If you wish to protect your clay chiminea, and prolong its life-span, then don't overlook the curing aspect. Sure you can light it up straight away but if you want to prevent cracking, increase weather-proofing and durability then we strongly suggest you take some time to bed your chiminea in.
What is curing?
Curing is essentially firing the clay or iron again. You are using progressively larger fires to heat and respectively cool the clay/cat iron. Aleways start small.
What equipment or tools do I need?
Do cast iron chimineas need curing?
Absolutely, you should follow the same process for cast iron chimineas. Why? Often cast iron ones come with intricate styles, designs and paint finishes, offering you the perfect balance between functionality and aesthetics. Curing is vitally important for cast iron chimineas as it ensures that the paint on the iron surface is successfully bonded and helps prevent it rusting
What is the curing process?
Don't rush the stages, give yourself some time. Our recommended approach is below:
Step One- Fill the bottom of your chiminea with sand; upto about an inch below the bottom lip opening. If you don't have sand then you could use two or three bricks. The key point is that the fires you are going to light for curing purposes should be kept from touching the bottom of the chiminea- we don't want direct flame/heat on the clay at this point.
Step 2- We are trying to warm the chiminea! Using a very small fire , consisting of paper and a few pieces of kindling, allow the fire to light and then burn out completely. Do not use water to extinguish the fire- this forced cooling (rapid temperature changing) is what we are trying to prepare for….
Step 3- Allow the chiminea to cool. Now as they are made of clay and have great heat retention properties this may take some time. Once completely cooled and all the ashes are extinguished remove them and safely dispose of them. This ash can be fully composted in your garden composter or can be applied straight to your plant borders.
Step 4- With a now empty, and cooled chiminea, repeat Steps 1 to 3 above building slightly larger fires each time you repeat the process. Five to six repeats should be enough and by round 4 the logs should be of reasonable size. The sixth and last fire should be pretty much the size you would expect to use regularly. Don't overload the chiminea as this will lead to inefficient combustion, and always use well seasoned wood!
Step 5- You should be good to go with a well cured (seasoned) chiminea.
Should I use sand in my chiminea? Certainly to cure it yes. Long term we also suggest using sand as it helps to protect the base from extreme heat. If you leave the chiminea uncovered the sand can get wet so should be removed.
Does my chiminea need covering? Yes fo sure. Again this will greatly enhance the lifespan. If your chiminea get wet please wait for it to dry before re-covering and before lighting a roaring fire.
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