Wood Fired Oven Workshops



Workshop News

Images and comments of past workshops are reported below...

A report of the Mallacoota Workshop. Reprinted with permission from the Editor of 'The Mouth', a local community newsletter.


Wood Fired Oven Workshop

 A Great Success!


“The best course I have ever been on!” “Great weekend”,  “Fantastic, extremely well taught, rewarding, practical” these are just some of the comments received at the end of the Wood Fired Oven Workshop run by the Mallacoota District Health and Support Service, Community House last weekend. 


Eighteen people gathered outside the Men’s Shed on Saturday morning to learn how to build a wood fired oven from tutor Alan Watt and within an hour were hard at work building two different types of wood fired ovens.  There was plenty of opportunity for hands on experience as Alan guided the participants through the process of building a “low tech” and a “high tech” oven.


Day One Activities


 Packing the "heat bank" base.

Forming the outer 'skirt' wall


Low-tech oven with door mould in place.


Sand mould being formed for "hi-tech" oven.


Forming the sand mould - hi-tech oven


First layer of clay and sand mix being applied to "low-tech" oven.


Completing the refractory cast chimney on the high-tech.oven.


"Low-tech" oven at end of first day.


Second Day Activities

By the end of day one both ovens were well under way. Alan stayed over at the Men’s Shed Saturday night to supervise the gradual drying out of the “low tech” oven so that the final rendering and initial firing could take place during the Sunday session. 

By 11am the first scones and bread were being cooked in the “low tech” oven and finishing touches were being applied to the “high tech” oven.  The “high tech” oven requires a week to completely dry out before it’s first firing, which is scheduled to take place this coming weekend.  By 1pm Sunday a flow of pizzas had started as the participants enjoyed the fruits of their labours.


First focaccia being cooked while insulating render is being applied.


Bread from the low - tech oven



Morning tea scones Sunday morning - low tech-oven


Pizzas start to flow for lunch on Sunday - low tech. oven


The pizza peel in use


Applying the hi-tech castable as a first layer over the sand mould


Insulating layer being applied and the chimney being set


Hi-tech oven near completion


Tutor Alan Watt hails from Tanja, NSW and over the past year has run several Wood Fired Oven Workshops for the Far South Coast Community College in Bega NSW.  Alan has been designing and building wood fired ovens for many years.  He is an internationally acclaimed teacher and practitioner of ceramics.  Until recently he was Head of Ceramics, Art School, ANU.  We were fortunate indeed that Alan agreed to come to Mallacoota and share his enthusiasm and expertise in the building of wood fired ovens.

The “high tech oven will become a useful addition to the Men’s Shed and it is anticipated it will add a new dimension to various activities at MDHSS.  Due to the success of the workshop another workshop may be run early in 2006.  Interested persons should contact Susie Vatcher at the MDHSS Community House on 51580 603.  The workshop was funded by ACFE, Adult Education in the Community and coordinated by Mallacoota District Health and Support Service.




Susie Vatcher, MDHSS Community House Coordinator, next to new “high tech” oven