chiminea recommendations

I'm thinking about buying one of those outdoor chiminea's for my wife for Christmas. I looked at a cast iron model at Home Depot and was not impressed with the quality. It's made up of cast iron plates bolted together with what looks like cheap grade nuts and bolts. They also had a fired clay version from Mexico but I'm afraid if this was accidentally knocked over it would obviously break. Anyway, guess I'm looking for opinions from anyone that owns one of these things. Thanks.
--Greg
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Greg wrote:

My sister has a cast aluminum one she got a couple years ago at Target and likes it very well. The cast iron ones rust and end up looking pretty ugly, but hers still looks good.
HellT
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While we are on the subject, is it a really bad idea to use one of these on a pressure treated wood deck?

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wrote:

That violates fire codes, but oh well. I got a clay one on closeout for about $30.
I hate it. It's too small for cooking much, the food is too far from the fire, and it looks like crap. I'll use it, but would definitely go with a conventional grill next time. I'm not entirely sure why I hate it either, I just do.
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wrote:

You should probably have bought a better one and paid more money. A well-designed clay chiminea is not particularly small, although none are really designed for cooking. The finish (appearance) of your pot is relative to the quality.
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I have a painted cast iron one, heavy as all get out. Have to move it with a two wheeler. And yes it does rust, but my feeling is that it has taken on a patina sort of. I live right on the ocean, and it has served me very well.
Dave

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What climate do you live in? We're in central AZ. The heavy clay pots are most prevalent here and function very well. The outside surface needs to be waxed twice a year, but that's the only maintenance. If properly set in its frame, it's unlikely it will be knocked over due to the weight. They are bottom heavy. We did lose one clay pot during a move. One of the movers dropped the pot on a tile patio. I'd have been very surprised if it hadn't broken. :-)
Wayne
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I saw one of those chimineas at Home Depot and thought one of those might be a dandy idea for my backyard deck, too. That is, until it occurred to me that if you had four people standing around it, only one of those people would be exposed to direct fire-heat, leaving the other three to freeze their hineys off. And really, that's no way to treat your guests, especially if they brought you booze or cigars or hookers or something.
I've seen products out there that are chiminea-LIKE in that, if I recall right, they're made of heavy mesh and thus provide equal heat to anyone who may be sitting or standing around it. I don't remember where I saw these things, but it was somewhere that wasn't very specialized or tough to find.
Or you could just say screw it all and build a nice brick/limestone flatrock fire pit in the yard ;)
AJS

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Here is a Castiron/Aluminum Chimena link I found in the Internet. http://www.thebluerooster.com/products.html

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If you go with a clay model, put some sand in the bottom and take it easy breaking it in (or seasoning it). If you just throw some wood in it & burn it, you could break the thing. (BTDT). The good clay models weigh a lot. I'm still looking for one like my friend has that's in the shape of a fish. The mouth is where the fire is & the tail is the chinmey.
We have a cast iron fire pit that has rusted. It's really easy to over feed it and the flames can get *very* big. Our back yard is about the size of a three car garage, so big flames don't really go to well back there.
I'd look at places other than Home Depot; their choices are terrible. Garden centers have them, too.
We've enjoyed sitting around a small fire with a little wine on cool nights.
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