Masonry Heaters, Wood-Fired Ovens, Natural Building

Barrel Oven Workshop at Sweet Briar Farm

Sebastian and Jeanna are getting married!
This oven will be a part of their wedding celebration and then will live on to cook meals for their family and friends.


Join Us For This 2-day, Comprehensive, Hands-On
Workshop on How to Build A Wood-Fired Barrel Oven.

June 16-17, 2012 – Sebastopol, California

Registration/Info: Eva Edleson-


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Oven Building Workshop at Wise Acres Farm

Oven Building Workshop at Wise Acres Farm
Pleasant Hill, OR (August 25, 26 2012)

Learn how to build your own super-insulated, wood-fired, earthen oven!

Learn how to make an oven to cook bread, pizza, cookies, cakes, pies, casseroles, stews, and so much more!

Wise Acres Farm is a beautiful place and home to Dr. Sharol Tilgner, author of “Herbal Medicine from the Heart of the Earth”!
Check out this from her website-

“Wise Acres Farm is an educational farm where the mind expands and the soul is nourished. Our mission is to connect people in the city with farm life.  The farms educational focus is on growing food and herbs. At Wise Acres you can meet and become familiar with over 200 herbs. We teach herb classes for the beginner as well as the advanced student. There is something for everyone at Wise Acres. To get more information on classes click here.”

For more information or to register for this workshop, contact
Sharol Tilgner-

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Duckpond Pottery Oven

Oven Building Workshop at Duckpond Pottery
Brevard, NC (April 14-15, 2012)

Join us for this workshop and learn how to make a super insulated,
WOOD-FIRED OVEN oven to cook bread, pizza, cookies, cakes, pies,
casseroles, stews, and so much more!

Click on poster to view.
To register and for more info contact Nick Freidman-

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Bali Wood-Fired Oven

We built this wood-fired oven in Bali for Max’s parents using local bricks, clays, sands and fibers. The oven joins the traditional paon (cookstove) that Max built a few years ago.

This oven features ample wood storage for both units, a metal firing door and a wooden door for baking. (Stay tuned for an article about firing doors and efficiency in wood-fired ovens.)

It is always a fun challenge to apply our knowledge of ovens and natural building to local materials. The clay for this oven comes from a village roof tile factory scrap pile and the sand and stone came from a nearby volcano. We found an incredibly porous lava stone to insulate underneath the hearth floor and surrounded the oven’s thermal layer with a mixture that included rice hulls and thatching grass.

Note the sand used to make the smooth inside shape and the sculpted “squirrel tail” to jog the chimney. Upon finishing the oven, we cooked for a three day “Live-Culture Cuisine” fermentation workshop led by Sandor Katz and Mary Jane Edleson.

Many delicious feasts ahead!

Learn to Build Your Own Earth Oven!

Ledge Stone Masonry Heater Near Eugene, Oregon

This heater was built for a family who live near Eugene, OR.  It features a see-through firebox, heated bench and a bake oven.  The outside skin is laid with Montana Bitterroot ledge stone with Three Rivers stone detailing the bake oven arch.  We cast, poured and and polished the bench which includes special embedded stones and fossils.

The heater has a compact, responsive design which serves as a partial wall between living and dining room spaces.  It could have many different facing looks, occupies an area of 48″ x 48″ and stands 6 1/2′ tall.

Read More….

Thanks to Greenleaf Design Build for their good organization and excellent
craftsmanship which allowed our work to flow together seamlessly with their’s.

Masonry Heater at the Allen’s (Portland, OR)


We built this masonry heater in the Portland area in autumn of 2011.  Our clients had collected many beautiful bricks dating back to 1883 (a long time from our West Coast perspective!), local basalt rock, and cobble stones that originally paved the streets of Portland.

This masonry heater (based on the Swedish 5-run design) has a see through firebox, a bake oven, a three-sided heated bench, and a place for wood storage.

