What is a Clay-Chiminea?


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The clay-chiminea is the most old-style chiminea. There are numerous ways to spell and enunciate the name chiminea but they all denote to an outdoor fireplace. It originated in Mexico many years ago. Though the exact date of when the clay-chiminea first came about is not known.

The type of clay used in the development of a clay chiminea is El- Barro and terracotta. The clay chimena was normally used for culinary uses and baking bread. It was also used for warming the household. Basically, it was used like a fireside by the early mexicans.

So, nowadays, as they were many years ago, chimineas are still used as outdoor fires to warm ourselves or cook on. 

Selecting the Right Clay Chiminea for your Yard

A clay chiminea will usually come in two varied types. One type of clay chiminea is kiln dried (preserved). The other type of clay chiminea is air dried (untouched). The El barro clay chiminea models usually have been kiln dried, generally pre- painted and sealed. So it is ready for use. The air dried clay chimineas will have to be painted and/or sealed beforehand. The great thing about an untreated clay chiminea is that you can pick the paint colour you want. Though, the downside to painting your chiminea is that it does take more work.

Please note: the clay chiminea can be fragile which means it can easily crack and break.

The clay chiminea is created in two sections. There is the bottom or bowl where the fire is put and the chimney or the neck where the fire comes out of.  Once the two sections are made they are permitted to dry. They are then bonded together to create one section.

The great thing about the clay chiminea it is lighter than a cast iron or cast aluminium model. So it makes it easier to move around the yard. Though, there are some guidelines you need to recall when transporting one.

As the clay chiminea is created in two distinct bits this makes the joint a fragile point. So, the best way to transport a clay chiminea is to put your hand on the opening of the bowl and support the neck with your other arm.

Though Chimineas are chiefly intended for small, outside fires numerous folks are using them as ornamental accent portions in their households or gardens.

Chimineas Indoors

Chimineas have been used for everything from a towel holder to accommodation for pets. A big Chiminea in the corner with a big, three-wicked candle makes for a great debate piece.

Please note: that you can only use chimineas as an ornamental piece when indoors. Never burn them indoors!

Chiminea Use, Care and Safety Instructions

Clay-Chiminea Sealer
Clay-Chiminea Covers
Cleaning your Clay-Chiminea
Moving your new Clay-Chiminea
Selecting the Perfect Area for Your Clay-Chiminea
Seasoning and start a Safe Fire in your Clay-Chiminea?
What ought I burn in my clay-chiminea?
Never Burn These Fuels in your Clay-Chiminea
Kinds of Timber to Burn
Can a cracked Clay-Chiminea be repaired?
Storing your Chiminea
Common Sense safety instructions When Using Your Chiminea
What are the Safety Concerns with Clay-Chimineas?

Please note: It is recommended that before you buy your Clay Chiminea to consult your local fire Marshall.

Clay-Chiminea Sealer

It is a good idea to apply some chiminea sealer to it at least twice a year. Just clean out the debris and seal it. Sealing the clay chiminea aids in preserving the surface and defends the absorbent clay from rain and humidity. Never drop the clay chiminea in water. The clay will absorb the water and make it weaker. The clay chiminea will endure without it the sealer. Though it will contribute it is life expectancy and it will shield the surface.

The clay chiminea ought be sealed and secured from water. When you buy your clay chiminea ensure that it has been properly sealed. Though, in time the sealer will wear off. It must be re-applied at least twice a year. Using sealer is most vital measure of keeping your clay chiminea in excellent condition. The life of the sealer hinges on a few dynamics. How much you use the chiminea and it not being concealed from the elements. Say you use your clay-chiminea every weekend the sealer should last about 3-6 months before it needs to be re-applied.

Clay-Chiminea Covers

It is important that you cover your clay-chiminea. This will extend the life of the chiminea and guard the paint from the UV rays from the sun and moisture. You can also use a clay chiminea lid to protect is from the rain. Check out amazon for this great chiminea cover!

Cleaning your Clay-Chiminea

As I mentioned in how to season your clay chiminea, you ought to have some sand, lava rock or pea gravel in the bowl of the chiminea. When you’re ready to clean out the debris use a scoop and eradicate the rock and debris. Put the remains in a pail. Then wash them off with water. If you want you can allow the lava rock to dry. Then place the lava rock back into the bottom of the clay chiminea bowl. Or if you placed sand in the bottom of the chiminea bowl just scoop out the excessive ashes and turn the sand over.

