Let me help you build a cob pizza oven for $0

In 2011 I built this cob pizza oven in Napa California for $36.  If I'd had the patience to wait another week, I could have built it for free. A couple years later, I sent a pizza making company a diagram of it and asked for an estimate to build the same oven (without any the sculptural detail).  Their estimate was almost $5100.00.  

We'd invite our friends and neighbors over, they'd bring a variety of toppings, we'd supply the dough and we'd have a few glasses of wine and delicious pizza's.  Then we'd bake about 5 loaves of superbly splendid artisan bread.  Next we'd slide in a dutch oven and even hours later there was still enough heat to either dry our next load of wood or dry fruit.  We had many fabulous evenings around our pizza oven!

What is cob?

'Cob' is an old English word meaning 'lump.'  It is a combination of clay, sand, straw and water and can be likened to adobe. 

How durable is cob?

Earth is the most common building material in the world.  From cob cottages on the windy and wet shores of Wales that are 500 years old to soaring multi-stories build in desert areas - it is fireproof, durable and safe.  So long as it has a good hat (roof) and good shoes (foundation) it can last hundreds of years.

Let me help you build your very own cob pizza oven

The secret to building a pizza oven for free all lies in the preparation. So when I work with you to build your very own earth pizza oven, we have 3 hours of consultations before the build.  During these we discuss the overall project and nail down some important details so that it's a pizza oven that works for what you need it to and will fit where it's most convenient.  During these consultations (these can be done online if you aren't within a 15-mile radius) we discuss everything from :

  • the best position to site your oven,
  • avoiding fire hazards and potential water problems for your oven
  • what needs to be one to maintain a safe building site
  • where to get your tools and your materials for free - and where best to store them
  • how best to situate everything on your site to ensure both safety and convenience.
  • how to get free help (you need anything from 4-12 people)
  • OR how to get your participants to pay to attend and gain skills at the workshop 
  • and how to set up your work party so it's successful 
  • design of both your base to ensure it's strong enough
  • the size and design of your pizza oven to best suit your needs

We also do soil analysis tests and help you make test bricks so that we have determined 'the recipe' to make strong cob.

I provide you with checklists to make keeping track of everything.

With all the preparation done, I'm there to lead the work party and teach everyone every step of the way. This includes explaining to everyone exactly why we've set things up the way we have so that they learn all the 'tricks of the trade.'  By the time they leave I want them to be able to have the confidence to build their own pizza oven.

Please note: If you are outside of Vancouver WA, I would require accommodation and either a flight from PDX (Portland OR) and transport to your place or if it's within driving distance, mileage at  the current IRS rates. 

When you build it yourself .....you: 

  • build community.  There is nothing like mud-dancing and doing the cob toss to encourage sharing of stories and connection.
  • have the fun (and it IS fun) of building your own pizza oven.
  • get to play in the mud - who wouldn't want an excuse to do that????
  • experience the sense of mastery and achievement of having built something with your own two hands.
  • have the ongoing glow  every time someone comments on your awesome pizza oven.
  • have a functional piece of art you can use for many years to come. 

and EVERYONE involved leaves with the knowledge and skill to build with cob.

The kind of cob pizza oven we build...

At the end of 2- days will look something like this, a single free-standing pizza and it will not yet be plastered.  If you want benches, counters or anything else, I'll be happy to discuss how you can do those easily on your own, or discuss what it would take to have another workshop to complete them.  I'll also provide you with full instructions (and plaster recipes) to plaster it, or you can discuss a plastering workshop with me.   And yes.... you can cook in it without it being plastered, but I'd recommend waiting until it is done.

Choose which way works best for you:

Both include 3 hours of consultations, checklists and up to 2 days of hands on teaching 

Don't want to learn at your place?

No worries, we've got you covered.  Every year I host a cob building, active health and wellness retreat-workshop.  For more details on our next one click here.

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