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Never too old for all reasonable projects.

Over 40 years ago we read an article in “Mother Earth News” about a backyard wood fired oven and decided that was something we would like to do.

Now at age 72 and having no experience, if we were ever going to it, the time was now. Last year during a very cold, snowy winter I spent a great deal of time surfing the web and ran across your plans and ordered a CD’s. After a great deal of research, study and your details with photos we pushed forward. The winters in Cache Valley Utah are cold and snowy, delaying our foundation start until May.

My wife and I dug the hole, mixed and poured the concrete ourselves. We made daily trips with our 4wheeler and trailer to the gravel pit for the next days project. After 3 months of daily labor we fired up our finished oven. With the appropriate curing time we invited a few friends for our first pizza party. We didn’t realize how many friends we had until the summer was over and snow returned. We had made and served over 300 pizzas so far and we are still counting.

Dennis and Carolyn initially cooked 300 pizzas, self help on the oven.

Our thanks to you for putting together a program we could follow.

Just a one of those 300 pizzas we made finished project self-help never too old project work on the roof project work on hearth surface

Dennis and Carolyn
Utah, USA

Respond to the Never too old for all reasonable projects. article:

18 Comments - post your thoughts

  1. Dennis, thank yo for sharing this. Very inspirational!

    That is right, it is worthy project for the future – practical and very pleasing in so many aspects, there is no need to hurry. Did you have some of your friends helping along with the building or it was only you and your other half, Carolyn, who worked it with you?

    Now you’ll have 28+ long years enjoying the oven. How many pizzas and roasts and breads there will be produced?!

    By RadoPermalink

  2. We are sorry to have taken so long to reply to your question:

    Carolyn and I did the bulk of the work by ourselves.

    We did have a couple of friends who came by to help on two different days. These friends are our age and we were a little concerned we were overworking them. We noticed they didn’t come by again while we were working.

    When it got time to do the finishing we had a young friend who does brick work and was out of projects help us with the outside brick.

    We also realized we couldn’t get on the roof so we hired a 15 year old who does yard work for us to get up there and set the tiles. Dennis laid them out on the ground and handed them up.

    This was a very exciting and challenging project and all our neighbors watched in amazement. However, they all enjoy the pizza. We are all looking forward to this summer.

    A Note From Carolyn:

    Dennis did all the measuring, checking, hauling concrete and setting the domes with only one eye. He wears a patch on his left eye and can only do close work for short periods of time. He is very particular and exacting so that accounts for the length of time it took us. I only mixed the concrete, hauled block and brick and was his main cheering section.

    By Dennis Gray — Permalink

  3. Please can you tell how I can build brick oven?
    Thnak you

    By said — Permalink

  4. Great Job. My wife and i also built a great pizza oven in Ohio, 17 Miles east of lancaster ohio. Yoy can see our finished pizza oven on face book Gary DeMarco.

    By Gary DeMarco — Permalink

  5. Dennis,

    Fantastic oven. I live in Cottonwood Heights and have my oven operational but not enclosed. If you are open for visitors, I would love to come by and see what you have done. Email me anytime.

    Kind regards, Kevin

    By Kevin Hart — Permalink

  6. You guys are amazing! The oven looks beautiful. I just built a paver patio two years ago, and an oven like this would be the perfect compliment for it. I’m also getting up there (66), but at seventy-two years young, you’re an incredible inspiration! Thank you!

    By Jeff — Permalink

  7. Can you send me your directions on how to build this great pizza oven? My husband loves it.

    By Renee — Permalink

  8. Kevin, I would be happy to have you come see our oven. We still have the oven winterized. You know what a cold winter we have had in Cache Valley. Soon we will be getting ready to cook. Get in touch with us and we can make arrangements for you to come. Thanks for the comments. Dennis

    By Dennis Gray — Permalink

  9. Dennis and Carolyn,

    Your oven is really outstanding!

    My father and I have done a similar oven (based on Rado’s instructions) but I must say it doesn’t match the look of your oven.

    We us our oven a lot…probably too much (considering the weight we are gaining).



    Gothenburg – Sweden

    By Martin — Permalink

  10. Your pizza oven is exactly what we’re looking for. Can you send me the information on where/how you got the instructions. Coincidentally, our names are Dennis and Carolyn.

    Greatly appreciate it. Thank you.

    By Dennis Rydgren — Permalink

  11. Great oven. How do you get the fireplace burning smoke up a chimney if the pizza oven is above it? Can you send plans, instructions? Or where you got the plans. We have seen availability of oven mold, but like the dual fireplace/pizza oven.
    One more thing: If you put the wood in the back to burn, how does the heat become even around the entire oven inside area?

    By ARTHUR — Permalink

  12. Hello Dennis and Carolyn,
    Your work of art is amazing. I have been in the “backing up and getting ready” phase of oven building for a couple of years. Like Kevin from the above post, would love to see your oven in action. If you ever have an “open house” I would love to attend. Where did you get the high temp. cement from? That is one item I am missing.

    Great work, Mark.

    By Mark — Permalink

  13. Awesome project, meticulously executed it appears.
    Thanks for sharing.
    I have the same questions as Arthur above.
    Plus, this: we have a large fireplace inside our home and am wondering about
    feasibility of converting to pizza oven. Any ideas or leads?

    thanks again,

    By Mike Persinger — Permalink

  14. how do i get plans for brick oven? i understand you might have some. i too am 72, a semi retired brick masonry contractor, still sub teaching every day with kids in special ed, a chaplain, and one time pastor and dairyman. love your gusto.

    By bob brand — Permalink

  15. Mike, I believe it would depend on the available space, surface size the fire place takes, to fit this oven there instead of the fireplace. In couple of places Rado described building smaller ovens in surface area for indoors just by reducing number of firebricks in the floor and correspondingly also fewer firebricks in walls and ceiling arches. Which means you could rebuild the fireplace into the oven on the same spot. Also less material goes into indoor ovens. I downloaded the MTO plans using this page:

    By Feodor — Permalink

  16. Arthur, I downloaded these plans, 3 different oven designs, via this page:

    That same link is also at the top of this page.

    By Feodor — Permalink

  17. I ordered these same plans, 3 different oven designs, via this page:

    If you are a brick masonry contractor the oven building will be a breeze for you. I am close to close to 65 years young too, never laid a brick before and still I am definitely enjoying this marvelous 3g MTO project…

    That same link is also at the top of this page.

    By Feodor — Permalink

  18. Hello, we live in Cache Valley as well and would love to stop by some time and check this amazing thing out. We live near 2100 N and 1200 E, North Logan.

    Thanks Jeff and Toni

    By jeff bruce — Permalink

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