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Yet another Australian oven - Forno Bravo Forum: The Wood-Fired Oven Community


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Yet another Australian oven

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  • Yet another Australian oven

    Thanks to all of the enthusiastic advice on this forum (and the plans!!!) I finally bit the bullet and built an oven recently.

    It's at a holiday house on the North Coast of NSW about 7 hours drive from Sydney, a bit more than half way to Brisbane. It's isolation in a unique coastal village brought it's own problems... Solar 12V power only and an hour to the nearest town (Grafton) for supplies. So...think and supply everything well ahead, no ducking down to the local store for something forgotten, no fancy brick cutting and concrete mixed by hand.

    I drew up a spreadsheet that calculated the amount of concrete for the various stages and gave a cost estimate. It might be useful to someone for estimating as you can vary most of the inputs like slab size, depth etc. I wasn't able to upload it so if someone wants a copy they could let me know.

    I cut formwork for the two arches in advance and made a circular template 900mm in diameter for the base of the oven. It's circle was cut from 9 x 300mm squares of melamine faced particle board and the centre piece was drilled to attach a brick locating tool (Great design tips on the site). Also done in advance was the formwork for the slab and hearth. It was much easier to do it at home with power tools than up there with a handsaw!

    All of the bricks were cut by hand with a hammer and bolster and the concrete was mixed in a wheelbarrow with the generous assistance of my 15 year old son. Brick laying is not in my repertoire so don't let a lack of building skills put you off building yours.

    It went together remarkably well and the following timetable gives you an idea of the time involved:

    Thursday: Form up the slab and pour it... 3 hours.
    Friday: Lay the blocks and fill the cores... 3 hours.
    Saturday: Form up the hearth slab with insulating recess and pour it...5 hours.
    Sunday: Pour the concrete perlite insulating layer...1 hour
    Monday: Waiting for the bricks to arrive
    Tuesday: Ditto so poured an apron to stand on using the excess concrete (10 bags)... 2 hours
    Wednesday: Still waiting so finished the apron with a layer of small local beach stones with the year highlighted
    Thursday: Bricks arrive 3pm!!! Lay the first 2 courses and the arch pedestals... 4 hours
    Friday: lay the next 3 courses and the arch for the chimney...4 hours
    Saturday: Lay another 2 courses...3 hours
    Sunday: Lay the final course and the keystone... 4 hours
    Monday: Tidied up and lit the fire...Pizza for Dinner
    Tuesday: Bagged the blocks and hearth slab with a mortar slurry. Roast Lamb and Potatoes
    Wednesday: Total Fire Ban!

    The oven has yet to be insulated and have a chimney installed... A terracotta chimney is planned.

    Once again thanks for the advice on this forum, especially the photos and the brick locating tool.

    Without your help I wouldn't have considered starting!

    I have attached some photos that trace the progress, the others will follow in subsequent messages

    Peter Cowie
    Last edited by cowiepeters; 11-12-2009, 03:41 AM. Reason: Correct the title

  • #2
    Re: Yet another Australian oven

    Here are some more photos of the progress

    Peter Cowie


    • #3
      Re: Yet another Australian oven

      More photos of progress


      • #4
        Re: Yet another Australian oven

        And some more


        • #5
          Re: Yet another Australian oven

          And another five


          • #6
            Re: Yet another Australian oven

            And the final two!


            • #7
              Re: Yet another Australian oven

              Brilliant photo diary. Am following with great interest.

              Terry (C.F)
              Honi soit qui mal y pense

              My 2nd Pompeii build.....



              • #8
                Re: Yet another Australian oven

                Wow. Looking awesome. My next oven build will be as clean as yours!



                • #9
                  Re: Yet another Australian oven

                  great job!
                  My 2nd Build:
                  Is here


                  • #10
                    Re: Yet another Australian oven

                    Good one Peter and welcome aboard.
                    You have obviously searched through the forum, made your decisions and really got stuck right into it.
                    It can be done as you have shown in a relatively short time and well done.
                    Get it insulated, rendered and enjoy.

                    Prevention is better than cure, - do it right the first time!

                    The more I learn, the more I realise how little I know

                    Neill’s Pompeiii #1
                    Neill’s kitchen underway


                    • #11
                      Re: Yet another Australian oven

                      Hey peter

                      Peter here as well...great oven mate

                      love your work

                      we live in Canberra and no we are NOT bloody public servants or pollies


                      • #12
                        Re: Yet another Australian oven

                        Dear Peter, Neil and others,

                        Thanks for the positive comments!

                        I finished the oven in the first week or so in January: Attached the chinmey, applied about 75mm of vermiculite cement mix then about 30mm Mortar over chicken wire and finally finished with a cement slurry with a waterproofing agent and some oxide for colour.

                        It works a treat.

                        Braised rabbit, Butterfly leg of lamb, Potatoes with Rosemary and onions,various pizzas, baguettes and no knead bread (just magic flavour and texture) were all cooked at various times.

                        A bit more insulation would have been better. The oven cools from about 300 degrees C to 150 in about an hour with the insulated door in place, I'm not sure how that compares with others.

                        The lower part of outside of the oven where there is little insulation gets hot after about an hour but the top of the dome was only warm after 4 hours.

                        My tools are made from 1.6mm stainless with 40mm hardwood handles and wrought stainless fittings. The coal scoop and pot hook were particularly indispensable, the coir broom didn't melt like the first one I tried. The trowel was handy but not essential.

                        The tools were my interpretation of those available commercially at:

                        Slow Food & Handforged Tools - Wood Fired Oven Tools

                        Given the work involved in making my version his tools are remarkable value!

                        Here are a few pictures:


                        • #13
                          Re: Yet another Australian oven

                          Looks great Peter.
                          Can you tell me some more about the chimney and insulated door, please?
                          I can't believe you built it so fast.


                          • #14
                            Re: Yet another Australian oven

                            Very nice peter!!

                            The flue selection was great.

                            Do you have some type of hat for the flue to disperse any rain?
                            My Oven Thread:


                            The difference between a successful person and others is not the lack of strength, nor the lack of knowledge… but rather, the lack of will power.


                            • #15
                              Re: Yet another Australian oven

                              I finally finished the oven a few weeks ago.

                              Finishing touches include the pergola, a stainless steel flue with rain cap and a LED downlight (we only have 12volts)

                              Photos show the story.

                              The Food Photo is a Chicken with Sundried Tomatoes and Lemon with Roast Vegetables.

                              I have to pass on my tip for the best roast veges you will ever cook.

                              Duck Fat

                              Give it a try