Brick Oven Help

TeckPoh's picture
TeckPoh we are halfway through a massively messy house renovation, and, suddenly, hubby is toying with the idea of giving me my dream brick oven. BUT, he says he'll build it. Er....he has NEVER EVER looked at plans or literature on brick ovens before. I knew the man needed help. It wasn't difficult to stumble into the forno bravo site...and I found a local dealer. He tells me that the oven will be so well-insulated, that the outer surface will feel cool....important, as this will be indoor.The quote (all in MsianRM) is as follows:

1.  GIARDINO 28" WOOD FIRED OVEN                             RM 5, 075.00

     TO SITE                                                                                  2, 200.00

     MATERIALS, LABOUR, DUCTING, OVEN DECOR             10,000.00 **

TOTAL                                                                                 RM 17, 275.00

With this kinda pricing, my guy will definitely say he can handle #3 himself. Question for ovenbuilders out here, is, can he? If it helps, he is a rather nifty DIY sort. Here is what the kit contains ------> clicky. Does anyone know what we will have to do as per item #3? Our builders are around, so, getting a brick table up is not a problem. I thought #1 already has insulation, then what is the insulation in #3? Help!!

Crossing fingers,



402 users have voted.


dimitry1 2010 January 4

I just build my oven it's outside but you can build one inside also. It's not as hard as it seems, I'm not a mason and this was my second time working with brick and the rest of the mesonry crap, but I meneged and just a few weeks had a mason over to look at it and he was suprised that I never build anything before. It's not hard at all, there are many books out there with good instructions and I have some on my blog also.

I would not rush with ordering one online the one I build so far cost me about a $1,000.00 plus I will need another $1,000 to finish it with natural rock around and on top so that will be 2K not 17.


If you have any quastions I'll be more than happy to try and answer them.


Good luck, and believe in your huby.

TeckPoh's picture
TeckPoh 2010 January 5

You've nudged us towards the DIY direction, if at all, we decide on having a brick oven, which we now think an outdoor one would be better. But, we will take our time to check out various plans...Alan Scott or Rado or our own design (who knows). Lots to look at and think about. Much thanks for the help offer!

TeckPoh's picture
TeckPoh 2010 January 6

Dimitry, the plans in the book are sufficient? BTW, congrats on building your fabulous oven all by yourself!


matthew 2010 January 7

TP, I don't think the kits come with insulation, it's just the oven shell.  The base, housing, chimney and insulation is provided locally.


If he's handy with the DIY and has the time then I agree with Dimitry that he can do it himself.  My suggestion is to think carefully about how you will use it, the thickness of the masonry is a product of what you hope to do with the oven.  Make it thicker and you can bake for longer but it takes more wood and time to heat up.  Make it thinner and it is much quicker to heat up but doesn't last as long.  It's also the kind of thing that is difficult to change later ;-)


I hope one day to be doing multiple bakes each firing so have relatively thick masonry, but the downside is that it takes 7+ hours of fire to get it up to baking temperature (and two loads of wood).  The other extreme is an oven that can be ready for pizzas of a load of bread in 1-2 hrs.


If you plan to do lots of cooking with the fire in then I'd consider a round (beehive) shape as a barrel doesn't really have room for the fire on the side which means that the side of the pizza closest to the fire is the one that you can't see!  If doing mainly bread the barrel is a good shape for loading loaves into.


Looking forward to seeing the pictures!  I'm sure your oven will be operational much quicker than mine!



rossnroller 2010 January 8

I think I mentioned in a post some time back that a backyard WFO is a dream I've also had for quite a while - years before becoming a pizza and bread--baking addict. In my case, the seeds were sown by a fascinating TV food series called Secret Recipes hosted (rather irritatingly, I have to say) by acclaimed French-Melbournian chef Jaques Reymond. The basis of the show was to feature the home cooking and secret traditional ingredients/methods of families of different nationalities. I was intrigued by the rustic DIY wood-fired ovens the Greek, Macedonian and Slav families were using to bake their most wonderful-looking traditional meals (they used chicken-wire-reinforced concrete to fashion their ovens, and while the look was rough, the food shown coming out was outrageously gorgeous). This was the first time I became aware that WFOs were in fairly widespread use in the backyards of various ethnic groups in Australia.

It took a while for the idea to catch on with the mainstream community, but as we know, catch on it did! The problem for me is that I don't like the look of the commercially produced domestic WFOs. Too yuppy for my taste. I want rough and peasanty, like the 'real' ovens the families were using in Secret Recipes. My obsession with The Authentic is an annoying affliction at times! Anyway...

Over time, I've discovered that my romantic ideals do not quite match the reality of WFOs. Don't get me wrong - I still want one! Oh yeah, the dream is still alive and kickin'...but I think Matthew has outlined the practical considerations well, and made some pertinent points that need to be considered. For quite some time, I was under the illusion that I could do pizzas, bread, roasts, virtually anything that could be baked, in one WFO. Well, while this is not impossible, the practicalities undermine this idea of one-size-fits-all WFO - and there is quite some knowledge and effort required. You are no doubt aware of that, anyway, but just in case, I thought I would mention it in those terms.

In addition to Matthew's sage words, you might also find this thread at TFL of interest.

On DIYing: I downloaded the Forno Bravo plans a while back, and to me, they looked pretty daunting and complicated. In fact, any thoughts of DIYing evaporated once I had a good look at these plans. Maybe Alan Scott's design is more straightforward, though. And maybe, also, your husband is handier than I am (which is not saying much, I have to admit).

