Repairing Chiminea Cracks

Cracks in clay chimineas

There are two kinds of cracks in chiminea. One is a fire crack and this is caused when the chiminea is being dried in the kiln. When the clay is formed into a chiminea its then set aside to dry for several days or as long as 2 weeks. Then the chiminea is put into a kiln and baked for several at hours. During this period the chiminea could get some cracks. These cracks are not big deal.

Clay Chimineas Cracks

After the chiminea is kiln dried the chiminea is painted. When they paint the chiminea these fire cracks are covered in paint. They disappear. After prolong use of the chiminea these cracks may reappear because the paint changes. These cracks are nothing to worry about and they should effect the life of the chiminea.

Sealing your chiminea will make the paint last longer. But if you get to the point that you think your chiminea may need to be repainted visit this link on how to paint your clay chiminea.

The other kind of crack is caused by numerous other factors such as dropping the chiminea or not following the instructions and forgetting to put sand in the bottom of the chiminea. If you didn't put some kind of earth material in the bottom of the chiminea and the hot coals sat in the bottom of the chiminea directly on the clay- this could cause the chiminea to crack.

Whatever the reason for the crack, a fracture crack is a fracture crack. Now everything I say from here on out is basically a shot in the dark and you should proceed at your own risk. You don't have much to loose but make sure the chiminea is in an area that if it did fall apart it won't catch anything on fire. This could happen. The crack can grow and it' possible that depending on where the crack is the bottom could fall out of the chiminea.

The chiminea could possibly repaired. I have done this on my own and it's lasted 10 years so far and I still continue to use it to this day. This is a two part process. First we fill the crack and then we paint the chiminea.

Take the chiminea and get some sand paper and sand the area around the crack. Clean off all the loose clay and paint and dirt. Sand till you get a solid surface. Then get some automotive bondo from an auto supply house and mix it according to the instructions. Apply the bondo as per the instructions but instead of applying this to a car your applying this to the cracked chiminea. Then let the chiminea dry bondo dry hard. Sand till it's smooth and the bondo is blended into the surface. Then Paint the chiminea as direct in this link. The other option to bondo is some concrete repair compound that is heat resistant. Home depot sells it.

Just remember this may or may not work but what do you have to loose. Just make sure that if the chiminea fails completely that it won't cause a fire or hurt anyone.

This is really important!

If you recently bought the chiminea and crack appeared shortly after using it then it was probably cracked when you bought it and you didn't know the chiminea was cracked. Depending on where you bought the chiminea there is no telling how many times it's been handled and by whom. This is why I don't recommend buying a clay chiminea from a mass merchant. They'll sell you a cracked chiminea and not know it. They don't know how to check for it and they don't care.

How can you tell if a chiminea is cracked when your buying one?

Knock on the chiminea. Make a fist and knock on the chiminea like you were knocking on a door. Do this every 5 or so inches around the bowl of the chiminea. Listen to the sound. If the chiminea sounds like a thud, then it has a crack that you may not see. If it sounds like a bell, then chances are its in good shape. The sounds are completely different and very distinct. You'll know the difference when you knock on the chiminea.

If you have any questions call me Jim Jarvis 817-613-0029


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