Chimney in the Middle of the Wood-Fired Oven. Bad Idea?

Hi, I am looking for advice from someone who has some knowledge/experience with brick ovens.

I was just visiting a friend who had a backyard addition and decided to added a brick oven to the project. When I saw it, I was confused by two design elements: Chimney in the Center, Mortar between the bricks on oven floor. Are either of these serious issues / hazards?

I had never seen a brick oven with the Chimney in the Center of it. Also, the floor is fire brick, but it has standard mortar between the bricks; I am almost confident that it is not vermiculite or Refractory Fire Clay. I am concerned that instead of a wood burning oven, the mason built a really big rocket stove.

Thanks for any thoughts. (Here is a poor video of the inside)

Standard mortar will chip out faster with thermal shock. Probably not ideal.

I don’t know if the chimney in the center is a good idea. Could affect convection. I guess the questions that I would have are:

How hot does it get throughout the oven during the cook?

How has the pizza tasted?

Does it work in the way he wants?
I mean if it works it works.


It is literally brand new (last week) and has not been cured/seasoned yet. So we have yet to see it in action.

I have never seen an oven with the chimney in the center, so I was pretty concerned. I was informed that this is a “barrel vault configuration.”

Anyhow, thanks!

Hi Father Ken, and welcome to the BrickWood forums!

Have you any updates on how this oven design worked out for your friend? In addition to the issues that @Newman pointed out, the bricks in the hearth are laid perpendicular to the edge. If mortar chips out, the next thing is a brick heaving. Instant barrier for a peel! BrickWood recommends that the hearth be laid in a herringbone pattern so no joints are perpendicular to the front or frame of the oven, for just that reason.

It looks like you trashed the video you had shared, so I haven’t been able to review it. My opinion on the chimney opening is that it would work fine, but would make a damper control really hard to reach.

Thanks for posting!

Ditto - the video is not working.


I am very interested in seeing a few images of this oven. I can let you that placing the chimney in the center of the ceiling is just about the worst place to put it. You are trying to get the center of the ceiling white-hot, so placing a chimney at that exact spot is a bad idea.

I wrote the following post after reading some bad design advice on Facebook…

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