This project brings together our understanding of the technical aspects of combustion and heating efficiency and our experience with design and use of recycled building materials.  The heater is currently curing and the exit flue will be installed shortly.  We plan to update this post once the heater is fired and make new posts about the process of this build and about the use of polished “concrete counter tops” for benches and other elements of mass heaters.  Check back on this site, join our mailing list, and see more about this project on Facebook.

Thank you to Norbert Senf and Doug Hargrave for their development of the Norccore and for generous technical assistance in preparation for this project.  Thank you also to Jerry Frisch for continual support and inspiration.

Read more….

Pizza Party in the Dabbeni Barrel Oven!



This Barrel Oven’s maiden voyage fed over 70 people with amazing pizzas!

The pizza above is one of Astrid’s special recipe- corn, mozzarella and gorgonzola.
Once out of the oven it is topped with arugula and white truffle oil.
Another pizza sauce was made with capers from Paolo’s mother’s garden in Italy.



I made chocolate truffle brownies and gingerbread cake for dessert!


During the party we cooked some pizzas directly on the
pizza stones and some on metal pans.
The pizzas cooked on the stones had a more crispy and delicious crust.
Above you can see the barrel oven with plaster still drying.

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MHA Announces New Masonry Heater Education Program

Tucson, Arizona, July 28, 2011

The Masonry Heater Association of North America has recently developed the HMED (Heater Mason’s Education & Development) program designed for masons and people interested in learning how to build wood-fired masonry heaters.

The program is designed to:

  • Provide an education program that starts with basic information and skills training.
  • Provide a standard curriculum that will be delivered in facilities throughout North America.
  • Provide opportunities to earn continued education credits for various certification programs.
  • Promote safe building practices for everyone interested in building masonry heaters.
  • Establish a training system that is specific to North America.

MHA’s HMED program provides an excellent opportunity for someone to learn the basic theory and construction of masonry heater, a necessary step before taking on the task of building masonry heaters. The program was developed due to increasing interest in Masonry Heaters as an alternative method to heat homes.

Classes are currently scheduled for:

September 17 – 20, 2011 in Perth, Ontario, Canada, level one, modules 1 &2
November 04 – 07, 2011 in Shutesbury, Massachusetts, level one, modules 1 &2


September 17 – 20, 2011 in Perth, Ontario
$399/module for MHA members
$450/module for non MHA members

November 4 – 7, 2011 in Shaftesbury, Massachusetts
$399/module for MHA members
$450/module for non MHA members
$500 room and meals at Sirius Community

What are Masonry Heaters?

A masonry heater is a special type of fireplace made of stone, brick, stucco or tile which will heat your home safely and comfortably. Masonry heaters burn wood, which is North America’s cheapest and most abundant bio-fuel. We currently use less than ten percent of available deadfall timber from our forests. Masonry heaters burn efficiently and with very low emissions, which make them extremely “green”.

Masonry heaters work on the principal of thermal storage due to the considerable thermal mass of the materials used in their construction (most of them are heavy, often weighing tons). The best masonry heaters soak up most of the heat from the wood blaze within the firebox through a cleverly designed system of channels or chambers which “harvest” heat from the hot gases as they pass by. This energy migrates through the masonry slowly until it reaches the surface where it “illuminates” the room with invisible rays of heat known as infrared radiation. This way heat from a fire in the morning can still be warming a home in the evening.

The Masonry Heater Association of North America hosts an annual workshop where masons can get hands-on practice building wood-fired masonry heaters and bake ovens. Instructional books on how to build and operate masonry heaters and bake ovens are available on the MHA’s website.

For more information on masonry heaters, education classes or membership in the Masonry Heater Association of
North America, contact the MHA office:

Masonry Heater Association of North America
Richard Smith, Executive Director
2180 S. Flying Q Lane
Tucson, AZ. 85713
(520) 883-0191

Find out more…..

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