Frequently Asked Questions – Italian Wood Fired Ovens

Everything you need to know about purchasing owning your very own Italian Wood Fired Oven

Q1. Why should I choose a Linea Vz Authentic Wood Fired Oven?

Question.
It seems to me there are lots of similar ovens to this in the marketplace. Why should I choose a Linea Vz authentic Italian precast refractory modularwood fired oven kit over any other?

Answer.
Linea Vz have been manufacturing their domestic and commercial oven parts in Venice since 1979. The designs of the oven vaults have been perfected so you can be sure that your oven will work as intended. All their wood ovens are handcrafted by Italian artisans following a strict manufacturing code using the correct compressed high-alumina refractory mortars.

Q2. What’s the difference between the Linea Vz domestic and commercial oven ranges?

Question. 
What’s the difference between the Linea Vz domestic and commercial oven ranges?

Answer.
Quite simply the commercial range of ovens has been handcrafted using ingredients that are intended to withstand high operating temperatures between 350-400C for long periods of time, up to 24 hours per day. It is not advised to use a domestic oven for commercial purposes, although many pubs use the domestic ovens if they are only going to be lit a couple or three times per week, much as you would do in your own home.

Q3. I'm thinking of building my own wood oven...

Question.
I’m thinking of building my wood burning oven out of firebricks, I think it will be much cheaper. Is there anything I should know before I begin?

Answer.
While it is perfectly possible to build your wood fired oven out of refractory firebricks, you should be aware that you will need a lot more than you think! Priced per brick it seems cheap, but you will probably have to buy a large quantity from a wholesaler/manufacturer and find you have 50-100 left over at the end. Added to this you will need to cut each brick to shape, and these refractory bricks are extremely hard! You will go through quite a few blades on your angle-grinder and probably only get through laying a course of bricks per week in your spare time. You will need to buy the correct refractory mortar, which will add up too. Lastly you will need to follow the rules for the dimensions of your oven; the height and diameter of the dome and the door size are very particular. If you get these dimensions wrong your oven won’t work properly.

Q4. How high should I build my base?

Question 
How high should I build my base?

Answer.
It depends on who will be using the oven and how you intend to build it. Most bases are around 80cm high, this is made for the height of the average pizzaiolo. If you want to end up with the cooking floor at your own elbow height, measure down from your elbow to the floor, subtract the thickness of the gravel boards (usually 5cm but can vary between manufacturers) and insulation layer (usually 7cm but you may choose to add sand to bulk it out) and the oven floor thickness (7cm) and hey presto you have your customised base height. 

Q5. Why do I need to insulate my wood oven?

Question 
Why do I need to insulate my wood oven? I’ve spoken to another seller of these ovens and he said you don’t need to insulate your oven.

Answer. 
You are correct, you don’t need to insulate your oven but it’s better if you do. Most people will be sourcing kiln dried hard wood maximum 20% moisture content. It is not cheap to purchase this type of timber but you will have a better experience if you do, as well as better tasting food! The insulation layers allow you to retain the heat in your oven that you paid to create, saving you lots of money over time.

Q6. Why do your wood ovens have a chimney?

Question.
I’ve seen wood ovens with no chimney. Why do yours have a chimney?

Answer 
You are correct, if you’re outdoors you don’t need a chimney, but there will only be one place for the exhaust gases to go, and that’s in your face. If you like a face full of smoke be my guest, but most people would prefer to be able to see what they are doing in their oven without crying.

Q7. Can I use a terracotta house chimney pot?

Question.
I don’t like your chimney, it won’t suit my design. Can I use a terracotta house chimney pot?

Answer
There’s no reason you can’t use any other chimney. Just make sure you don’t get the rain driving down it over the winter (when you’re less likely to be using it) so it’s not full of water when you come to light it.

 

Q8. Why do I need to dry out or cure my oven before using it?

Question.
Why do I need to dry out or cure my oven before using it?

Answer
Your wood oven parts are hand-made in a factory using water. This water doesn’t go away by evaporation after your oven has been built. 48 hours after completion of your build you will need to light small fires and move them around the oven floor in order to expel this moisture. This must be carried out over several days. There could be up to 20 litres of water, depending on the model of oven! If you try to expel the moisture too quickly you could damage your oven, so take it easy. Whatever happens, do not organise a pizza party for the day your build is completed, or your party may be memorable for the loud explosion, not what you intended at all!

 

Q9. How do I mix the perlite and ciment fondu mixture?

Question.
I decided to go ahead with your underfloor insulation method. How do I mix the perlite and cimentfondu mixture?

