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How I made a bread oven

I wanted to do this oven since I bought the property. The house had an old oven, but too big and deteriorated.

Materials used:

- Old Bricks : I used about 1.8 m3. Sounds like a lot, but the high chimney required a lot of bricks;

- Chamotte brick - for the fireplace surface;

- Modern cell brick (ceramic block). I used these because already I had, and being high, it took much shorter time for the masonry base;

- Yellow soil from the field near the village;

- High grain sand;

- Lime paste - plastering and painting;

- A bag of cement used in the socket.

1. The Project

I saw many kilns in the village and surrounding villages. I discussed with people who use them or know something about the ovens. And, of course, I made research on the Internet.

Recommended sites:



I considered that an internal diameter of 1.2 m is enought for my needs.
As wall thickness, I chose a thickness of half a brick. I thought that if the thickness should be increased, I can easily add a layer of clay to the dome plaster.
On the other hand, if the thickness is high, the oven conserves the heat for fonger time, but is harder and much costly to heat it.
I chose to break bricks in half, because its follow easy the circle's shape.

oven design
Design sensitive areas are:
1 - the junction of the tunnel and dome
2 - dome closure
3 - junction of the tunnel and the chimney

2. The Base


Over the first two rows of the socket I started the preparation for the fireplace.
- First a classic brick row.
- Then I built the front of the pedestal. It aims to support the tunnel, and especially the chimney.


3. The Fireplace

It has the role of thermal insulation / heat accumulator, together with the dome. In the old ovens in Transylvania you will find a layer about 4 inches of broken glass.
The solution chosen by me:
- A base of classic brick layer; I filled the joints with yellow clay;
- A layer of sand (about 4 inches);
- I putted bottles, side by side,so that the spaces between them to remain as small as possible; I thought that the air bag remaining in each bottle will be a good insulator.
- Another layer of sand, covering all the bottles, this layer should be well beaten by hand and then smoothed and leveled very well.
- Over this layer I placed another round of classic brick - now we reached the outer surface of the socket.


The joints were filled with yellow clay powder. I tried to get a plane surface.

4. The fireplace - final layer

I used chamotte bricks. Their surface is much smoother and more resilient. It is more expensive than normal brick and thermal qualities do not justify the extra use to build the entire oven. oven fireplace

The bricks were placed as close as possible and fastened with yellow clay. The final surface must be very smooth. It will be the working surface of the oven. The joints were filled with yellow clay powder.

5. About the Yellow Clay

The clay used for stoves and ovens must have certain qualities: to not contain organic materials (they will burn) and to have a high content of silica and alumina.
It is common in most places and is recognized because of the color that can be yellowish, whitish or pinkish.

The plasture
If it is too silty, the clay must to be mixed with sand. From my experience, I recommend sifting sand, well washed (without mud) and preferably with the grain greater than very fine. The properly content of sand will prevent the cracks. Consider 50%-50% clay and sand.
Luckily, the clay I found near the village was very close to that consistency.
Mixed with water, I got a hard rather than soft plasture.
The picture below may help: I ​​made a plasture ball in the hands and I let it fall from about 80cm; the picture show the flattened ball.
Important hint: there should be no cracks.

clay / mortar de pamant galben

6. The Skeleton

I made a wooden frame. Finally it will be burned at the first shot. We used only eight ribs.

oven skeleton / schelet

One rib is resting on the direction of the tunnel. It will help you make the junction of the dome, tunnel and chimney.

7. The first row

You can see why I chose to use half bricks. It sits nicely in the circle. The first three rows are arranged on the same contour, interspersed. From now we used only the yellow clay plasture for both soldering and for grouting.

oven skeleton, first 3 bricks rows

7. The Dome and the Tunnel

We went together with the rows of dome and the rows of the tunnel.
In this way I thought I could do better the joint.
I made shapes (a little arch-skeleton) for the tunnel.

tunnel jonction

b You can see the wooden spacers that I used to keep every brick to the right angle of rotation in each row.


8. The Dome & the Tunnel - further details

When the tilt angle increased over 45dg, the skeleton needed some improuvments. I solved using the willow twigs. They are very resilient, follow the contour of the arcs and can easily support the bricks.


You can also see that to the tunnel junction I used broken/cutted bricks to fit the contours of both tunnel and dome.

9. Closing the dome

For the last row I used shaped bricks as shown. All the dimensional errors gathered here, so I did not get a circle, but rather an egg-shaped, pointed to the side of the chimney.

I cutted few bricks as fasteners to strain closure.

Knocking easy, I tense in two directions and then I filled the gaps with smaller pieces, all in brick. In the end, it was embroidered with yellow clay.

10. Plastering the dome

oven dome

Plastering is a delicate job. The problem is that the plaster does not crack. Some recommend adobe.
I chose to add more sand to the yellow clay used until now.
My recipe:
- A shovel of sand big size (well washed)
- 2 shovels fine sand (screening, washed)
- 3 shovels yellow clay used for the dome
- Water

11. The Chimny

In this particular case, I needed a huge chimney. His internal room is as a brick.
oven chimney

The Diaphragm
An important detail in the chimney of the furnace is what here is called "Shaber".
This is a sheet of steel which cut the chimney and acts as a diaphragm, with the aim to close the chimney after the wood was burned.
In this way the hot air stops flowing out the chimney.




All my thanks to Marius Bara of Crit village, who helped me with in this project with the builder's skill and enthusiasm.


This is my personal experience.
It is the reader's choice whether or not to use all or parts of this description to build an oven. This material is not a technical guidance and does not induce any of my responsibility over the results that the reader can obtain.
Photos and text are protected by Romanian copyright law.
They may be used freely on the Internet only accompanied by the words "source: www.zorele.ro".

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