the cob dance!

building the cob oven

Big thanks to those who came to help!

the heavy mud mix is applied, a simple door frame is constructed from brick – thanks to Richard for the welding the angle iron


Comments (1)

OMG that food looks good!

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