Curing your Clay Chiminea
Chimineas are an increasingly popular choice for gardens across the UK. 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 for years.
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. This is a process that has been used for hundreds of years but often slips the mind of clay oven owners and is often not included in instructions provided by the manufacturers.
This can be a time consuming process so I would recommend putting aside an afternoon, preferably when the weather is good. First you must fill the chiminea with sand to about three quarters of the way to the top of the mouth. This ensures that the flames of the fire do not directly touch the clay for the first few fires whilst you heat during the curing process.
Light a small fire on top of the sand using just kindling and paper. Carefully position the fire so that it is set in the middle of the sand and try to ensure that the flames do not come into too much contact with the edge of the chiminea. Leave this to go out naturally after 5 minutes or so.
Following this, you must allow the chiminea to cool. This may take a while as one of the reasons that chimineas are such great outdoor heaters is that the clay has the ability to hold heat and then radiate it over time. Remember this after any larger fire and be careful not to touch the chiminea until it has cooled completely as they will be hot! Empty the chiminea of any ash or unburnt material and prepare it for the next step.
Repeat stages one to three again, each time making the fire progressively larger. Add kindling and pieces of wood and allow the fires to burn out naturally as before. I would recommend repeating this process 5/6 times to ensure the best results.
Once this is complete you are ready to go. Your chiminea should be cured and ready for camp fires, log burning or even BBQ a bit of food. 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!