Weekend Project
Justin Newcombe's tips on outdoor DIY projects

Weekend Project (Part 1 of 2): A piece of the pizza action

By Justin Newcombe


If you fancy having your own wood-fired pizza oven for alfresco suppers, you'll need something to put it on. Justin Newcombe has just the thing.

Justin Newcombe's table will be able to fit the pizza oven and leave space on the side, doubling as a pizza bar. Photo / Natalie Slade
Justin Newcombe's table will be able to fit the pizza oven and leave space on the side, doubling as a pizza bar. Photo / Natalie Slade

When building a pizza oven there are two stages. First you need a base to put the oven on, and then there's the oven itself. Nigel from Hard Yards was arriving in two days with a kitset pizza oven and I needed to have a home ready for it. I didn't want to build a masonry table needing footings, blocks or boxing, plaster work, curing times, plastering, dust, mess. No, I didn't have the energy or the time. Instead, I wanted something that took just a day. I decided to go with timber, and sleepers are big, strong, handsome and come in modular lengths. All good news for a time-deprived DIYer.

Because of the amount of offcuts I would have if I built a table just the right size for the oven, I decided to build it as big as possible. The table I ended up with is enormous and once I'd finished I couldn't help but laugh at the scale of it. Of course this design can be modified to build a smaller version, and some seating.

I knew once the oven was on board my table's proportion wouldn't look so outrageous. I had worked out that I would have enough room for the oven and an area beside it to use as a spacious pizza bar.

Step 1

Square off the edges of all your sleepers with a skillsaw. I also like to plane the edges.

Step 2

Measure the final height of your table and work out the height of the legs, then cut four sleepers to the leg length.

Step 3

To make your table stronger, recess the legs so the horizontal bearers the tabletop sits on will interlock with the legs. This means the screws holding the table together are not load-bearing. To create recesses, make a series of close cuts to a set depth. You can then knock out those pieces of wood with a screwdriver, chisel or pinch bar. To make the cuts I used a dropsaw this time, but have used a skillsaw in the past.

I added a second set of horizontal timbers between the legs about 200mm off the ground to act as a brace. If you do this you'll have to create recesses in these too.

Step 4

Clean out the recesses and tidy with a sander. Tip: the more cuts you make the easier it is to clean out each recess.

Step 5

Drill and screw the horizontal bearers to the legs using coach screws. Instead of placing the screws one above the other vertically, line the screws up on a diagonal as this reduces any movement in the joint. Drill a recess for the screw head before you drill the actual screw hole.

Step 6

Once the frame and legs are screwed together, place the tabletop timbers. I drilled and nailed these to the frame. Because I wanted an overhang around the table I screwed on the two end timbers using coach screws.

Step 7

Plane off any edges and sand.

Be in to win a kitset pizza oven!

The good folk at Hard Yards have given us one of their Aztec wood-fired pizza oven kitsets to give away, valued at $1850, plus free delivery.

To enter the draw email your details to life@nzherald.co.nz with "Pizza oven" in the subject line, or post to "Pizza oven competition, Weekend magazine, NZ Herald, PO Box 3290, Auckland" by Thursday, November 4. Find out more about the oven at hardyards.net.nz

Next week

How to put together the kitset pizza oven.

- NZ Herald

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