The above notwithstanding, I really hope you push ahead with your WFO plans. Whatever the effort involved, the flavours achievable in a WFO are just unbeatable...and we all know that's the real bottom line here!


TeckPoh's picture
TeckPoh 2010 January 8

I'm trying to contain my excitement and impatience.

I think Key is regretting his offer to build me my oven. He is bringing up all the cons...

i. Where are you going to get firewood? (Can I use non-smoking charcoal?)

ii. When you store them, you are going to attract ants, milipedes, and, etc..

iii. Rolls his eyes when he thinks of me calling him to fire up the oven when I want to bake.

iv. Simpler to just go ahead and get me a 90cm Smeg oven or commercial steam-injected gas oven.

v. The renovation still has some way to go, lots of unfinished biz...let that settle down first.

Note the above are more daunting to him than the actual oven-building, which, he says is easy-peasy. I have full confidence that he is able to build a perfectly functioning oven IF ONLY

i. He is willing to pore over the Alan Scott design (should be getting the book early next week).

ii. He is willing to accept that he'll need firebricks and fireclay, vermiculite and such. He thinks all he needs is red bricks and rockwool.


The local Forno Bravo dealer guy said even if I don't buy the shell from him, he is willing to assist in building a Pompeii-design oven for a minimal fee. That's round, isn't it? And, I'm not sure if the heat retention and insulation is enough for, say, 3 batches of breadbaking. I'd love to own a 35" round oven, BUT - yesterday, da boss said he will give me space for a barrel-shaped one. I'm attaching a pix of the proposed site...pretty tight. Can't tell from this perspective, but, the area there is around 10 x 10 ft (maybe less). There is a door going into the kitchen (not shown). Arrgggh....I want an all-in-one oven which takes at most 2 hrs to heat up and consumes minimal fuel, can bake pizza plus breads plus roasts and everything. At this point, I have no idea how far I want to take the baking, whether it could be a small all depends on the ease of getting the fuel and me getting the hang of firing up the oven.


Thanks, everyone. Please do keep throwing ideas and suggestions for me to chew on.



sdevo's picture
sdevo 2010 January 11


Pizza ovens, Also duck ovens, tandoors - a Queensland company. Alan Scott - OVENCRAFTERS.pdf Build Your Own Earth Oven, 3rd Edition- A Low-Cost Wood-Fired Mud Oven; Simple Sourdough Bread; Perfect Loaves- Search on Amazon Books- Kiko Denzer (lots of results)

Wood-Burning Pizza Ovens- The Splendid Table. The Bread Builders- Hearth Loaves and Masonry Ovens- Books- Daniel Wing,Alan Scott.pdf

matthew 2010 January 16

They look major renovations indeed TP!

10x10 seems like quite a bit of space, it would fit my oven. When thinking about the space remember the chimney and smoke and the type of housing (whether you're going to have a roof overhang or an adobe style).  As close to the house as that you'll need to consider fire regulations and chimney height.  Also remember to consider the working height relative to the finished ground level that you will be working from after the renovations are finished.

How much you want to fit in the oven will also be important when considering the size.  2 pizzas at a time take up more space than one, 10 loaves need more space than 5.

I think that an oven that heats up in about 2 hours should be able to do 2 loads if well insulated.  But 2 hours is probably only going to be the bricks and then insulation, no additional mass.

A Pompeii oven is a round one, this is the fornobravo style.  Alan Scott uses a barrel style.  If you want to start a fight on the brickoven group on Yahoo start saying that one type is better than than the other :0  It's really up to you in my opinion which way you go.  But traditionally I understand round ovens are used in cultures that cook with the fire in and barrel ovens have been used for baking with the fire out.  This doesn't mean you can't do both in either type.  My barrel oven has made some great pizzas but I'm still learning how to co-ordinate the heat and the dough well enough for multiple loads of bread.  My aim is to be able to get 4-5 loads of bread out of one firing once I've got the hang of it.  Then follow that up with some other lower temp things.  That's why mine takes a long time to heat up.


TeckPoh's picture
TeckPoh 2010 January 16

Gosh, they even provide the actual no. of bricks for a 32 x 36" oven!

Thanks, sdevo, for the sources.

Thanks, Matthew!! Again, you have provided me with invaluable firsthand info. I'm glad your oven is barrel-shaped and working well for you, coz I did read the barrel vs round arguments and arguments for round seem pretty convincing.

Yep, our renovation is major...2.5 months (given to the builders...hope they can meet it) to add 11' x 35' (2 storeys) and a pond. Costs of materials...building and interior are escalating every day. Kaching! kaching! Looks like building the oven ourselves is the way to cut costs. However, hubby is now trying to steer me off the idea...his concern is getting firewood (we are in the suburbs) and firing the oven, but, my whole heart is set on the oven, so, NO backing out, mate!

Loafer 2014 November 16

I would avoid the Alan Scott Oven

Its got too much mass and not enough insulation

It will take longer to heat and more wood to do it.

Its ok if its more of a commercial application that will stay hot for a long time but not for a once a week or once a month home firing.

Unless you like chopping wood and have acess to a forest.

Forno Bravo has a free plan  you can download.

An igloo design half a brick thick with cal sil under the floor

Some people opt for thiner than a half brick for the floor to get to temp quicker and use less wood others use a half brick to maintain temp for longer.

Ceramic Blanket insulation over the top.

Others use vermiculite to or instead of

The key is you can never have too much insulation.

Some of those well designed ovens maintain useable heat for days.

1st Pizza rhen Bread then slow cook,then yoghurt or drying herbs

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