Where to buy spark arrestor or screen for a chiminea
March 17, 2017 11:56 AM   Subscribe

We have a chiminea, but we haven't used it because we don't have a screen or spark arrestor for it. I haven't found any good options locally, and only one store online, where the quality looks like something I should be able to make myself. Except I'm not sure what kind of screen to buy to keep sparks and embers in.

We live in a dry, desert environment, but no one seems to sell chiminea screens, and this question has baffled home improvement store staff that I've asked. Here's the one website I've found with screens and caps, and as you can see, while the caps are a bit better crafted, the screens look like sturdy metal screen material, clipped to the right size, plus a bit of wire to hold it in place on the front.

I'm no DIY wiz, but I imagine I could get small quantities of wire mesh and some chain for less than $50, but I don't know what terms to use to search for the right screens. Would it be weird to ask a metal shop for some scraps? Or am I low-balling this?
posted by filthy light thief to Shopping (11 answers total)
hardware cloth is what you're looking for.
posted by k5.user at 12:03 PM on March 17, 2017 [1 favorite]

Came in to say hardware cloth. Home Depot or Lowes should have it. You might have to buy a whole roll of it but it has other uses as well.
posted by bondcliff at 12:04 PM on March 17, 2017

You might actually prefer chimney cap mesh. Unlike hardware cloth, this mesh has more surface area and the surfaces are often angled to encourage sparks to collide with a surface and slow down in the turbulence rather than passing through.

Does your chiminea come in two pieces, like ours does? If so, this is easy--get a square foot (or whatever) of mesh, cut to size with tin snips, and press between the two pieces.
posted by late afternoon dreaming hotel at 12:15 PM on March 17, 2017

You're looking for thin "expanded metal" or thick "wire mesh". You can buy it from McMaster-Carr if you don't see the kind you want at the hardware store.
posted by Huffy Puffy at 12:54 PM on March 17, 2017

On a ceramic chimnea, it's unlikely that you'll vaporize the zinc on your screen; it would have to glow red hot to do this. There is a chance that you'll melt your zinc, and that's no good. Your screen will rust, and the zinc can drip down the side of the chimney, where it might burn off and give you fume fever. It should be well enough ventilated, anyway, for you to be OK, but still. Zinc melts at 787 degrees F.

You may run into some trouble, regardless of the coating you pick. If you're confident in your design, you could use stainless. If not, use carbon steel and consider this a single-season practice run.
posted by Huffy Puffy at 1:49 PM on March 17, 2017

Are spark arrestors / screens even necessary for chiminea? I grew up in southern NM and was around a lot of them where new log splits were fed in through the top because they were too long to go in through the front. I've seen them used also in AZ (both low desert and higher northern AZ) and in central WA without any screen or spark guard.

I don't know what your situation is, but I don't think they're really required.
posted by hippybear at 2:04 PM on March 17, 2017 [3 favorites]

You can buy the screening here. You could use coat hangars to make a frame, cover with screen, then solder in several places. Soldering is not hard, just be super careful.
posted by theora55 at 2:13 PM on March 17, 2017

hippybear: Are spark arrestors / screens even necessary for chiminea?

Given that I can't find them in stores, I'm guessing they're not technically required, but screens are required in our area for fire pits, and we have two little boys, so this is a general precaution.

theora55: You can buy the screening here.

And here's a fine copper "chimney cap mesh" from the same store, at $10 a swatch (6" x 6") - I'm not sure that's big enough, and other dimensions require a minimum order that greatly exceeds our needs, so I think I'll check in with local metal shops to see if I can get something for our dimensions specifically cut. Metal Supermarket might be a local solution.
posted by filthy light thief at 2:31 PM on March 17, 2017

Hardware cloth seems overkill for a chiminea. In the past I've used a couple layers of chicken wire. It's flexible enough to get the shape you need, but firm enough to stay in place. It's also cheap. You will probably want to replace it once a year or so.
posted by -t at 3:54 PM on March 17, 2017

McMaster Carr has stainless mesh. $11.66 for a 12" square. Stainless is tough to work with, though.
posted by jon1270 at 4:24 PM on March 17, 2017

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