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May 2024 Cob Oven Build

Earlier this month, I had the great privilege of leading a cob oven workshop at my Son’s school, Woodson Branch Nature School. This was a fundraiser for the school AND will give them the means to rock out some pizzas and baked goods during fundraisers and such! Woodson Branch is our dream school for our son and it feels so good to be involved with helping them out and moving them forward.

When I’m designing an oven, I make sure to leave the door wide enough to do LARGE pizzas. Anything less than 16″ isn’t large. This oven should be able to cook 20″ pizzas.


First, we built the thermal layer of the oven. This is made with a stiff mix of sand and clay and no straw. This is the part that stores the heat for baking.

Next, we built the insulative layer. This holds the heat inside the oven once you have it up to temperature. This layer is made of clay slip and straw. The straw is what insulates and the clay slip holds it together.

Finally, we started work on the finish layer. This is when you take extra steps to beautify your oven. We decided to make the oven take the form of the school mascot, a barn owl. Most of us thought it looked like a weird old man from the front but from the top, you can see the owl better.

This was the state of the oven at the end of the wortkshop.

…However, a big, freak rainstorm came out of nowhere after we left and damaged the old boy, melting his nose and collapsing his mouth. Therefore, I came back the next day and he got an unexpected facelift and nose job!

Yesterday, I went and removed the bricks holding the mouth open. 

All and all, it was a great workshop and I look forward to our next big adventure!