Clay Chiminea Maintenance
Clay chimineas are less robust than their cast iron or aluminium counterparts. Here are a few tips to ensure that your clay chiminea will provide years of service to you.
- Clay is brittle and susceptible to cracking. Therefore be careful handling your chiminea - they can be very heavy so use a sack truck or a similar wheeled trolley to move them. If they fall or are carelessly placed on a hard surface they will crack. Many clay chimineas are manufactured in two parts, the bowl and the neck. Although they are later fused together, they remain inherently weaker at this point, so do not lift the neck without simultaneously supporting the bowl.
- The outside of a clay chiminea should be sealed before the first use (unless this has already been done as part of the manufacturing process). An acrylic sealant is a good idea. "Chimseal" is the brand name of a purpose designed water sealant for clay chimineas and other terracotta garden products.
- Invest in a cover for your chiminea to protect it from the weather when it is not in use. If temperatures are likely to drop below freezing point, store the chiminea inside a garage or shed.
- The bowl of the chiminea should be insulated so the fire does not directly touch it. Sand or pea gravel can be used for this purpose. The bowl should be filled to about 10cm below the opening. Two bricks can be placed on the sand to support the grill, and will thus create a grate ensuring a good air flow to the wood. Note that the sand should be emptied before attempting to relocate the chiminea.
- Clay chimineas should be "seasoned" - that means you should start off with smaller fires for the first half dozen or so fires. Never use any accelerant to start the fire