What are Chimineas made of?

Date Posted: 12 July 2023 

What are Chimineas made of? content pixel
Traditionally Mexican Chimineas have been constructed from clay or terracotta. Our modern Aussie Heatwave high-performing chimineas are made of cast iron, alloy or bronze.

Clay Chimineas

Clay chimineas have been used for centuries in Mexico and other regions in South America. They are typically handcrafted and shaped using clay or terracotta clay, which is then fired to harden it. While clay chimineas are known for their rustic and traditional appearance they are by far not as durable as high quality cast iron chimineas. Clay Chimineas can easily break or crack.

Clay chimineas can last 5mis, 5mths, 5yrs. It all depends how & who made them in Mexico and then how well they were transported from overseas to avoid cracks in the clay then finally how they are used and treated by their owners. They require careful, sensible use. They don’t like to be over fired or moved as they get fragile with age and use. They don’t mix well with Pyromaniacs, parties or teenagers.

Mexican Clay Chiminea

Cast Iron Chimineas

To resolve all the problems of the clay chimineas we decided to make something more robust that would cope with anything & anyone & would last a lifetime.

In 1999 we started making our own chimineas out of cast iron, from recycled iron , locally in Victoria & called it The Aussie Heatwave.

Our Cast Iron Aussie Heatwave Chiminea is a Premium quality Australian Made Chiminea that's virtually indestructible and will last for generations.

The Aussie Heatwave Chiminea is a one-piece heavy casting. It has no moving parts, bolts, vents or grates to fall off and wear out.

It’s important to understand that like all products and materials the quality and the composition of cast iron varies dramatically. Not all cast iron is the same quality.

We use premium quality cast iron, the majority of which is recycled water main pipes. In contrast many products made overseas have been made with inferior cast iron. Often fillers are added in order to reduce the cost of production which undermines the strength and integrity of the iron.

This can lead to many problems with machinery & tools etc that are imported as they’re not as strong and don’t last as long as the old original versions which were made from proper cast iron. Some interesting technical facts about cast iron are as follows: Cast iron is the purest form of iron while pig iron is impure. (B) Cast iron has lower carbon content (3%) as compared to pig iron (4%) and is extremely hard and brittle. (C) Pig iron contains many impurities like S, P, Si and Mn while cast iron does not contain any impurity and can be cast into any shape.

With regards to the finish on our Chimineas. They have a natural catalytic rust finish which stabilises over time & looks better with age and use. They won’t continue to rust away like mild steel does, the cast iron naturally gets a protective coating with heat and use, and they will develop a darkish brown colour/patina similar to that of an old cast iron cannon. In more recent years we also began manufacturing The Aussie Heatwave Chimineas from Bronze and more recently Cast Aluminum.

Mexican Clay Chiminea

Cast Alloy Chimineas

Our Alloy Chimineas are cast in one piece of certified marine grade alloy. Due to the nature of Aluminium they heat up more quickly than Cast Iron Chiminea and give slightly more heat, approx 10% more.

Other benefits of Alloy are that it’s a lot lighter than the cast iron. Cast Iron Weighs approx 95 kg while the alloy casting is the same thickness but only weighs 35kg.

Another benefit which appeals to some people is that there is no rust, so those precious pavers will never get rusty marks on them. The Alloy remains a light grey to pewter colour which offers a more modern contemporary aesthetic plus it can be painted with any high temp paint whereas cast iron can’t as the rust will undermine the paint.

Mexican Clay Chiminea

Cast Bronze Chimineas

Our Bronze Chiminea is 110kg of premium quality solid bronze and is made to order in either Verdigris (green) or Natural Bronze/Brown.

We mostly sell the Bronze Chimineas to lovers of bronze & collectors of bronze sculptures & fountains.

Bronze by nature doesn't radiate heat as well as cast iron or alloy.

Mexican Clay Chiminea

Finally in terms of chiminea popularity & pricing

The cast iron is & always has been the most popular. Next is the Alloy however Alloy is more expensive by approx 25% & finally the Bronze. In recent years the value of Bronze has increased substantially and as such the cost of a Bronze Chiminea is currently approx 150-200% more than a cast iron chiminea hence we only make these to order.

Check out our chiminea range.