I needed an outside summer project, and decided on a Brick Pizza Oven. It took more planning than building a new software release, mostly because I have never built a pizza oven before, so I had to think it out. Thankfully, many people shared their experiences online, so I was able to get some good ideas on a shape and style. Being the son of a stone mason helped somewhat, as I had an idea on how to build stone and brickwork.
First, I had to build a rectangular base in stone, and then level it for the base of the oven. Then, I had to make the oven floor out of firebricks. I made a mock-up of a pizza and a fire to make sure I had enough room for everything. Brickwork is harder to fix than software, so I only wanted to do this once!
Laying out the arch was the hardest part. Arches are very strong, and were critical in ancient building techniques. Men who specialized in them were called "arch-i-tects"
Here is a photo of a Roman aqueduct, with the force vectors pushing outwards and downwards along the arch:
So with this in mind, I laid out the arch of the oven on a board to make a template for the wood arch supports:
Here is the resultant form to hold the arch while it dries:
It took about a week to put the brick oven together. Luckily, my brother Steve helped me out with laying the bricks on the arch, which was the hardest part of the project.
Here I am near the end, unshaven and tired, but satisfied with the end result:
Here is the finished oven:
Building a Brick Oven in One Minute
I did a time-lapse series of photos to track progress over one week. I took over 100 photos, and collapsed them into a one minute video of the project.
In the video are my brother Steve, my son Dominic and daughter Sophie, as well as a friend Andy Sturtz and my dog, Duke, who was wondering when the pizza would be ready.