Barrel Oven at Portland Waldorf School

Portland Waldorf School Barrel Oven

This Barrel Oven establishes a visual and functional centerpoint for the Portland Waldorf School’s “Living Labs” program.

As the following testimony by the program’s director Kelly Hogan reflects, the Barrel Oven provides a versatile means of cooking as well as a gathering point for the community:

“Our community is in love with our oven! So far we have had a few fires without cooking, baked cookies, roasted chestnuts, baked stuffed apples and made pizza twice. Next week we will make kale chips, soft pretzals and fire mini clay pots made out of a special clay from new mexico. I also have a group of high school seniors that are working on multiple cooking projects this fall using ingredients from our campus and neighborhood.  The parent council and board of directors are hosting a community gathering event on Oct 15th just for the sake of gathering in the hearth and to acknowledge how the space strengthens our community. It has been amazing!! Thank you so much for your work and patience with me in our process with the oven. It turned out truly magically.”

This Barrel Oven was made in Firespeaking’s shop and measures 24″ in diameter and 32″ in length. While we are not currently producing barrel ovens, we do now offer a full line of accompanying hardware including the firebox door, the ash door and the grate.


This oven was built by Max Edleson and assistant Shay Hohmann.  The beautiful roof structure was headed up by Tim Owen-Kennedy and Tom Myers. The whole project wouldn’t have been possible without the work and dedication of Kelly Hogan.


This Barrel Oven employs the technique used in masonry heater construction of creating a “double skin”  by having an inside layer of masonry that is separated from the outside layer in order to hide any of the stresses from thermal expansion in the inside layer.  In this case, we have also used this technique to experiment with the use of IFBs, insulative fire brick, in the vault to focus heat exchange into the metal cylinder rather than into the surrounding masonry.  Stay tuned for a separate post detailing this oven’s construction.

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