Chimineas are for OUTSIDE USE ONLY. Never use them inside the home! Though, if you have no intention of burning your chiminea you can use them as inside ornaments.

Remember, the instant you buy your clay chiminea there are definite recommendations you ought to follow.

Moving your new Clay-Chiminea

Do not use a truck or van to convey your clay-chiminea. The best way to get your chiminea from the shop to your home is to put it in your car and secure a seat restraint around it. Though, if the seat restraint crosses the clay Chiminea at the chimney ensure you put some padding to support its neck.

Selecting the Perfect Area for Your Clay-Chiminea

All chimineas ought to come with setup guidelines from the maker. Following these guidelines is essential and recommended.

Clay-Chimineas come with steel stands with 3 three or 4 legs. The 3 legged stands are inclined to be easier to use. This is because the 3 legged stands are easier to keep even. Though, both the 4 and 3 legged stands are fine to use on your chiminea.  Ensure you find an even surface to put your clay chiminea on. Always check that there are no brushwood, canopies, umbrellas, etc, directly above your chiminea that could catch fire. Ensure you do not put your Chiminea in a marquee  or fenced porch. Place your clay chiminea a safe distance away from any constructions.

Once you have selected the perfect area, you’re set to season your clay chiminea. The reason for seasoning the chiminea is because it toughens it and makes it more long-lasting.

Seasoning and start a Safe Fire in your Clay-Chiminea?

  • Begin by insulating the bowl by putting 3 or 4 inches of sand, lava rock or pea gravel in the bottom. The sand or pea gravel stops the firewood from resting openly near the base which might cause it to crack.
  • Then, you can choose to add a grate or bricks inside the base to raise the wood. Raising the wood permits improved airflow for correct burning.
  • After you have seasoned your clay chiminea you’re now ready to start a fire. It’s suggested that you begin 5 to 10 small fires to season your clay chiminea. You should only use seasoned firewood to start a fire in your chiminea. You can also use newspaper with the seasoned firewood to start a fire in your chiminea.
  • Please note: on no occasion use chemicals, gas or lighter fluid to begin a fire in your clay-chiminea. It is hazardous; the clay will absorb the dangerous fuels and chemicals.
  • Remember to always let the fire burn out entirely.  Never use water to put it out. Chucking water on a scorching clay chiminea will most probably cause it to crack.

As soon as you have seasoned your chiminea, you’re now prepared for a little larger fire. Remember, if the flames are coming out of the mouth or the neck of the chiminea it means the fire is too large. They are intended for small and medium fires only.

What ought I burn in my clay-chiminea?

This is an important question. It is also one of the most often asked questions. There are numerous kinds of woods that are good fuel to put in any type of chiminea. Also there are some woods that are unquestionably harmful to your Chiminea. These woods can also be bad for your well-being.

Most clay chimineas cannot lodge old-style fireside size woods. So you need to either purchase pre-cut Chiminea wood or cut the wood down yourself. I would opt for purchasing the wood because it has been specially treated for chimineas.

A decent size choice for Chiminea firewood is from 9-14 inches in length and 4 inches in diameter. The size might differ subject to the size of the Chiminea’s mouth.

Never Burn These Fuels in your Clay-Chiminea

Pressure treated timber releases poisonous vapours when burned. If the wood has a greenish hue it might be pressure treated. Don’t burn wood if you are not sure if it has been pressure treated.

Pellets are a kind of factory-made wood oven fuel and are not ideal for use in a Chiminea. The pellets are inclined to burn hot and if the quality is bad they will leave a lot of cinders. Many Chiminea makers advise never to burn charcoal in a chiminea.

Kinds of Timber to Burn

There are numerous kinds o timber that countless folks like to burn in their outside fireplace. Though, additional carefulness is advised.

Red Cedar 

Red Cedar has a pleasant smell and keeps the mosquitos away. Though, it has a propensity to “pop”. So ensure you have a spark arrestor in or on the neck and a screen over the mouth.


Mesquite is outstanding culinary firewood for those with grill chimineas. Though, it can really get hot. Ensure you only put a few portions at a time in your chiminea.

