Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Building an Earthen Oven

Early in September we hosted a sustainable building workshop facilitated by our neighbor Sasha Rabin of vertical clay.  The weekend was an amazing introduction to natural building.  We spent all day Saturday and Sunday building an earthen oven which will be used to bake wood fired pizza, hand made bread, and much more.  Everyone who participated had a wonderful time.  Even the kids had a blast and ended up designing and creating their very own cob oven (kids and mud are a great combination). 
We can't wait to fire her up for the first time!

We did some prep for the workshop, building the base out of urbanite, bricks, gravel, and some cob.
For the base we wanted to use materials we had on the property.  We basically dry stacked urbanite (no mortar), then filled in the center with broken brick pieces and gravel.  Next was the insulation layer.  We used some kiln bricks we had been saving.  Then we filled it all in with sand and leveled off the top.  A batch of cob was mixed up to patch up the cracks around the base. 

There was also some prep to the site before beginning the base...(digging about six inches down, filling in with gravel and some drainage tube/cloth.) 

The workshop started out with laying out the fire bricks, some measuring and sketching....

Not quite complete, she still needs a finish coat of plaster (we're thinking red).  It really is amazing to learn what you can build with the ground under your feet.  We have been truly inspired.  Thanks to all who participated!


  1. I'm super bummed we had to miss this! And of course our kitchen oven died so it would have been awesome to learn how to build one of these (we'd been planning on it for awhile).

  2. Sasha! did you not insulate under the hearth?! I'm experimenting with just glass bottles, upside down, firmly packed together so no other material is required -- just a solid wall to contain the bottles. But it makes a HUGE difference in heat retention.

  3. Absolutely fantastic! One day we will build our own earth oven! I can hardly wait!

    On another've won an award! Pop over to my blog and see what it's all about! Cheers!!!