Instructions for clay chiminea first use

Clay chiminea : instructions for first time users

Curing your Clay Chiminea

Chimineas are an increasingly popular choice for gardens across the US and Canada.

They bring with them a slightly foreign charm and seem to fit in effortlessly with the natural background.
Chimineas come in many materials such as cast iron, ceramic of clay. Here, I will focus on the clay variety with a guide on how to cure your clay chiminea to ensure it lasts long time.

Taking care of your chiminea is taking care of any handmade pottery or clay dinnerware. It needs easy steps but important to have it for long time.

Nothing is more frustrating than having a bbq party with family or friends and at once, the chimnea collapse and your patio deck is full or burning firewood.

Curing, or firing as it is sometimes referred to as, is an important step that is often overlooked. By curing you ensure that the clay can withstand the changes in heat caused by regular use and cold weather.

The process of curating your garden chimney that has been used for hundreds of years but often slips the mind of clay oven owners.

Where to buy your chiminea?

If you bought your chiminea at Sol y Tierra ( you found the instructions and all accessories for cooking on it)

Cooking pizza on your chiminea for first time is so exciting but you need to follow these steps first.

But before, you want to prepare the space for your chiminea and is better to have a protection mat on the ground to protect your flooring of the dommages of flying sparks.

Essentials to set up your chiminea area

You will want to consider a model like this one available online

Also when using firewood, to make sure that it was kiln dried so there is no that annoying smoke everywhere

When planning a BBQ, you want to use organic charcoal, so you are sure that your food is not being altered by low quality charcoal. We found Olivette being interesting

and last but not least, wearing protection gloves when manipulating fire is an essential. These oven gloves are great since offer a good grip and last longtime as well


How to prepare your chiminea for cooking

Image titled Care for Your Chiminea Step 1

The fire in a clay chiminea needs to be built on a bed of sand so the fire doesn't actually come into contact with the clay.                     

Check your instructions carefully to make sure you set the fire properly. Not doing so may cause cracks in a clay chiminea. Children's play sand will work well. Don't move your chiminea with the sand in place in the bowl. You may damage the chiminea (or yourself).

Start with a small fire with a few pieces of carton or paper (on top of the sand) to season your chiminea. 

Do this three times before trying a larger fire. Never use firelighters or other accelerants to get your fire going because it may damage your chiminea permanently.

Use small logs for your fires. 

If the flame comes out of the chimney, it is probably too big. In which case, don't add any more fuel. If you want to regulate the fire after it's been lit, you can use the lid to control the amount of air going up the chimney. Do be very careful not to touch the exterior of the chiminea as they get very hot and can burn you. It's best to use long heat proof gloves.

It's best not to move a chiminea once it's been placed. 

Even cast iron chimineas can crack if you drop them. Prepare well the chiminea area on your backyard and try to not to move it often.
Image titled Care for Your Chiminea Step 5

Always let the fire die out in your chiminea. 

Never use water or any other coolant. This might create a quick expansion to clay and might collapse. as any other piece of pottery, taking care of your chimney is basic to ensure longevity.
Image titled Care for Your Chiminea Step 6

Protect your chiminea from frost and rain during the winter with a chiminea cover.

Since clay keep warm long time, let your chiminea cool down a couple of hours before installing the cover. Choose covers for chimnea as they have the shape and material to resist long time. We found this from Ball a good choice.

Repaint any spots that peel off due to the heat.

Use a suitable metal paint for cast iron chimineas. For clay chimneys, you can paint it with heat resistant paint and why not to decorate it? this is a great parents-children activity as well.
Image titled Care for Your Chiminea Step 8

Never lift your chiminea by the neck. 

It's best to pick it up round the bowl and to do it carefully. An empty chiminea can weight near 50 lbs, imagine if there is sand inside!

    Once this is complete you are ready to go. Your clay brasero should be cured and ready for camp fires, log burning or even BBQ a bit of food.

    You also want to prepare where to empty the ashes. We recommend using a metal bucket so it's easy to use it and let ashes cool down before putting them on the garbage bin.

    Don't forget that lots of bbq recipes adapt well to your chimney, so let's buy a poach of charcoal and a bag of kiln dried firewood and start cooking on the backyard.

    Chimineas are great garden decor as their handmade material adds this sense of timeless decor. Adding pieces that matches your actual decoration make this elegant look that is perfect for any home decor style.

    Chimineas are originally from Mexico so its presence ads this festive element that everybody wants to have.

    Lighting a chiminea for first time might seems tricky but is so easy that you will do it in no time.

    The curing process should make your clay oven more durable and should prevent cracking. Although we are not talking absolute horror stories if you don't carry out this process, non-cured chimineas are more prone to cracking and become brittle over time. It is especially risky the first time the chiminea is used and often if a large fire is set, cracks can form.

    Curing also ensures that your outdoor fireplace is fully waterproof and ready for anything the elements can throw at it meaning that you can enjoy it for years to come. Browse our selection of clay chimineas to find the perfect match for your garden, don't forget to cure it!

    For visual guide, please view this video

    Also owning a chimnea comes with a special lifestyle since is a sign that you enjoy outdoor living and you like to spend time with friends and family while offering bbq and fiesta.

    Next: read the last article here

    This article was inspired by WikiHow, and other on-line ressources to search for DIY projects and small home repairs.