DIY Yarn Ball Winder from Scraps

My attempt to have a yarn ball winder .

Yarn ball wider revisited - specifications-part 1

Some specifications about my yarn ball winder.

DIY entryway table

A place to put your keys, phone and mail.

Legwarmers/ Boot Cuff

Beginner's cable knitting project

Thursday, December 4, 2014

DIY Pizza oven and barbeque area

I know it's late to talk about summer but just because it's winter time again, I wanna remember the good old summer days. And for this matter I created this post about my DIY barbeque and the attached pizza oven.
The picture you see is how far I've got with the construction. Why ? Because it was much more important to cook using the pizza oven or barbeque than to get preoccupied with finishing it. I guess I will be finishing it next year since during winter time it's in "conservation".

Before we even considered starting such a project we got informed and documented over the internet about building such a thing. I must mention that my husband (Adrian) and I we never laid a brick before so novices is an understatement.
For us the study began with pictures all over the internet regarding this topic. I must say the most detailed website with pictures and diy testimonials from other people was They have a forum that lists a lot of builds some that are truly art and other from beginners like me.

First there was chaos. The spring garden being prepared for the annual plants . We had decided upon a place that would be convenient for us and we poured a concrete platform.
we divided the length of the platform so that we would have an area to put the plated , a barbeque area and then a pizza oven ( all the fun in one place).

We started the build up with a base ( legs) of the future platform that will sit on top so we can build the barbeque and the oven. from the size of the platform you can tell we didn't go for a large oven , the barbeque area being the largest of the area.

After building the legs to the proper height which may differ depending on how tall you are, we had a neighbor coming over to build us the platform support that the second concrete plate was poured on ( making so the base on which the real BBQ and oven are build on)
We started building the BBQ area first because I wasn't set on the design for the pizza oven.After laying 4 rows of bricks it was time to start the front arch . Scary thing if you haven't done one before (I recommend researching on or even

The arch required some bricks to be cut at an angle that Adrian did using a hand held grinder with a brick cutting disk. A lot of dust and good eye for making a free hand cut ( in Romania they don't have a rental wet saw and even if they did probably would cost a fortune to rent so the whole purpose of DIY to make it as cheap as possible would burn in flames) . So thanks to my husband Adrian that stood in the red brick dust cutting and re-cutting bricks to make the best fit for the arch . PS I also used his brute force to mix up the batches of concrete while I was laying the bricks and leveling them for a straight build.
We build an arch template out of OSB and started laying bricks on the template . We let it set of a day before removing the template and continuing the build up.In the picture below you can see some progress in building it.

A twilight with the neighbor's cat Peaches that sadly is no longer alive but he loved living in our back yard garden during the day.

Adrian trying to figure out how high to build the chimney and some sort of hat so it won't rain inside the barbeque.

Meanwhile Pepper was sleeping without any care in the world in the middle of my new gravel pathway soaking up in the sun. ( he looks like he's dead but I can assure you he is not. That's how he likes to sleep.)

Besides these pictures I had others about starting up the pizza oven but if I didn't make a post of it as soon as it was done , they were lost. So all i have to show is some construction unfinished yet. maybe next spring will be done.

I went for the most simple construction ever. Although I wanted to keep the arch of the BBQ, it was impossible ( too many bricks and not cheap).
For the BBQ and the base we used regular bricks since the temperature would not be that high so we bought around 400 bricks ( not all at once because I didn't want to have a lot leftover). And for the pizza oven, I used fire bricks ( refractory bricks that can withstand temperatures of 1000 C degrees at least). The total amount of fire bricks for my oven was 100 pieces and considering they cost double than regular bricks the price was not negligible. I didn't had money left for this project but my youngest sister Iulia pitched in with the amount for the fire bricks so i made her a promise that we will serve pizza when she comes to visit.
All good so far. My idea for the oven was to build an entry arch ( see the picture) and using the same arch template , I build up behind the entry at a distance of exactly one width of a brick , 3 more arches connected of course by refractory mortar.I build the arches using the width of the bricks so I wouldn't have to do any more cutting with the hand held grinder and to hold better the heat inside.
Another problem I encountered is the refractory mortar.Here in stores they sell refractory mortar which is just a reddish clay that must be cured at thousands of degrees in order to become solid . Otherwise it will just wash away. So I went online and I found a recipe for refractory mortar that is for home grade (just wright for pizza ovens) so i used 1 part reddish refractory powder and 2 parts Portland cement and 1.5 parts finest sand .
For me this mixture worked OK. The main key that I read about on the forum of was the curing time. So after building it, it took us 7 days to make a proper fire and test the cooking.
After build it must stay 3 days to dry but if it's hot outside it must be covered with a tarp to prevent fast evaporation and cracking. If the heat is really a problem , wet it with a sprinkler hose from time to time.

On the 4th day, set a fire inside the oven for 30 minutes ( so just a few pieces of wood).
On the 5th day , set a fire for 2 hours max.
On the 6th day, you may start a bigger fire and try to get your oven to about 400 C degrees . You will see some crackings but nothing serious. You can mend it once it cools down.
On the 7th day , get your fire to about 400 C degrees and start cooking. I don't own a high temperature thermometer and I also found on that if you keep a fire burning inside for about 2 hours or more you will get the wright temperature for cooking pizza.
Since I was anxious to try out a pizza made in this oven, I used the arch template as a door ( it eventually got scored but after a couple of uses of the oven)
I'm not going to go into details about the pizza dough or the fact that my oven has no chimney yet . The first pizza cooked really fast and it took some practice to get the hang of it but here are the results ( so delicious they were)
We also made some lachmacun ( a turkish pizza made with beef and onions,served with parsley, tomatoes and lemons)

My conclusions about this build :
1. Anyone can do it if you research the topic a bit
2.Don't mix large batches of mortar since it requires some force if you don't own proper tools
3.Wet your bricks before you start building but not just a regular sprinkle ( put them in a bucket of water) otherwise they will dry up your mortar too quick
4.Be patient and your reward will come when you taste the cooking

If anyone would be interested in closeup photos or sizes of what I made, let me know and I'll post some details.