Chimineas are amazing additions to any garden. Not only do they provide warmth, but they look great and can be used for practical tasks like barbecuing. Clay chimineas in particular can be a real statement piece and bring the flavour of Spain into your back garden. If you are thinking about or have already purchased a chiminea, there are a few tips and tricks you ought to know. These handy hints will allow you to enjoy your clay chiminea for years to come.
A clay chiminea must be cured before it is used for the first time; this will help prevent cracking and should give your chiminea a longer, happier life. It is a relatively easy process but can take a little time. I recommend making the most of a sunny Sunday afternoon to get this task done.
Step One: Place sand in the bottom of your new clay chiminea. Keep filling it up until the sand reaches ¾ of the way to the lip of the opening. We are doing this to ensure no flames touch the clay directly the first few times we light a fire. The main reason for this is we want to warm our clay chiminea without burning it.
Step Two: Start a small fire, using only bits of paper and kindling. I wouldn’t recommend any larger pieces of wood at this stage. Allow this fire to go out naturally after it has been burning for a few minutes.
Step Three: Always allow your chiminea to cool after any size fire has been lit within it. Chimineas are great outdoor heaters because they hold and radiate heat. This means that they take time to cool and can remain hot even when the fire is extinguished. Touching a chiminea too soon before it has cooled can result in burns. Remember to empty out your chiminea of all remaining ash, once it has cooled, and do this before starting another fire. If you are an avid composter like me, this ash can be added to the compost bin or used around the base of plants. It is a natural source of potassium so it’s great to help even our acidic soil.
Step Four: Repeat the first three steps, each time allowing your fire to become slightly larger. I would suggest repeating six times. During the third time you light your fire add some larger pieces of wood. The sixth and final fire should be almost the size of the fires you will be regularly making.
And voilá! Your beautiful new clay chiminea is cured, so you can sit back and enjoy it for years to come, without the worry of it cracking or splitting.
- I would recommend always lining your chiminea with sand for any size fire even after it has been cured. This is an extra step, but it will help prevent cracking.
- Keep your chiminea dry. Chiminea covers are your best bet if you are looking to leave it outside. If you do leave it out and it gets wet, let it dry completely before use as damp clay will crack under high heat.
- Fires can be dangerous, be aware of where children and pets are when around any open flame.
You can also have a look at our video guide to building and curing a chiminea:
Sally works in the Marketing team here at Primrose.
She spends most of her spare time looking into the latest developments in social media. Sally loves travel and wants to step foot in every continent in the world. When not travelling the Globe or working, she likes to relax with a bit of DIY.
She is a novice gardener and doesn’t claim to be an expert, anything she learns she will happily pass on.