HOW TO CHOOSE A CHIMENEA OR FIRE BOWL
There are many models of chimeneas and fire bowls now available to choose from, but essentially, they divide into three categories: clay, cast iron and steel.
Clay Chimeneas & fire bowls
Clay chimeneas are made from special heat-resistant earthenware material, which is moulded by hand in plaster moulds and then fired at high temperature in kilns. Designs and paint finishes are varied and some products can look like works of art. The clay absorbs the heat, acting like a radiator, radiating heat out into the surroundings.
Choose a clay chimenea or fire bowls if
- The look is important to you. There are more styles and variations to choose from. Clay products are ?softer? to the eye, more natural looking, and fit in better with specific garden decoration schemes.
- You don?t like assembling products. Clay chimeneas are ready to use immediately without assembly.
- If you like the rustic hand-made look.
Do not choose a clay chimenea if
- You worry about cracking, handling, leaving out in the winter weather. Clay chimeneas are fragile and will cracked if knocked over, banged into, left in the frost or over-fired.
- If you don?t want to look after your chimenea
- If you are worried about the weight - clay chimeneas are heavy.
Cast Iron Chimeneas and fire bowls
Cast iron chimeneas are made with molten iron moulded in either sand or steel moulds. Standard parts are made and assembled with nuts & bolts to make up the product. Some products are made in one piece. Cast iron absorbs the heat of the fire, radiating it out.
Choose a cast iron chimenea or fire bowl if
- You don?t want to worry about the type of fuel used or the size of the fire or whether it will crack in winter weather. Although cast iron will crack if the chimenea or fire bowl is knocked over or dropped, it is a strong material that will be un-affected by high temperature or frost. Cast iron is the ideal material if you want to build a really big fire.
- You want a product that will last for years. Cast iron products are usually made of thick material so the life of the product is extended.
Do not choose a cast iron chimenea or fire bowl
- If you do not like the manufactured look. Cast iron chimeneas and fire bowls are all made in factories
- If you are worried about the weight- cast iron chimeneas and fire bowls are heavy.
- If you don?t like rust. Cast iron will rust if left to the elements.
- If you don?t like to assemble products ? most cast iron chimeneas and fire bowls require assembly.
Steel Chimeneas and fire bowls
Steel chimeneas and fire bowls are made out of pressed out or bent and welded pieces of sheet steel. Standard parts are made and assembled with nuts & bolts to make up the product.
Choose a steel chimenea or fire bowl if
- You intend to move the chimenea or fire bowl around from time to time (or take it with you). Steel chimeneas and fire bowls are lightweight and easy to move.
- You don?t have much time. Steel heats up and cools down quicker than clay or cast iron.
Do not choose a steel chimenea if
- You don?t like rust. Steel rusts if left exposed to the elements.
- You don?t like to assemble products. Most steel chimeneas and fire bowls require assembly.
- You want to keep a product for years and years: steel chimeneas and fire bowls are made of fairly thin material and the life span is less than cast iron.
All chimeneas and fire bowls change appearance after firing. Fire is a very aggressive element. Paint finishes will discolour and sometimes flake, black soot marks will appear on edges, around mouths and top of funnels. Rusting of all metal parts will occur.