How to Care for a Cast Iron Chiminea

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Chimineas originated in Mexico and are usually made of clay. Cast iron or aluminum chimineas last longer than clay and may be more practical if you live in a cold climate. Follow these steps to care for a cast iron chiminea.

Things You'll Need

  • Cast iron chiminea
  • Long sleeved gloves
  • Shovel
  • Fireplace tools
  • Tools to assemble chiminea
  • Logs for the fire
  • Sand, chiminea rock or pea gravel (optional)
  • Lid and/or grill (optional)
  • Purchase some long-sleeved stove gloves before using your chiminea. These gloves will keep you from getting burned. Also purchase any fireplace tools you may need to stoke or help add logs to the fire. Buy a shovel to remove ashes.

  • Allow 4 to 6 hours to assemble your cast iron chiminea. You might need to re-drill some of the holes.

  • Decide on a safe place for your chiminea. If you want to set it on a deck, you will need to build a hearth underneath it.

  • Deal with rust spots right away. Sand the spot and clean it off before applying heat-resistant paint. The paint might not exactly match your chiminea, so you may want to consider this before purchasing a cast iron chiminea.

  • Buy a cover for your cast iron chiminea if it didn't come with one. It will help keep it from rusting and staining the ground underneath it. Also use the lid to keep water from getting inside of it.

  • Clean your chiminea by shoveling out all of the ashes after they are cool and taking out the grill. Clean the grill off and replace it.

Tips & Warnings

  • If your chiminea didn't come with a grill, use sand, chiminea rock or pea gravel to cover the bottom of your chiminea. Fill it to about an inch below the opening.
  • Don't build a big fire in your chiminea--they are designed for small fires.
  • Don't use chemicals to start the fire.

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