Closing front of oven minimum?

The directions say you can close the front of the oven, but you must have at minimum 240 sq inches. Just curious what happens if you go below that mark? Say 170-180 sq inches?

Chris Anderson


I closed off the front of my oven using an arch, but then after I did it, I went and used a calculator for an ellipsis. It is roughly half brick all around (some are shorter at top to line up). 13.5 inches vertical, and 17.5 inches horizontal. If I am using an ellipsis area calculator correctly, that would be 371.1 sq inches in a full ellipsis, but at half of that, we are looking at 185.55 sq inches opening in the front. So what happens if we fall below the 244 thumbs up mark? I can fix fix by removing some of the brick.

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@BrickWood , @bikerbudmatt Incase this is in a place you all don’t see it, I thought I would tag you. I also figure with it being winter, up north, builds are slowing down. Thanks in advance for thoughts / opinions. I have the the oven covered for now and will brick veneer in the spring if it isn’t too rainy!

Hi Chris,

I’m not an expert on the ratios that @BrickWood specifies, but I know he must have a good reason for it. My uninformed guess is that it has to do with fresh air inflow as well as access to the interior. The oven will draw in as much air as it needs, even if it’s just through the edges of the door, but to get a roaring hot pizza-worthy blaze, you’d need to make sure that the air flow is unimpeded rather than being drawn in like a Venturi funnel—at some point, combustion will slow down and so will temperatures.

Looking at building diagrams, it’s also clear that the BrickWood design pictures a relatively linear closure at the top, supported by a lintel embedded into the brick. That would have some advantages for smoke routing (up the chimney instead of through the arch), but I don’t think it’s critical otherwise.

I made the same decision as you, to favor cooking as much as I could this fall (and even today it’s nice weather here in Connecticut) versus finishing out our veneer. That’s coming next summer, along with a stone patio and a firepit.

Pro tip: if the weather outside is below freezing, prepare your pizzas indoors. The dough freezes quickly! :slight_smile:

All the best, Chris!

Ya I figured that may be the case, but was hoping the opening would be big enough. Think I need to grind some off? I followed the directions on width and height, but just laying in bed one night…the ellipsis, thought came into my head. I can widen with a 8 inch grinder.


I’d wait until @BrickWood weighs in on this. Remember my opinion is uninformed. :wink:

But the pizza dough vs. Connecticut’s brisk temperature conditions advice still applies!

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Hey Chris -

It looks like the oven has seen some action, so how was the performance?

Did you have any issues w/ building the fire or the fire not getting enough oxygen?

How was the draw / airflow? Did you have excess smoke coming out of the front of the oven, or was the majority of the smoke exiting from the chimney?

What firebrick hearth and ceiling temps are you reaching?

I never encourage anyone to grind / remove if they don’t have to. Actually, grinding is the LAST resort… cuz it’s permanent!

PS - We have several oven pics from customers w/ smaller openings than what I see in your picture.

Performance has been spectacular. Oven in about 2 hours gets to over 1000 F, my laser thermometer cuts off at 1012 and reads high. Walls at 800 + and floor easily at 800 +. Raging fire as you can see with the smoke coming out. However, all of this was before I added the closure…I wanted to use the oven sooner than later and figured I would clean the brick (I did) and add the closure towards the end of the season (Winter is here in Ohio).

I cook breads and have your door, and was losing heat faster than I would like for bread bakes. No gasket on the door and no damper. As stated in other posts, I am hoping for the damper for Christmas…If not, I will just buy it anyway :wink: I was hoping to get some heat from the bricks and then modify the door for longer slow cooks. Maybe like the rest of the build I am just over thinking it. I will test out and let you know.

Regardless. The system, designs and kit was wonderful and I couldn’t be happier. I was tried to stay within specs, but then didn’t calculate the ellipse versus square until after done. I just wanted to make sure I wasn’t going to damage anything or trap smoke. I added the 12 inch pipe to the chimney as well and with the damper added will get more height which should add to chimney draw. In the spring, I plan to add a thin brick veneer to everything, but due to Covid it was on 5 weeks for deliver, so opted to cure and cook this season and add it next season.


Just thought I would post an update… no problem getting a fire started. Ceiling above 1000 f oven floor at 750+/- and if you look closely at the bricks closing you can see they turned white on the inside and register about 630F. Happy with the modification, but am going to have to be careful putting in additional wood and make sure I don’t bump those bricks. I usually wear welding gloves anyway hehehe


Looks great. I have been struggling to decide how to close off my oven. I love the arch, didn’t want to loose the look, this looks perfect. Have you had any issues? Thinking i can cut a plywood form to support the bricks till the mortar dries. Do you have any tips or suggestions?

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