when it comes to care for your wood fired pizza oven, we must start by saying that depending on the materials it's made of, it will have different needs in care.
In this post we will only cover two situations:
1 - case of a wood fired oven made with clay and/or refractory fire bricks:
a very important aspect on this ovens made with clay/refractory fire bricks is the curing process.
The curing process consists of lighting a few small fires in the oven to dry out the interior, allowing the humidity in its materials to slowly dry out completely.
The dampness in this materials (clay, cement and / or refractory bricks) that make up the oven need to come out slowly and completely. That is achieved with a few small fires at low temperatures, increasing the max temperature with each fire you light inside the oven. After a series of 3 to 4 consecutive fires the oven should be completly dry and ready to use.
This process of curing the oven has to be done on every new wood fired oven before you can start using it with a prelonged fire in a real cooking cenario.
Please, bear in mind that an oven built with clay/cement and/or refractory fire bricks will absorb humidity whenever it's left unused for a long period, especially during a wet season. Everytime you leave the oven without use for a long period, the curing process needs to be done again.
For this same reason, you should never wash this wood fired pizza ovens with water.
Fine line cracks on this ovens are normal, they don't afect the performance nor do they bite.
They are normal due to the materials that this ovens are made of. As long as this cracks do not compromise in anyway the structure of the pizza oven, the oven will be fine and it will last a lifetime.
One of the main reasons for the cracks on this ovens is the abrupt cooling down of the oven. So, it's very important to remember that this ovens and, specially if they are installed outdoors, during winter or if nights are cold, they should not be used or lit.
With all that we've said about this type of wood fired ovens, made of clay/cement and/or refractory bricks we MUST advice the use of a allweather cover whenever the oven is not being used, to protect it from the snow or rain and humidity.
2 - case of a wood fired oven made with a metal casing:
this are very different ovens in terms of cares that they need. This ovens, although very efficient, they are made in a very different way and materials. They are made in a combination of stainless steel and refractory fire bricks.
So, because of the refractory fire brick that makes the floor of the oven, it will still need the curing process, but a much simpler and shorter process, normaly a single fire will be enough.
With this metal ovens you will be able to use it in any weather conditions. You can use it whether it is sunny or rainy or even snowing.
The only advice we need to give you is