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Have you ever wanted to build a tandoor oven from scratch? Likely not... but still, stay with me and I'll show you how I built one from the earth itself - in the form of raw clay. I'll dive into the process, including designing, sketching, building, assembling, and using, and maybe you'll learn something along the way!

Hopefully this article can serve as a comprehensive guide for all those looking for info on how to design and build a good tandoor from the bare bones, as I feel the info available online is lacking. Even if you choose not to go through the pottery aspect of it, check my tips at the end for how to use a tandoor.

What is a tandoor anyways? Traditionally the word is used to refer to a cylindrical clay oven that has been used by civilizations for thousands of years. Charcoal burns at the bottom, and the radiant heat rising from it cooks meat or vegetables threaded on steel skewers placed inside the cooking chamber. Fat and marinade dripping from the meat falls into the belly of the beast, causing a smoking effect that gives a delicious, unique flavor to the food that cannot be achieved by baking in a regular oven. Bread dough can also be slapped directly onto the hot clay walls, where it puffs and cooks almost instantly to make the delectable and well known Naan bread. It is thanks to the tandoor that we can enjoy tandoori chicken — chicken marinated in yogurt and an eclectic mix of spices — a well loved classic of Indian cuisine.

One day while biting into a flavorful chunk of chicken at the local Indian buffet I had the thought: Hey, I want a tandoor so I can make this at home! And I, always looking for ways to avoid spending more money than necessary (and an unquenchable thirst for challenges), immediately thought: I should build one!

And so, a month later, here we are.

Be warned! This is a VERY LONG article. But after all, it was a LONG process. Read just what is relevant to you.

So then, let's get started.

Step 1: Caveats for Those Who Actually Attempt This!!

Picture of Caveats for Those Who Actually Attempt This!!

Look, you can choose to go the easy route and make a similar tandoor with flowerpots and found objects. They work too, and I took inspiration from them. In fact, there are a few here on Instructables which I recommend, just search up "DIY tandoor".

However, I chose to take the idea to the next level and design and build all the parts by hand, starting with the most basic, fundamental ingredient: clay! The final result is more visually pleasing, satisfying, rewarding, long lasting, and I learned so much in the process, gaining skills I'll be able to apply later on in other projects.

It was the very last project I made in high school, and I'm glad to say I went out with a bang!

If you also want to make your own tandoor from scratch, understand that you will need access to a pottery wheel, kilns, basic tools, and must have at least a few years of experience making pottery. This is NOT an easy project and is not recommended for those just getting into ceramics. I used the studio in my school, which Ms. Amie Larson graciously let me abuse. If you're reading this, thank you Auntie Amie!

As for inputs, expect to spend several dozen hours on this and $200 in supplies (which is actually quite modest for a tandoor).

Having said that, let's move forward :D

cjraabe22 hours ago
Really impressive! Detailed enough for anyone to try! A suggestion for the (ugly) feet: mosaic is easy and can be completed on mesh and fastened to the blocks, and would really upgrade this project.
zxcvbnmu2 days ago
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wyldecent15 days ago
Wow! Just wow!
MacKinnonJo17 days ago
Absolutely incredible work! Very well made and the attention to detail is stellar! Your ible is very well written and descriptive too! Very well done...
eumbarger21 days ago
Awesome work. This might be the most detailed Instructable I've ever seen. Two very minor critisisms: I find it amusing you spent so much time and effort to make a full tandoor by hand, but then set it on ugly concrete blocks and why would you use charcoal briquettes instead of lump coal
JavierL90 (author)  eumbarger20 days ago
Nah I fully agree with you!! Only after putting the intricate ornate assembly on the concrete blocks did I realize what a harsh contrast it made.. I would love to find something to replace those ugly blocks. As to the second point, yep, I honestly don't have much experience with charcoal, I just went with what I saw in the store. I didn't (and still don't oops) know about the different types of charcoal and how to properly use them. So maybe I should look into lump charcoal?
For sure. Lump doesn't use chemicals like the briquettes and it also burns hotter
JavierL90 (author)  eumbarger17 days ago
I'll definitely try it next time I go to refill the charcoal!
nuclearnco21 days ago
Wow, Where do I begin. 1. Voted for you in the backyard contest. 2. I love your humor, its very similar to mine. Sad thing is, some of your humor is almost a mandatory safety thing, like, 'don't drink this'.. 3.For those that haven't tried yet, taking photos and or videos of a project while you are building, sounds simple enough, but is the most difficult part of building a project. I HATE documenting. I would rather take someone elses and make adjustments to it and submit as a comment or for an updated version. You, young master creator, not only have the documentation part down, but your mad skills are awesome.
Lastly, Thanks for sharing. I personally always start with the big complicated projects and fight my way through it. Clever use of the resources at your disposal.
JavierL90 (author)  nuclearnco20 days ago
Really appreciate your comment!! Thank you. I have to agree, it really disrupts your flow to stop and take pictures, but I've started to get into the habit of taking a few every so often, just in case I need them ;)
You could put a surveillance camera to record everything & make a fails & successes video + pictures tutorial
smy_misr18 days ago
I know it is asking too much, but linking some way to make a smaller scaled one would help, in addition to finding a local clay/pottery studio that would let me use their stuff & the wastage or rework for broken of items?

