I started hearth cooking in the late 1990s and fell in love with cooking with fire. The woodstove in the house is great for heating things up, but I can make a four course meal in a hearth. The next step up from cooking in a hearth is baking in a bake oven. When I found out about clay, or cob, ovens I wanted one. My son, the artist, came home from Ohio and got my cob oven started. He dug the hole for the foundation, built up the rock support, laid the base of fire brick, built the inner clay layer over a mound of sand (which is later scooped out), and built the fire brick arch. The photo below shows the oven up to this point. The fire is to help the clay dry in preparation for the next layers..
and even made the "test" oven to gauge the mix of clay and sand.
Here are more layers.
We still needed a final coat at this point, but the oven was useable.
The pizzas came out great once we placed the dough on parchment paper to make it easier to get the pizzas off the peel and into and out of the oven.
Bread comes out great as well. The finished oven has a final smooth coat and a little decoration. My husband built a roof over the oven to protect it from the rain (since it is only made of clay) and we cover it for the winter. Unfortunately there is no way we can transport the oven to the new house. Maybe it will help sell our old house. So Ian I need a new oven, please come and make me one. I think I would like a brick one this time.