Bill Spofford's Wine-Box Oven
(from the lost Jim Speirs Pages)
This file appeared on a Rime Scouting chat group on February 15, 1994.
I designed this several years ago and "dedicate it to the public
SPOFFORD'S COLLAPSIBLE WINE-BOX OVEN
With this oven, you can bake virtually anything on a camping trip
that you can bake at home -- pies, cookies, cakes, muffins,
biscuits, lasagna, ziti, pizza, you name it! The only limitation
is the size you make the oven and possibly the weight of what you
want to bake.
The basic parts of the oven are: Two identical flaps for the
top, bottom, back, and door and two identical end pieces to
complete the box. The dimensions can be adjusted depending on
what you want to be able to cook and what size grill you can find
to go in the inside. I will discuss the grill size later.
The flaps are best constructed from a box that is at least 12
inches high and 12 or more inches on a side. Cut the box so that
the corner is the folding edge and each side of the flap is at
least 12 inches deep by up to 22 inches long. One flap will
become the bottom and back of the oven, with the other becoming
the top and door.
| / /
12 in| / /
| / / 12 to 22 in
The end pieces are the hardest to construct. Visualize that the
end pieces will have small folded edges over three sides (about
3/4 inches wide) to attach to the flaps. The forth side will be
straight to allow the door to fit flush with that edge. The end
piece fits with the folds out toward the edges of the flaps and
are connected to the flaps with medium size black paper clips --
one each on the bottom and back and two on the top. The folds
will add about 1/4 in to the size making the inside about 11.5 x
11.75 in. Overall size is about 12.25 x 13.25. I try to cut
this piece from another box and use a corner fold and a flap fold
as two of the edge folds, so that I only have to fold the
cardboard on one other side.
| | |
| | 11.5w X |
| | 11.75h | Door Edge
___ |_|__ |
_in_ |__|_________|3/4 in
As you will be heating with charcoal briquettes, you will need
some air holes. Cut an approximate 2 in square in one of the
corners with two folded edges (these are the rear part of the end
pieces). Because the two end pieces are reversed when the oven
is assembled, the air hole is cut in the same corner for both
ends. When assembled, one will be at the bottom and the other at
Assemble the pieces so that you can check the dimensions and
understand how it goes together. Lay one flap down oriented so
that the fold will allow the back piece to be raised, then lay
one end piece with the door edge along the front of the flap,
with the end of one folded edge even with the edge of the flap.
Put one of the medium paper clips on the edge, securing the two
pieces together. Do the same for the other side. Now, raise
both end pieces, then the back of the flap. Secure the edges of
the back to the end piece folds with the paper clips. Place the
other flap so that one part forms the top and the other a door
that is raised. Secure the top to the end pieces with two paper
clips each. The results should be a box with the ends indented.
The door can be held shut by placing a rock in front of it or
placing a twig with a small, short branch coming out under the
oven and turning the small branch up to hold the door.
The resulting box needs a grill to hold the cooking pans, just
like your oven at home. You will notice that the inside
dimensions are about 1.5 inches less than the width of the oven.
The grill will be held by some hangers made from coat-hanger wire
and will need some clearance from all sides -- about 1 inch from
each end and 1/2 inch from the back and door. This allows for
some warping over time.
Once you have a grill (for a 12 x 12 x 12 in oven, I use square
baking drying racks), you need to make hangers. These are made
by bending coat-hanger wire or other heavy, stiff wire to make a
hook to go over the top edges of the end pieces, hang down about
half way on the inside, then another 90 degree bend to support
the grill and a loop to make sure it doesn't slide off. Make
four of these, two for each side. When using them, put two on
each side about 1/4 of the way from each end before adding the
top flap. The paper clips will keep them from moving very much.
The bottom of the hanger should be just long enough to hold the
edge of the grill without much play. If you make them too long,
the grill will be very unsteady and the grill may fall (just when
you are ready to eat)!
Disassemble and cover each piece of cardboard with heavy weight
aluminum foil. You can tape the ends of the foil to keep it
tight with duct tape, just be sure you have the tape on the
OUTSIDE. On the end pieces, you will need to cut diagonally and
fold the foil toward the outside at the two corners.
Charcoal briquettes are used for the heat source. For a small
oven, each fully lit briquette is equal to about 50 degrees of
heat. For a 400 degree oven, this will be 8 briquettes. For
larger ovens, you will need to add additional briquettes to get
the same heat. I have a 13 x 13 x 22 oven that takes 12 or 14
briquettes to cook most dishes. This size also takes a 12 x 17
inch cookie sheet -- great for pizza! To keep the briquettes
from burning up the cardboard, I place a small drying rack in the
bottom and use a small aluminum plate on the drying rack to hold
the briquettes. For the large oven, I use two racks and two
plates. Old aluminum foil pie plates work well, just remember to
replace them when they start to melt or get holes in them. You
can also place about a 1/4 to 1/2 inch of soil in the bottom and
put the briquettes on the soil. This dirties the oven and you
may have to replace the foil more often.
As long as the inside aluminum foil is not torn, these ovens can
be taken apart and used many times. When the foil tears, just
cover that piece again - no need to remove the old. Because the
oven is collapsible, they are easy to carry. I fold the two
flaps closed and put three paper clips on each to keep them flat.
Place the grill hangers on the outside of one of the end pieces,
orient the other end piece the same way and place it on top. Use
two paper clips to hold the end pieces together, one in the air
hold and one on the door edge. This keeps the pieces from being
Be careful when placing or removing food from the oven. Remember
that all of the parts are very hot and the grill may not be very
sturdy! Use hot gloves or pads when adding or taking out pans
and check the hangers to make sure you don't mis-align them and
cause the grill to fall. Also, do not place hot dishes on top of
the oven directly against the aluminum foil -- any tape you used
will melt and the cardboard may char. An extra grill or drying
rack on the top is very useful, but twigs will also work.
A 12 x 12 x 12 in oven will hold the frying pan from the patrol
cook kit (without the handle). This is a good size for dump
cake. Just remember to only use cooking utensils which will not
melt! With proper care, the oven will last several years. Not
bad for a few hours of time to make something that will enhance
your camping eating experiences dramatically!