cob ovens on trailers

“I was wondering if you might have any info or resources for cob oven on trailers?”

Here’s my thoughts and experience, over and above what’s already in Build Your Own Earth Oven:

I wouldn’t try to put a cob or earthen oven on a trailer myself. I do know of one guy who did but he had to do repairs on the oven before the year was out but I haven’t heard from him since, so don’t know the whole story of his oven. Maybe it’s doing just fine. It’s hard to imagine that unfired earth would be able to withstand prolonged exposure to road vibration without serious cracking and ultimate failures.

The only trailer oven I’ve made was lightweight, hi-temp cement, as described in the book. I’ll refer you to that and Dan Wing’s article about trailers for ovens, which is here.

I haven’t yet heard from anyone who has successfully done what I’ve only seen in Mexico, a site-built temporary, wood-fired, masonry oven mortared with mud so that it could be quickly and easily disassembled and moved to another town for another festival.

There are myriad other ways a person might build a quick oven, including pre-cast, fitted pieces of fired clay (or hi-temp refractory cement) that could be constructed into a shell over a brick hearth — or even a metal dome over a fire-brick floor, which I suspect would work fine for pizza. I would think that just about any one of these options would be much cheaper than building a road-worthy (and safe) trailer.

I’d love to hear from folks who’ve got experience they’d like to share on this one, especially anyone with photos of Mexican festival ovens.

About Kiko Denzer

I live in western Oregon with my family and run Hand Print Press with help from friends Max and Eva. We are interested in restoring the arts of living to their rightful, traditional, public role, as cultural medium – and think the web is a poor substitute, but until we can fashion something better, we try to make the most of it.

2 Responses to cob ovens on trailers

  1. Joshua says:

    I have a commercial wfo on a trailer.

    The first thing people need to know is that the local Health Department division of Food Safety will generally dictate what type of oven to begin with.
    Meaning for example that, in my part of the world, each county has it’s own rules and licensing – and pretty much all of them require all food equipment to be NSF certified. So a cobb oven won’t fly. Regardless of the technical issues.

    But assuming the HD allows it, I would say a brick oven or a cob oven is probably less road-worthy than a modular cast masonry oven. Why? Because there are fewer pieces to vibrate apart, and once in place, are self-supporting. Even the floors are just a few large firebrick pieces.

    That being said, I believe just about any oven on a trailer is going to need more maint and repair than a fixed-in-place.

  2. Jim Alber says:

    Hello, I am planning to build a portable brick oven. I was hoping to find some clear answers on how to build a portable brick oven. My plan is to build a brick structure with a channel iron frame surrounding the oven structure. Unless I discover a reason to do otherwise, I will build buck stays with short independent frame segments to handle the issue of expansion of the steel frame. Overlaying the mass, I plan to use commercial ceramic wool insulation and then clad the oven as is done on any large industrial boiler. Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated. Best regards, Jim

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