Answer 
You need to mix the perlite and the cimentfondu in a wheelbarrow. Do not use a cement mixer, the perlite is like glass and will break up and the cimentfondu sticks to the side of the drum. You need to mix a quarter or third of each bag together and slowly add water (dribble it in), you want to end up with a stiff, damp mix – not a saturated sloppy mess. All the water you add while building your oven must be removed before first use.

Q10. I purchased your insulation kit. How do I go about applying these layers?

Question.
I’ve chosen to go for the rendered dome look so I purchased your insulation kit. How do I go about applying these layers?

Answer 
The aluminium-foiled glass needlemat needs to be cut to shape andglued to the domefoil-side up using heat resistant silicone (not supplied)in a dot and dab fashion. Then apply the rendering mesh. Don’t be surprised if it looks like a dog’s dinner! Don’t worry, you’ll be covering it with several thin layers of render. You can use hydraulic lime mortar NHL3.5 – NOT HYDRATED lime mortar! You will need to seal this mortar to protect it from the rain/frost over the winter. It can be tricky to use for the uninitiated (most builders hate it) and you must protect your eyes as the lime stings.

 

 

Q11. I’m using one of your wood ovens on a trailer to do some shows this summer. Have you got any advice?

Question.
I’m thinking about putting one of your wood ovens on a trailer to do some shows this summer. Have you got any advice?

Answer.
Linea Vz ovens can be assembled in vans, trucks, on the back of trailers, on canal boats, in horse boxes, shipping containers etc. However please bear in mind that you need to protect against any possible vibrations, knocks etc, whether by improving your suspension or mitigating such potential damage.

 

Q12. I thought the oven parts should be mortared together, but they’re not?! What are these staples for?

Question.
I thought the oven parts should be mortared together, but they’re not?! What are these staples for?

Answer. 
Due to the expansion and contraction of the oven parts when being heated or cooling down any mortar applied to the joints will eventually fall out over time. In this way Linea Vz developed an ingenious system whereby steel fixings are used to knit the oven parts together. You will need to use a masonry bit (no hammer) the correct size to make the hole in which to fix the steel staple. Don’t drill all the way through the oven parts, mark your drill with tape to the required depth.

 

Q13. I want to retro-fit a gas burner to my oven. What are my options?

Question.
I want to retro-fit a gas burner to my oven. What are my options?

Answer. 
Any gas burner will need to be made-to-measure. In order to get you a price from the gas burner manufacturer AvanziniBruciatorisrl we will need to know the following information:

  • Make, model & dimensions of internal cooking area (in centimetres).
  • Method of construction.
  • Total floor thickness (TFT) of all the layers that the burner will have to penetrate(in centimetres) from underneath.
  • Your address – all burners and conversion kits are dispatched by air freight directly to your premises. 
  • Natural gas or LPG supply
  • Do you prefer AUTOMATIC or MANUAL control option?
  • How much space do you have free underneath your oven?
Q14. Can you build my oven for me?

Question.
Can you build my oven for me?

Answer. 
Wood Oven Warehouse operates on a supply-only basis. However, saying that, due to our long time working in this industry we have supplied many landscapers, builders, commercial kitchen fitters and gas technicians in many parts of the UK and Ireland. It may be possible we could put you in touch with someone in your area. Please note we are unable to recommend anyone in any capacity as to their suitability for your project – you will need to do your own investigations before you decide to go ahead.

Q15. Will your ovens make my pizzas the best in the world?

Question.
Will your ovens make my pizzas the best in the world?

Answer
Unfortunately purchasing the best wood fired oven parts available will not always make your pizzas taste the best in the world. The reasons are many, but may include:

  • the quality of your ingredients – you can’t just use any old pizza dough, tinned tomatoes or plastic cheese. If you want a great outcome you need to put the best quality produce into your pizzas. See G&O for further details.
  • the skill and experience of your pizza chef – just being from Italy will not make your pizzaiolo any good. Nor will your chef having used just any type of oven. A wood fired oven needs a specialist pizza chef who knows how to control the temperature and mitigate the climatic variations.
  • whether your hard wood logs are dry enough and of the right quality – people will cut corners and use green wood, wet wood, soft wood, fumigated wood – old pallets -yuck!!!
  • whether your oven parts have been installed correctly – notwithstanding that your builder uses an uninsulated flue (fire hazard), problems can stem from potentially not installing the steel fixings (the oven parts will move apart over time), reducing the flue diameter size (smoke will belch out of the oven mouth), rapid overfiring and not properly drying out the oven parts before first use.