All chimineas and fire pits need some kind on instructions. I know when we include instructions with our chimineas it usually gets used as a fire starter but I hope it gets read first. Clay chimineas and cast iron chimineas are fireplaces, we burn fires in them. Each type ofchiminea has its pro's and con'sbut both need a little instructions. Plus it helps keeps the coals from resting directly on the clay.
Cast Iron Chimineas are pretty much set to go. But there is usually some assembly required. Once the chiminea is assemble put it in a predetermined location. This isn't some thing your going to want to move around a lot. They are heavy and hard to handle and a cast iron chiminea WILL break if dropped.
Cast iron chimineas will get hot VERY fast. clay chimineas will get hot as well but not like a cast iron chiminea. THe best investment with any chiminea especially a cast iron chiminea is a good set of think, longsleeved stove gloves.Be careful. Get comfortable with your chiminea before you start stacking on the fire.
Other then what we just metioned your set to go. Cast Iron chimineas don't need rock or sand in the bowl unless it's a one hole opening chiminea and the smoke comes out the front more then you'd like. Raising the top of the fire by adding sand or rock will help.
Taking care of your chiminea
Clay Chimineas! They can break! Clay chimineas are made of Clay and they don't drop well. It's a good idea to first find a safe place to put your clay chiminea and think about it before placing the chiminea. I would think about this before you actually move it there. Clay chimineas are usually heavy and I know for a fact they are bulky to move. The less movement the less chance you have of accidentally dropping it and breaking the chiminea. So for the sake of your back and the chiminea FInd a safe spot first, then put the chiminea in place. This is also important with cast iron chimineas as well.
This spot should be clear of any over hanging trees, branches or brushes. The exhaust coming out of the top of the chiminea has velocity and the heat will rise far beyond the top of the chiminea. So make sure there's nothing above the chiminea to catch fire.
The location should be on a flat, fireproof surface such as rock, concrete, bricks or pavers. Sometimes when your moving the logs and stoking the fire some hot ashes may fall out the front. As long as the chiminea is on a safe surface this much as a problem. This will happen with any chiminea, clay or cast iron. Some chimineas have fire screens on the front but they usually don't work because your adding firewood and stoking the fire with the door open. So it's just best to play it safe and make sure the chiminea is on a safe surface. And make sure there isn't any brush or combustible material around the chiminea.
Taking care of your clay chiminea is no big deal. What we suggest is once or twice a year apply somechiminea sealer to the clay. That's it. Just clean out the ashes and seal it once in a while. Sealing the chiminea helps preserve the finish and protects from the clay moisture. The worse enemy of a clay chiminea other then dropping it, is water. The clay chiminea will absorb the water and make it softer. This is not as big of a deal as it sounds but to have the possibility of this happening just apply some sealer.
The clay chiminea should be protected from water as much as practically possible. The best method is to be sure the clay chiminea is sealed.See sealer products here. This protects and seals the clay so when it rains the water runs off just like a freshly waxed car. But this sealer will wear off and must be re-applied. This is the most important part of keeping your clay chiminea in good condition. Keeping it sealed. The life of the sealer depends on a lot of factors, usage is one, not being covered is another. The chiminea sealer will usually last about 3 to 6 months with average weekend usage before needing to be re-applied.
Covering your clay chiminea is important.See chiminea covers here. This will prolong the life of the clay chiminea and protect the clay paint from the UV rays from the sun. The paint will last longer . I usually keep my clay chiminea covered during the week but on Friday we usually take the cover off. During the weekend we just use a chiminea lid for rain protection. Seechiminea lids here. Recover the clay chiminea during the week. This seems to be the routine our family has adapted and the clay chiminea looks like new.
CLEANING THECLAY CHIMINEA
First off you should have some sand or lava rock or pea gravel in the bottom of the chiminea. Once your ready to clean out the ashes use a small shovel and remove the rock and ashes. and put in a bucket and rinse them off with water. I'll let the rock dry and put the rock back into the bowel of the clay chiminea. If you fill the chiminea bowl with sand just rack out the excessive ashes and turn the sand over. THen your good to go.