Whether you’re an avid user of clay chimineas or just a beginner, the answer to that question is no different. Collective wisdom contends that a clay chiminea that is used often can last 5 years or more and will last for many years more if looked after properly.
That’s only partly true. The truth is that no chiminea lasts forever, or even stays the same for long periods of time. Despite that, all you have to do is properly take care of your clay chimineas so that they would have a long, durable life.
What Is The History Of Clay Chimineas?
Chimineas have been used hundreds or even thousands of years ago by our ancestors. The Mayan tribesmen were the ones who developed the chimineas. It was intended to keep the rain off the fire and keep them warm during the cold weather. During these historic times, only random pieces and sticks of wood are used by the tribesmen to ignite a fire in the chiminea.
The clay chimineas’ origins were found near Southern Mexico. Now, it is most popular in almost every cold country’s gardens and patios to keep the people warm during the winter. Not only that, several kinds of tinder or firewoods are used to make the fire longer and smell good.
Are Clay Chimineas Better than other kinds of Chimineas?
Clay chimineas made by firing and glazing clay. These fired and glazed clay are relatively resistant to heat and water. However, they are vulnerable to rain, rain, sun, and sudden changes in temperature. On top of that, if a clay chiminea was physically damaged and was not treated properly, it could affect its lifespan.
How Long Does a Clay Chiminea Last?
Nevertheless, most clay chimineas bought from the store today come with a warranty of 5 years. Which is nice, but, if you were the buyer, 5 years isn’t enough right? This is when the importance of “Curing” enters.
Why Is Curing Important For Maintenance
As a first-time clay chiminea user, it is important for you to know that curing your clay chiminea before using is as important as tuning up a brand new car before using it for a long drive. Basically, the curing process hardens the clay and helps prevent cracks and other physical damages.
That being said, if you want your clay chiminea to live a long, happy life, then you should never the first step of properly curing the clay chiminea before using it.
Can Cracks in Clay Chimineas be Repaired?
Can cracks on your clay chimineas be prevented? Yes, definitely, through curing. But can cracks be repaired? Despite being designed to withstand high temperatures of heat, a clay chiminea may still crack over time. It can also be destroyed if it was bumped or a hard object hits it.
The best thing about clay chimineas is that you can still repair cracks depending on their severity. You would only need the right materials like sandpaper, fire-resistant putty, paint, and so on. However, if you would be asking long-time chiminea users, it is still better to prevent these crackings than to worry about how to repair them.
This brings us back to the most important first step, curing. How can you properly cure your clay chiminea? Read on!
Here are three (3) Steps to Properly Cure Your Chimineas to Prevent Cracking:
This curing, or sometimes referred to as firing, is a process that has been used for hundreds of years and it has really been effective ever since. Before we start, let me just warn you that this is a time-consuming process. But don’t worry, it’s all worth it! So, let’s start:
- Step One
Fill the clay chiminea with sand at about three-quarters of the way to the top. Doing this makes sure that the flames will not directly touch the surface of the chiminea for the first few fires that you will be starting.
- Step Two
Light just a small fire in the middle of the sand using just simple tinder or twigs of wood. Make sure that the fire is in the middle of the sand and not touching the edges of the chiminea. Let the fire just burn for 5 minutes.
- Step Three
This is one of the vital processes of curing. Let the clay chiminea cool down. Keep in mind that this could take a while. One of the best abilities of chimineas is that they can hold heat for a long time so it relatively takes longer to cool down. So, remember not to touch it because it’s hot!
Clean the chiminea from burns and ashes and prepare it for the next step.
- Step Four
Repeat steps one to three again. Make sure that each time you progress, the fires become larger. To achieve this, consider using much more kindling and tinder to produce a greater fire.
It is recommended to repeat this process about 5 to 6 times to achieve the best results.
For anyone who owns a clay chiminea or similar clay fire pit, it’s really important to take good care of your investment. A lot of people are careless and assume their chimineas will last forever and don’t take care of it at all. That is not the case and you may find that you need to replace your chimineas more often than you would like.
Keep in mind that having your own chiminea is both a responsibility and a privilege. So you have to do what it takes to make your chiminea’s life span longer.