Pizza Oven Build – The Base

So I’ve built a pizza oven, from scratch and thought I would share it with you.  I don’t really know why other than a whim and lifelong desire to eat delicious pizza.  Living in the UK and only occassionally experiencing good pizza I thought I’d sort the problem so that if in doubt I’d just make my own.  This is the first blog of a few showing the build.

If you want hopefully you could construct your own from this.  This is a very substantial build and so far hasn’t blown away….as it weighs nearly 1 metric tonne!

The Pizza Oven Base

To me the key to any build, including a pizza oven, is making sure its all level.  As a pizza oven is basically a pile of bricks resting on one another you want the plinth to be level.  I got a little bit anal about this as I tend to but suffice to say my plinth is possible “too” level but my theory is “whatever you begin with affects what you end up with”.

NOTE:– This took a 3 hours as you have to take up the stone, put it back down and level and level.  It’s a pain but it means the rest of the build doesn’t have to compensate for lack of a level base!

I chose to use 600mmx600mmx50mm pavers to make it the simplest way to a level base without having to pour concrete.  You could do this, but I thought this was simpler and less messy and you can control the level.  It’s also quite cheap and far easier than levelling lots of smaller stones.  Also these stones will take more weight than a pizza oven so no worries there.

NOTE:– These concrete slabs are known as “Council Pavers” in the UK as they are used by the local authorities to lay their pavements, they are very thick at 50mm and large at 600mmx600m.  ~42kg each.  Please be careful!  Two persons to lift.

Tools Required:

  • Spade
  • Builders Level
  • Rubber Mallet (I wore it out just doing this)

Dig a hole

First you must dig your hole and in theory this needs to be as big as the base you need.  I was going for a 1.2m x 1.2m square plinth, based on wanting an oven with an 80-90cm diameter.

Digging the hole for the Base and leveling…sort of

Try to get as level as possible with the soil stamp it down hard.  Then I used a thick layer of sand to give OK drainage and also allow a bit more levelling.  I used two bags of sand which is 50kg of sharp sand.  (see next pic)

Laying first stone – (Stones are 600mm x 600mm Concrete pavers 50mm thickness)

 

Two stones done…looks so easy in the pictures

Compact the sand as much as possible and throw the first stone down in the top left corner.  Get this stone perfectly level using a masons level as your guide.  I lifted the stone many times and moved the sand a little.  Then when it was close to level I used very deliberate hits of a rubber hammer to get the bubble absolutely perfect between the black lines on the level.

2nd stone needs to set down at exactly the same height as the first stone and then lots of rubber mallet hammering to level   This one is a bit trickier as the stone has to be level and it also has to be level to the previous stone.

3rd and 4th Stones

4 hours work…its more level than a billiard table

So in keeping with the theme, the leveling of the 3rd and 4th stones involves placing it down, checking it’s height relative to the first and second stones and then shifting sand and lots of hammering of rubber mallet to get level.

Repeat again for the fourth stone…!  Don’t be surprised if you have to pick up the stones and move sand around.

Tip:- If it looks like its going to be down in a corner, don’t try to keep hitting mallet, face facts and lift stone and redistribute the sand.

Level Base

I know you’re thinking it might seem excessive to get it this level and it probably is but I never had to worry about anything being level after this.  As you are stacking bricks later, level is good!

Level Base
Checked a few days later after heavy rain and still level

Ok so Plinth is done.  Have a break, have a beer and I’ll build the plinth in the next post