How to restore a cast iron chiminea
The ethos for the 21st Century is re-cycle, re-purpose and take care of the Earth and its natural resources for future generations. That old rusty cast iron chiminea lying unloved in the corner can be restored to give you a great heat source for your outdoor space. You don’t have to be a whizz garden designer to create a comfortable outdoor space for chilling out or entertaining family and friends. First, tidy the area and put all the bits and pieces lying around into the shed or skip. Clean the algae and moss off the patio or decking area and take a look at what space you have available.
Now you are ready to choose some garden furniture; what do you want the furniture for, just for relaxing? If you are planning on doing a lot of barbecuing, then you really need a dining set, but you can get dual purpose resin weave lounge sets with an adjustable table. Pay as much as you can afford as good quality furniture lasts years longer than the budget sets, as it’s constructed from the best quality materials, it will look pristine for the whole of its life. Cheap sets show scuff marks, quickly discolour, the seats soon sag, and the metal goes rusty, leaving you with a scruffy set after a couple of years.
Choosing a barbecue follows the same principles as choosing furniture, a cheap barbecue will soon look tatty, take a lot of cleaning, go rusty, and you won’t be able to source spare parts. Once you have the furniture and the barbecue, all you now need is a heat source to let you enjoy your space into the evening and on those lovely spring and autumn days.
Restoring your old chiminea means that the money saved can be ploughed into good quality furniture and a barbecue. Even if your chiminea is rusted through then you can turn it into a garden planter or water feature; you don’t have to be that ambitious just filling it with small-leaved ivies can look stunning.
The first thing you need to do is remove all the rust and flaking paint. If you have a local builder who can sandblast, then this is probably the easiest option, but the most expensive. The cheapest way to remove the rust is by wire brush then wire wool, all it needs is a lot of elbow grease. Check out the article which explains in detail “How to clean a cast-iron chiminea.”
Once you have rid the chiminea of the rust, apply a couple of coats of heatproof paint, then you are good to go. Place it out of range of anything flammable such as over-hanging branches, wires and wooden fences and containers. Make sure it is situated on stone tiles or concrete, not wooden decking or wobbly gravel. For the first burn just light a small fire and let it burn for about an hour then add more fuel, letting it burn for a further hour. If you see flames raging out of the top of the chimney then the fire is too fierce, chimineas will give out enough heat from a modest fire.
Clay chimineas can also be restored provided they don’t have any large structural cracks, any that are badly cracked can be used as planters. These just need rubbing over with wire wool, any superficial cracks can be filled with fire cement then re-painted with a water-based emulsion over an acrylic sealant, such as a floor sealer.