Scrap Lumber 

Scrap lumber is common firewood for chimineas. Though arid portions of pine and spruce 2″x4″s, 2″x6″s etc. burn quickly and hot. This kind of lumber can be simply divided into small kindling.

Green or wet wood 

Green or wet wood gives out a lot of smoke. Too much smoke is not good for your health and it will irritate your neighbours. It is a good idea to be a thoughtful neighbour!

Pinion Pine 

Pinion smells nice and scares off mosquitos. This fact perhaps makes it the most commonly used Chiminea lumber.


It is more difficult to come by Apple. Though it is an outstanding Chiminea timber. It has a delightful fragrance.


Hickory makes great tasting smoke ham. Why not use Hickory in a Chiminea grill to cook your burgers. The hickory will make them taste great.

Check out special woods made for outdoor fires on amazon!

Can a cracked Clay-Chiminea be repaired?

The thing is not all clay-chimineas are made equal. Regrettably, some Mexican chiminea makers do slapdash maintenances on broken chimineas and retail them as unspoiled goods. Basically, you cannot actually tell from an optical scrutiny how long your outdoor fireplace will last. A badly completed chiminea might fall apart with the first burning. Or it could crack on the 20th usage. It might seem sturdy until you attempt to lift it at the end of the season and the stack splits from the base.

Chimineas cannot be fixed with numerous waterproof ceramic adhesives on the market, like flower pots can, owing to their heat expansion. Perhaps the best item for fixing would be high temperature epoxy glue. This glue is generally used for fixing automotive mufflers and exhaust pipes. It can be bought at some hardware stores and most car parts stores. They can also be bought on Amazon.com. Click here for some great deals on high temperature epoxy adhesives at Amazon!

This product is both sand-able and paint-able.  Also, if you think you can do it, you can touch up the chiminea with acrylic paints mixed to match the original dyes.

RTV high temperature silicone caulk is also glue that could be used to fix your clay chiminea. This is the material used to create “instant” gaskets amid metal automobile engine parts exposed to high temperatures. It is coloured red and you cannot paint on it. So using this adhesive on your clay chiminea for upkeeps will set it apart from the masses!

Storing your Chiminea

Do you live in a cold climate throughout the winter? If you do it is an excellent idea to put your chiminea inside the household, shed or garage. The mixture of freezing temperatures and moistness could possibly cause your chiminea to crack.

Before storing remove the Chiminea from its stand and put it inside. If you are storing it in a non-heated setting put your chiminea on a pallet or on a couple of portions of timber so that air can flow below. Never store your chiminea on its stand.

Common Sense safety instructions When Using Your Chiminea

Below are some logical safety tips so you can feel relaxed and safe while burning you clay chiminea.

  • Ensure you have a bucket of sand or an appropriate fire extinguisher nearby when burning your Chiminea!
  • At all times keep an eye on kids and pets when you are burning a chiminea!
  • Always ensure that there is an responsible adult in attendance when burning your clay chiminea.
  • Never touch the exterior of the outside fireplace while it is being used. It will be really hot!
  • Water should never be used to quench a Chiminea fire!
  • If you have to stop the fire straight away, use sand or a dry chemical fire extinguisher.

Please note: never use a CO2 extinguisher. The reason is that the water will crack the heated clay chiminea.

What are the Safety Concerns with Clay-Chimineas?

You can burn yourself just as easily from a hot clay chiminea just as fast as a hot metal chiminea. If there was an in-built threat to by a metal outside fireplace, then all gas grills would be made of clay. Basically, if you are the kind of individual disposed to sticking your fingers on hot objects, perhaps, a garden fountain would be better for you.

The chief worry with clay is that when it does fall apart it can occur without notice. If you are using a clay fireplace on a timber deck or other exterior that can be ruined, have it sitting on cement, tile, or other kind of protecting base.

Basically, no matter how excellent a clay chiminea is constructed, put in a portion of clay in a bucket of water, in a few days you will have mud. The downside to a clay chiminea is that it is just a big clay vessel and should be used for flowers – not fire!

Basically, an open-air fireplace will improve your lifestyle. After a long working day an enjoyable snug fire and a good glass of wine/beer will do wonders for your well-being. Telling stories around the fire brings families and friends together. A clay chiminea might not be a substitute for your TV, but it does bring people together…

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