Design And Build Your Own Chimenea Design And Build Your Own Chimenea

What You'll Need
Empty metal 45-gallon drum
4 to 6 foot length of iron flue pipe about 8 inches in diameter
Oxy acetylene burner
Flux covered brazing rods
Sand or fine gravel

Building a chimenea could be an excellent use for an old 45 gallon steel drum and a piece of heavy metal flue pipe.

Clean the Drum

Use a drum that has not been used for flammable materials. Clean it out with a strong solution of detergent.

Cut Aperture

About half way down the drum cut an oval about 1 foot long and 6 inches high. This oval is the aperture through which fuel will be fed to the chimenea. Finish the aperture by filing away the irregularities created by the torch and dulling the edge as much as possible.

Cut Exhaust

In the top of the drum cut a hole with a diameter slightly smaller than the diameter of the flue pipe. The best position for the exhaust is where the drum filler is. When you cut the hole you will also cut out the filler.

Clean Around the Hole

Use a file to remove the paint from around the hole in the top of the drum. You should finish up with bare metal.

Clean the Flue Pipe

Clean one end of the flue pipe with a file down to bare metal

Fit the flue pipe

Using a flux covered brazing rod, braze the flue pipe to the top of the drum. Be careful that you don’t use too much heat and simply burn the top of the drum away. If the drum is on a level base you might be able to do this by having the pipe stand on the drum. Use cords tied to pegs in the ground to hold the pipe steady. (Welding the two together is also an option.)

Your Finished Chimenea

Once the flue pipe is fixed to the drum you have a chimenea that will function well. Locate the chimenea on a good solid base away from flammable materials. Make sure there are no hazards overhead.

Sand or Gavel

Once the chimenea is in position fill the drum up to the aperture with sand or fine gravel. This needs to be compact so walk round the drum a few times tapping the side below the level of the sand or gravel with a hammer. Finish with the sand or gravel just below the bottom edge of the aperture.

Clean the Outside

The first time you light the chimenea you will see that any paint or dye on the drum will burn away. Let the chimenea go out and cool down. Clean the outside with a wire brush and emery cloth.

Paint the Outside

Once it is clean you can paint the outside with heat-proof paint or lamp black.

You will find that this chimenea works very well and can even be used for baking since it has a reasonably sized flat area on the top. You can extend the life of the chimenea by regularly painting with heat proof paint but you should expect it to last 2 or 3 years.

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