a domed masonry form

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Project by dan mosheim posted 10-15-2013 01:26 AM 2360 views 9 times favorited 14 comments Add to Favorites Watch

there is probably no way you can grasp what we did here from the six photos above, but i’ll try to clue you in a bit. the goal was to build an easy to set up, collapsible, reusable, form for building domed masonry wood fired pizza ovens. this one is 6 feet in diameter and 26” high. we have made other forms in the past, but the ‘easy to set up part’ always eluded us. my brother in law, peter moore, of vermont brick ovens decided he finally wanted to ‘do it right’. of course we had no idea what ‘right’ was but eventually we settled on the 24 piece ‘turtle shell concept you see above. in the first photo you can see the handwheel that, once the mortar is set, controls the ‘collapse’ process. the second photo shows the ‘build’ form, to which we screwed the 120 curved laminate piecess that make up the 24, 5 layer ‘shell’ sections. the third photo shows a completed dome from a previous oven. the fourth shows us fitting up the oversize sections to the final 8 rib form. the fifth photo shows the form set up on site last friday. it only took about 20 minutes to shim it and set it up and get it ready for the bricks. the last photo hopefully gives you some idea of the complexity and size of the finished oven .. lots going on here. if you are curious, there are many more photos and descriptions of the process in three posts on my dorset custom furniture blog. i try not to whine too much, but this one was a real challenge, and when it left last thursday, i was glad to see it on its way .. we’ll be going back for the ‘collapse’ ceremony later this week .. all for now .. dan

-- dan,vermont,

14 comments so far

View Moron's profile


5002 posts in 3053 days

#1 posted 10-15-2013 01:30 AM

might I be the 1st to say

nicely done

-- "Good artists borrow, great artists steal”…..Picasso

View hoss12992's profile


3484 posts in 1052 days

#2 posted 10-15-2013 01:53 AM

Wow, this is really cool, and def very handy. Great job

-- The Old Rednek Workshop

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

14729 posts in 2265 days

#3 posted 10-15-2013 02:01 AM

That is really a neat way to build it. Nice going!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!..............Jim

-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


17055 posts in 2835 days

#4 posted 10-15-2013 02:06 AM

Interesting project. Nicely done. How did they do it without a form? Work slow and let it be self supporting as the mortar hardened?

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View lightweightladylefty's profile


3026 posts in 2872 days

#5 posted 10-15-2013 03:30 AM


This is far too complex for my puny brain to comprehend! Your work is amazing.


-- Jesus is the ONLY reason for ANY season.

View deon's profile


2417 posts in 2185 days

#6 posted 10-15-2013 05:03 AM

Great work!

-- Dreaming patterns

View shipwright's profile (online now)


6441 posts in 1957 days

#7 posted 10-15-2013 05:26 AM

Nice one Dan.
Might be able to make a boat builder out of you yet. :-)
Does this have to come out of the mouth of the completed oven when collapsed?
Very nice job and great thought process.

-- Paul M ..............If God wanted us to have fiberglass boats he would have given us fiberglass trees.

View jeffl's profile


288 posts in 2470 days

#8 posted 10-15-2013 11:39 AM

Nice work! I built a arched pizza oven that works great but I could see the time saving advantages of this design .

-- Jeff,

View mbs's profile


1586 posts in 2099 days

#9 posted 10-15-2013 01:11 PM

very interesting, and complicated.

-- Sorry the reply is so long. I didn't have time to write a short reply.

View scrollingmom's profile


1031 posts in 1623 days

#10 posted 10-15-2013 01:59 PM

Wow too cool! How big of a pizza or how many at one time will that make? When will they be done for us to join you?

-- Kelly, Allen,KS

View stefang's profile


15140 posts in 2494 days

#11 posted 10-15-2013 04:19 PM

Nicely done Dan. It looks like it is made in small enough pieces to be collapsed and taken out a piece at a time after the mortar is dry, but it seems there must be some magic to the collapse process, so it will be interesting to watch the finale. It does look like the jack in the middle is lowered and maybe the pieces are hinged to fold inwards or something like that. Sorry, I can’t help playing the guessing game.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View littlecope's profile


3018 posts in 2661 days

#12 posted 10-16-2013 12:41 AM

Great Work Dan and very creative making it collapsible and reusable! Very Well Done!!

-- Mike in Concord, NH---Unpleasant tasks are simply worthy challenges to improve skills.

View Vagabondwheeler's profile


50 posts in 1149 days

#13 posted 10-16-2013 02:30 AM

Just amazing work. Thanks for posting.

-- KDW

View dan mosheim's profile

dan mosheim

240 posts in 2848 days

#14 posted 10-17-2013 02:57 AM

thank you all for your comments. regarding the removal, the 8 rib pieces that the shells are stacked on are just slipped into notches in the top hub, not hinged, and should be easily removed through the oven door once the hub is lowered with the handwheel .. best. dan

-- dan,vermont,

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