Clay chimineas are one of the least expensive types of outdoor fireplaces. They are originally from Mexico. Since chimineas are made of clay, they are very fragile. You need to cure your chiminea before using it. Follow these steps to cure your clay chiminea.
Purchase a chiminea sealer from the store where you purchased your chiminea, a home improvement store or online. Sealer helps preserve the finish and protect the clay from moisture.
Decide on a permanent location for your chiminea and place it there. Since it can crack, you don't want to move it if you don't have to.
Apply the sealer according to manufacturer's directions. You will need to reapply the sealer every 6 to 12 months depending on how often you use your chiminea or if you keep it covered.
Buy some long sleeved stove gloves to protect you from getting burned. Chimineas can get very hot and you may not realize this until you already have a fire going.
Place about 4 inches of sand, lava rock or pea gravel in the bottom of your chiminea. Be certain your chiminea isn't damp before starting a fire in order to keep it from cracking.
Build a fire from paper only in the bottom of your chiminea. Slowly build the fire so the clay doesn't crack from the heat adding one balled up paper at a time. Let the fire subside and let the chiminea cool off.
Start your next fire with balls of paper and then add some wood to make a small fire. After it burns out, let the chiminea cool. Repeat this process two more times, each time building a slightly bigger fire and allowing it to burn out and the chiminea to cool each time. Your chiminea is now cured and ready for use.
To help prevent your chiminea from cracking, it's best to start out with a small fire and build to a larger fire to allow the chiminea to adjust to the heat. You can also use chiminea sealer to seal your clay pots.
Don't use any chemicals to start the fire.