Pagoda Cast Iron Chiminea - Aztec Chimineas
Sure, they're heavy, but a cast iron chiminea is not going to break or wear out. These outdoor patio heaters will last decades if you follow a few safety precautions. They're more expensive that clay chimineas, but better for many reasons.
A leading problem with outdoor chimineas is that they fracture and crack over time, especially if you fail to properly cure the clay when you first use it. That will never happen with a cast iron chiminea. They are built at the foundry with a solid base and usually a detachable chimney. The detachable chimney is important for cleaning.
Set-up of a Cast Iron Chiminea
The basic set-up of a cast iron chiminea involves the legs that the base sits on and then the chimney. Many now offer screens over the opening to prevent sparks from flying out and scorching your clothing or lawn.
When shopping for a cast iron chiminea, look for models that have a grate you place in the base for your wood. This allows ashes to fall through so that your wood burns efficiently without the coals being smothered by ashes. Pagoda manufactures highly praised cast iron patio chimineas.
Using a Cast Iron Chiminea
Once you have your cast iron chiminea assembled, you can light a fire. Do not use flammable liquids to start a fire. They will damage the cast iron. Instead, crumple up some newspaper and place a few pieces of kindling over them. If you have any dry bark, you can place those between the newspaper and kindling to help the fire catch.
Lighting the newspaper will cause the kindling to burn. It's important that there is sufficient oxygen getting into the cast iron chiminea.
Most cast iron chimineas are large enough for standard firewood. If you do find a piece of wood that is too large for the opening, don't force it in. Instead, set that piece aside until you can cut it in half or into kindling.
Before Burning, Always Check for Blockage
Make sure the chimney is free of any blockage from creosote, birds nests, hornet's nests and such. While this isn't going to be an issue with a brand new cast iron chiminea, if you haven't used it in a while, creatures may have turned it into a home during the lack of use.