Smell a Burning Smell? Check Your Oven!

When I moved to Greece I was frustrated by the poor quality of bottled gas for cooking, the electricity supply was often cut off for a day without notice and BBQ food simply got boring after a while, so where do we go from here I mused?

Well when in Rome, or at least within the same time zone the question became what do the Greeks do and the answer was simple, put a wood oven on the patio to be fuelled by the copious amounts of palette or olive wood found locally.

So with a low maintenance yet functional oven repair los angeles, attractive yet cost effective model in mind I toured the local suppliers of ready made wood ovens and at the same time checked the internet for tips and pointers, but what I found was sadly that the sources of supply and website recommendations just didn’t tell the same story.

The net described fast cooking times, low fuel consumption and high heat retention brought about by sturdy design and deep layers of insulation, whereas local suppliers were quoting themes of ease of installation and lowest cost purchase prices for what were essentially ovens with virtually no insulation and a very substandard level of finish.

I knew I would only ever need one wood oven if properly constructed and so out came the drawing board and tools and less than two months later from only part time construction we were eating home baked bread, pizzas and deliciously roasted meats from our very own attractive and user friendly new outdoor cooking facility.


My oven starts at waist height sitting upon a 150mm thick reinforced concrete shelf into which I also inset a small removable metal BBQ and hand wash sink. Beneath are two cupboards with attractive wooden doors, one being for firewood and the second for utensils. The oven itself was then constructed on this shelf to become the central theme and after building the working parts the outer was clad in local stone to loosely resemble an old world fireplace and chimney. When finished all work surfaces were tiled to a food quality finish providing a very attractive and functional area to cook and work.

Choice of location:

I chose to site it against an existing external local stone wall with concrete floor suitable to take the weight and ideal to develop as an area into a general purpose outside dining area.

Materials for oven:

( from local supplier’s basic stock ).

– Fire bricks ( mine 220mm*110mm*50mm )
– Fire half bricks ( 220mm*55mm*50mm).
– 5mm plastic tile spacers.
– Oven grade ( high temp 600+ degrees) cement mix.
– Roll of loft insulation and 4 metres chicken wire.
– Perlite insulation pellets.
– Standard grade sand & cement.
– 50mm steel angle bar.
– Flexi steel chimney pipe. ( 2 metres approx )
– Weatherproof chimney top ( optional )
– Cladding materials as required to suit personal design.

Exact volumes of materials will depend upon your personal preferences of scale and finish but mine cost for the above materials about 350 euros at local prices.

My Ovens Specifics:

( Correct title, black wood oven as fuel stays in during cooking )

– Original shelf width 1100mm.
– Oven interior semi-circular tunnel ( 800mm long, 650mm wide, 400mm high)
– Flat back wall ( Firebrick )
– Rectangle central doorway ( 380mm wide, 220mm high ) NOTE: Oven height (400mm) to doorway height (220) approx 2:1 ratio is critical for maximum draw, width not so critical but best to approximate 2:1 ratio.
– Centre tunnel chimney duct to maximise efficient hot airflow.

Cooking abilities for scale:

Comfortably cooks 3 varieties of food for 4-6 persons each at one filling.

– Roast & potatoes / Lasagna pie, veg dish and bread – 1 hour max.
– Large Pizzas – 15 minutes
– Baked fish – 10-15 mins,
– Pies and pastries – 30 mins.

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