Clay Chiminea - Mexican Chimineas
A clay chiminea heats up a deck or patio effectively. There are steps you should take to ensure the outdoor chiminea remains intact. When manufactured, most chimenea fire pit models are built in two pieces, the bowl and the chimney. Once fired, the two parts are then fused with additional clay.
When handling your clay chiminea, make sure you lift it from the bottom. If you pick it up from the chimney, the two parts may break apart leaving you with a useless outdoor patio heater. Check the instructions before using. Many outdoor chimeneas are not sealed to prevent water damage. You should apply a layer of a waterproofing agent such as Thompson's.
Bringing Your Clay Chiminea Home
To prevent damage to your outdoor chiminea during transportation, do not place it in the trunk or truck bed. If it shifts and hits the wall of your vehicle, it could crack. It's best to wrap it in a blanket, place it in a seat and then secure it with a seat belt.
Start with a Small Fire to Cure Your Garden Chimenea
To prevent cracks from an excessive amount of heat, it's best to break your new clay chiminea in slowly. Place a two-inch layer of play sand or fish tank gravel into the bottom. You may need more or less depending on the distance of your outdoor chiminea's opening from the bottom of the chiminea bowl. Crumple up a few sheets of newspaper and add two or three pieces of kindling. Let this burn completely. Repeat this process ten times to help cure the clay.
Most clay chimineas come already cured, but unless you are certain this step has occurred, it's best to do it as a precaution to prevent cracking.
After the series of smaller fires, you can increase the size of the fire. Keep in mind the size of your clay chiminea. Purchase or cut logs to ensure they are the correct length for the base of the outdoor chiminea.
Make sure your wood is seasoned (dry). Burning green wood increases creosote deposits that block your chimney area and create build-up on the inside of your patio chimenea's bowl. Look for the cut end of the wood to be brownish and have cracks running from the center.
Never Use Fire Starter Products
Chemicals in lighter fluid or starter bricks can soak into the clay causing permanent damage. If you need something to help light your fire, use fat wood. You can buy this special kindling online or at hardware and home improvements stores.