I just finished my first bread baking class & pizza for dinner.
The tandoor would be the next best thing to build s cooking is my hobby + profession dream to start my own restaurant someday.

1. dunno how to get hold of the funds
2. unlikely the equipment/location/local help is just around the corner...

skype: shabbir.yamani
cell: +201554968977
crunch time - golden brown.jpgmunch time.jpg
Jasmin D18 days ago
This is Awesome!
sabu.dawdy18 days ago
*shakes my head* you made that thing, damn. I don’t know the making skills :( . Any way excellent work . :D congratulations again.
Dumbphone19 days ago
What a well documented tutorial, and the resulting tandoor is a sight to behold. You are an artist and artisan....well done!
German_MX20 days ago
Yumungous isn't it spelled "humongous" (humungous UK)?
While reading your paper i discovered this new word, but couldn't find like as you wrote it.
JavierL90 (author)  German_MX20 days ago
LOL sorry, I was poking fun at a regional dialect in which some people pronounce the word with a Y sound. You're right, it's spelled with an H!
DenisT3120 days ago
Wow and wow, beautifull work, I just enjoy reading the process , especialy when you know the taste of the result.
Thanks for sharing your knowledge
JuliannC221 days ago
I must say I know many many 18 year olds and no one has exhibited this brilliance at such a young age/I am completely and utterly impressed. Your future probably includes a beautiful vehicle (if you so choose)....and a nice apartment with central air conditioning. LOL. j.
JavierL90 (author)  JuliannC220 days ago
Thank you so much!! What a nice thing to say
Absolutely stunning work!!
KevinKarney21 days ago
Brilliant - well done!
BayRatt21 days ago
What an enjoyable Instructable. Your Tandoor is beautiful, and it is wonderful that you documented the process so well. Something to be proud of, for sure. Thank you for sharing with us!
tercero21 days ago
Um, wow. 1) that was an excellent instrucatable. 2) Hopefully you take this in the spirit it is meant by saying, now I'm starving.
I am impressed with your artistry, determination, scholarship, and skill. This is a terrific instructable...amazingly complex and thorough. Thank you so much for sharing your imagination and process with us. I have a new appreciation for the "art" of Tandoor!
JavierL90 (author)  OutofPatience21 days ago
Thank you so much!
pjackson22 days ago
Absolutely excellent work! Well written and a great sense of humour - keep it up young man, you're going places!
JavierL90 (author)  pjackson21 days ago
:)
BrutusS222 days ago
Thanks. I won't be making one, but I enjoyed the article. Whatever you end up doing in life, you're going to be great at it. Best wishes.
JavierL90 (author)  BrutusS221 days ago
Thank you so much!
sudiptol22 days ago
Incredible!! So well researched and even better built. Your attention to detail and quest for perfection is admirable.
JavierL90 (author)  sudiptol21 days ago
Thanks!
PeterH40322 days ago
Great - when can we come round for dinner?
JavierL90 (author)  PeterH40321 days ago
I actually have thought about how cool it would be to have a little fun and be the neighborhood tandoori man selling fresh hot naan and chicken as a summer job!
mikecz22 days ago
I have neither the skills nor access to the equipment you had for this project. Nonetheless I read with great interest your entire instructable. Your text, photos, and SKETCHES are all OUTSTANDING! I never realized how complicated a tandoor oven is, but your sketches in step 4 clearly show the "inner workings" of this device. You were really smart to build this while you had access to the studio and shop at school. Was this maybe a senior project? Whatever... it was very well done!
JavierL90 (author)  mikecz21 days ago
Thank you so much!! That's so nice of you to say! Somehow, it was not officially a senior project, I did it during my free periods and a little into summer haha
relbatto22 days ago
I have always admired "Dave the slave" who threw five gallon whisky jugs . this is an accomplishment that he would have recognized and possibly even emulated..Thank you for teaching me.
JavierL90 (author)  relbatto21 days ago
That's so cool.. every day I learn something new, thanks! I wonder if you've heard of these Korean potters making massive Onggi pots. Incredible
Thanks for mentioning that dude. I've never heard of him, so I'm now learning about him thanks to you ;-)
RicardoL11822 days ago
Great job! Oven is beautiful and food was delicious! Very proud of you.
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