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Template for the Temporary Brick Pizza Oven Arch, How to Determine the Radius of an Arch, and Removing the Jig

Written by mike on June 17th, 2010

The temporary brick pizza oven I helped build got a lot of attention and a number of questions about the jig used to place the bricks into the arch. Here are the details and a rough blueprint:

-Legs: 2×4, approximately 12″ long (extending 9.25″ below the arch). Qty: 2
-Arch:  1/2″ plywood, 32.25″ wide, 5.25″ at its peak. Qty: 2
The legs extend below the bottom of the arch 9 1/4″ – however, the exact height was adjusted on-site (by cutting part of them off) by the instructor to match up with the size of the bricks he used. In order for the arched bricks to lock into place, you want the bottom edge of the arch to be just below the walls. On our oven, we did a stack of bricks on their side (about 9″) and one layer laying down (about 2″) . Measure your bricks and adjust the height of the arch accordingly.

The two legs are screwed in between the two sides of the arch

To draw the curve, you want to know the radius of the arch you’re building. After doing the weekend class, the instructor gave me the jig we used, but no specifics on the dimensions. Using an online circle calculator with the measurements of the arch height (5.25″) and the chord length (straight-line distance between the two ends of the arch; 32.25″), I was able to determine the radius of the arch to be 27.39″. With the radius, you just need to make a line at that length, one end fixed and one with a pencil attached to it,  and use that to draw the curvature.

If you don’t have internet access and need to figure out the radius, here’s the equation:
radius = (rise2 + (1/2 width)2) / 2 x rise

rise is the height of the arch
width is the length of the chord

Attach the two pieces of plywood with a few screws before cutting, and cut them as one piece to ensure that the curve matches. Use a jigsaw or a router set up to cut curves. Ultimately, the bricks will settle a bit so the curve doesn’t have to be cut perfectly, but try to get it close to make things easy.

Finally, I’m finished using my jig and am selling it cheap – anyone who is looking for one but doesn’t have the tools/time to make it (which would be weird, if you’re planning on building this oven), contact me via the link at the top of the page.

Good luck building!

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