I built my oven using this book.
I loved every step of this process. I am a smallish woman with no masonry experience, yet I built my beautiful oven almost all by myself! It was so much fun and such a satisfying experience that I 'd recommend the project to anyone interested in wood-fired baking. I am a pastry chef and a baking and pastry instructor, and I've always wanted a wood-fired oven, especially since I am a big pizza geek. The pizzas that I am getting out of this oven are spectacular. They are light as air and crisp, but chewy at the same time. Perfect char. And after the pizzas are finished baking I scoop out the fire and slip a couple of sourdough boules in there, and within half an hour I have lovely bread!
I highly recommend this book. And don't be discouraged if you don't get a great pizza the first time you try--it took me several attempts to even get a decent fire, but now it's a breeze! The temperature inside my oven last night was too high for my infra-red laser thermometer to read (and it goes above a thousand degrees. In fact, this morning I realized I singed my hair and my eyelashes when I got a little too close (I'm investigating a solution for this problem!)
Still using my beautiful oven. I've helped others build ovens now, too. I would recommend sealing the dome of the oven with a plaster product (I used Quikwall Surface Bonding Cement, and I added the optional acrylic fortifier), so that it is weatherproof. I know this book disagrees. I just didn't want to have to cover it with an ugly tarp when it rains or when the sprinklers go, nor did I want to build any kind of structure around it to protect it. The oven is pretty and I want it to bee seen! I got a new laser thermometer that can register higher temperatures, and now know that my oven gets up to 1200 degrees F. I find that that is a little too hot for pizzas, and prefer 1000 degrees, for a 2 minute pizza.
This book is really great for guiding you to build an oven. You may want to do a little research about how to build the base for the oven. There is little real instruction about this in the book. I wish it took you through a step-by-step process to build the base out of brick. Instead, it gives vague suggestions about the base. The dome (being the functioning part of the oven) is described very well. This is the important part. But being such a novice at this, I agonized over the base a bit.
The book is indispensable for building this kind of cob oven. Denzer goes into great detail about the proper dimensions of the dome, the door (opening), the hearth, the insulation, the heat sink, and the arch.