1.) Find Parts
This March in Minnesota, our solar oven got hot enough to bake a killer
batch of scones—and in the summer, it can whip up brownies in a brownout.
The project makes use of scraps (or full 4 x 8 sheets) of ¾-inch and ½-inch
plywood. It also requires 4d trim nails, a 6-foot length of 1½-inch-wide flat
wood trim, 36 inches of ¼-inch-square molding, a half-sheet of ½-inch rigid
foam insulation, a half-sheet of ½-inch drywall, two white ceramic knobs,
eight 3-inch mending plates, construction adhesive, high-temperature flat
black spray paint, heavy-duty aluminum foil, No. 8 bolts, washers and nuts
and a piece of ¼-inch plate glass cut to 13 x 14½ inches, with the edges
2.) Build the Box
Construct an open-top box using ¾-inch plywood for a 14 x 15½–inch
bottom. Use ½-inch plywood to make four 7-inch-tall sides. With a vise and
pliers, bend the mending plates to 135-degree angles. Fasten two plates to
each box side with 1-inch No. 8 bolts, washers and nuts. Cut pieces of rigid
foam insulation to line the box interior. Glue the foam to the plywood using
construction adhesive. Cut and glue drywall panels to fit on top of the foam.
Paint the interior black.
3.) Prep the Top
Nail wood trim over the edges of the foam and drywall. Cut the molding into
four 9-inch lengths. Center the glass pane over the opening. Put the
moldings around the glass perimeter. Nail them down to steady the pane.
Glue the knobs to the glass.
4.) Make Reflectors
Cut rigid foam to four 12 x 24–inch panels. Wrap the foam in aluminum foil.
Bolt the panels to the plates.
5.) Bake It Up
Prep food in a black enamel pot with a lid; set the pot in the box. Replace the
glass. Prop up the oven at an angle so the sun and reflectors shine directly on
it. Use an oven thermometer to gauge heat. Note: This oven does not bake as
quickly as a regular one (but our scones, with butter and lingonberry jam,
were still delicious). Wear oven mitts to handle the ceramic knobs—they get
Read more: Who Needs a Grill? Build a Hot-Box Solar Oven - Popular