Chimalin AFC Chimineas – A Brief History

Continuing the theme of getting more background information about new chimineas we now move on to the most exciting innovation of all – Chimalin AFC (Advanced Fire Clay).

These chimineas are guaranteed against cracking from heat (not from being dropped!) and even come with a 5 year guarantee from Gardeco the manufacturer.

Sempra Chimalin AFC Chiminea
Sempra Chimalin AFC Chiminea

We spoke with Isabelle Harris from Gardeco and posed her a few questions:

What inspired the Chimalin AFC range of chimeneas?

Well we have been working on this project for over 8 years, and we’ve been selling clay chimineas for 20 years so it’s not quite so new for us. As anyone who has owned a traditional clay chiminea will tell you they can crack due to being over-fired. It is sad and unfortunate, but it happens and the Chimalin AFC range was developed from the demand of customers for a clay chiminea that does not crack.

We went looking for solutions in China, then Mexico, Vietnam and Malaysia until we found a solution which was to add components to the clay to make it resistant to cracking. Those are our little secret.

Basically it makes for a more reliable clay chimenea product.

What testing have you done with them?

One experiment we ran was we submerged one for 2 hours and then put it into freezing temperatures – and then fired it and it worked without problem. However, we do no recommend this as it’s not how they should be treated!

Tell us more about the finished look

We have glazed them as they fire at very high temperatures and this is not possible with other clay chimineas – so that is an added bonus as well because it is a very popular finish. The glaze adheres to the surface of the clay so they are more resistant to water and less porous. It basically seals the surface better than water-based emulsion paint.

We designed them in the way people use them – so various sizes and so on. The clay is also better at retaining heat, far better than traditional clay, so it can stay warm long after the fire has died down.

What has the reception been like to them from customers?

Fantastic so far. Everyone can relax now knowing that their clay chiminea won’t crack. Also you guys at Chiminea Shop will have to deal with fewer issues regarding cracked clay chimineas!

Do they need any special treatment at all?

My advice is to treat them as you would a cast iron chiminea – but of course these ones won’t rust or need assembly. Still cover them up and/or bring them inside over winter as they are still porous but they are far less susceptible to frost but I think always best to be safe.

What accessories do you recommend you use with them?

Use the same as regular clay chimineas, but of course you don’t need pumice stones to line the base

Can you cook on them?

Of course, just like all other chimineas.

Are there future plans for more or similar chimineas – or products made from the advanced fire clay (AFC)?

Yes we are working on pizza ovens and pizza stones – as well as fire puts.

What guarantee comes with them?

5 year guarantee against cracking caused by fire, not for dropping them!

Do you have a particular favourite? Why?

The XL Asteria in the dark sand brown. Just a personal preference but I like the texture and slight purple tinge to the finish.


Our thanks again to Isabelle for her time to answer these questions – you can find the range of Chiminea AFC chimineas on the Chiminea Shop website.