In Which We Build a Backyard Oven, Part I

by Rebekahcooked up on August 2, 2012

So, I’ve been posting on the various social medias about this oven project. I figured it was time to go into a little more detail!

Every year for our anniversary (so, all two so far 🙂 ), Dave and I get each other a new toy to share. Last year’s fun toy was the beautiful iMac that I edit photos on every day. This year, we initially planned on investing in a new gas range, but then Dave had an even better idea: to do a project together for our home. He suggested building a brick oven in our backyard.

Obviously, I was on board right away!

It has taken plenty of planning, a few library books and so far three trips to various hardware stores, but during our four days off this weekend we worked through an important first stage.

Here’s a look at what we’ve done so far.

When I woke up Saturday morning, Dave was hard at work digging out a 6-inch deep, 4×4 foot hole in the back corner of our yard. We built a wooden frame (I helped a little with this part, but it was mostly done when I woke up, too).

Next, we poured about 300 lbs. of sand into the hole, and tamped it down. It made a layer a little over an inch thick.

After the sand, we made another similar layer with gravel, and tamped it down again. These layers are to provide a solid foundation for the concrete slab, which is itself a foundation. Tamping is no joke – it is basically like hammering into the Earth, which I believe I mentioned before. It makes you mega sore, also. After we finished with the gravel, we were done for Day 1.

Next we used some little metal stands and a sheet of rebar mesh to add some reinforcement to the area that would soon be filled with wet cement.

The next step is to mix the cement. This is way harder than it seems – and much harder than actually getting the cement mix into the hole. The mix absorbs the water really quickly and you have to keep stirring as it gets heavier and harder to move. We used 7 or 8 80 lb. bags, and took turns mixing and moving it into the hole:

We finished filling the hole, and then Dave smoothed it out.

And now there is a concrete slab in our backyard! And now we wait for it to cure.

To be continued…. in a couple of weeks.

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1 Comment

  1. So exciting!! This will be such a wonderful addition to your cooking tools.

    Comment by Mary K — August 3, 2012 at 5:47 pm

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