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Fuel Stoves The Clay Chiminea

By Charles Hopkins Published 07/6/2006 | Home Improvement
When the evenings are cool but not yet too cold, you may still want to have an evening meal out on your deck. If youd like that added touch of warmth to save hurrying indoors, a chiminea may be just the type of heating for you. But before you rush out to purchase one, here are some facts about chimineas.

Some chimineas are made of clay. The bottom or bowl and the neck are usually made in two separate pieces and joined when they are dry, therefore when you pick one up, dont hold it only by the neck, even though that may seem the easiest way to carry it. The joint could let go if you dont support the weight of the bowl with one hand. The best way to carry a clay chiminea is to grasp the opening with one hand and support the neck in the crook of your other arm.

There is no need to pay any extra expense in having your chiminea delivered. It will be happy sitting on your car seat with the seat belt in position and some extra padding around the neck. When deciding where your chiminea should live, find a level, solid footing for it and make sure there is nothing above the chimney that can catch fire. This includes awnings of any kind, or tree branches. Never place it in an enclosed porch. These heaters are for outdoors or open decks only. If it is to go on a wooden floor, youll need a non-combustible mat, available from the manufacturers, to go under it.

A clay chiminea must not have a fire lit directly against the clay. Play sand or pea stone should be added to the bowl until it is 3-4 inches below the lip of the opening and, by the way, never lift your chiminea with the sand still inside it. Lay two bricks about 6 inches apart on the sand to form a grate and raise the wood, and build a small fire only for the first five or ten times. Never use any inflammable material to start your fire, as the clay can absorb it. And never douse the flames with water. Once the clay is seasoned, it is ready for a larger fire, but if there are flames shooting out the top of the chiminea, it is too big.

A good size range for your chiminea logs is about 4 inches in diameter and something like 9-14 inches long. Do not burn pressure treated wood, because it gives off toxic fumes. Wood pellets are not suitable either, because they are designed to burn very hot, and the manufacturers do not recommend coal. Pinion Pine is one of the most popular woods to burn in a chiminea. It has a peasant aroma and helps to ward off mosquitoes. Apple, Alligator and Hickory are all great choices, the latter giving a wonderful taste to burgers if you are using a chiminea grill. Mesquite can also be used, but since it burns very hot, mix it with other types or limit the use to a few small pieces at a time.

Some clay chimineas on the market have not been weatherproofed, so you must do this yourself to make sure your investment lasts a long time. Future Floor Wax or Butchers Wax are both suitable to use. Simply squirt or rub it on and polish it in with a clean towel.