Illustration by Jade Clara for a Mail and Guardian article on the afterlife
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Why a Ceramic Fireplace?
A ceramic fireplace aesthetically enriches the style of your home, which combined with their potent efficiency, makes it a beautiful alternative to the more common metal fireplaces. Made from tried and tested specially formulated clay, they won’t crack or lose their appeal, nor will they rust, smoke or smell. The main advantage over metal fireplaces, however, is their phenomenal ability to heat and radiate into the room long after the fire has burned low. 19 Years of production has inspired a dedicated following of satisfied customers who are delighted with the function as well as the total ease of ownership – the only maintenance required is to brush out the fine ash once a month. The success of these trend setting heaters has spread from South Africa to appeal to discerning home owners in the USA, Germany, Australia and the UK.
The secret to the efficiency of the Earthfire firepot lies in the thermal capacity of the claybody. The firepot continues to radiate heat into the room even when the fire has burned low and will stay hot for up to two hours after the fire has gone out. A metal fireplace has very little thermal capacity and quickly loses heat. Make a large fire initially to best heat the entire firepot – this allows you to make the best possible use of the ceramic material’s ability to store and radiate thermal energy. Once a comfortable ambient temperature is reached it is very easy to maintain, wood placed in the firepot combusts cleanly and burns down to a very fine ash. Dry wood optimizes the efficiency of the firepot and will also cause less harmful emission. Due to a combination of continuous draw and complete combustion of wood these fireplaces, unlike other open fires, do not smell at all. The only maintenance required is to brush out the fine ash every 15 to 20 fires.
We have been manufacturing and fine tuning our fireplaces for nearly 20 years. A few latecomers on the scene claim the same performance and resilience for their own products, some even going as far as pinching bits off our website! Sometimes it’s just best to stick to the original. Virgin Cola anyone?
This is no chiminea
These fireplaces are impervious to thermal shock. Unlike the low-fired earthenware Mexican Chiminea, they will not crack from the uneven heating caused by a very hot fire. See our Raku page to appreciate the resilience of the clay. Differential expansion causes heat stress in ordinary ceramic material, so why not in the Earthfire firepots? The secret lies in the unique clay body that has been scientifically formulated to achieve a Coefficient of Thermal Expansion of zero. The initial firing takes place at a very high temperature and thereafter the clay does not expand or contract at all. Each pot is numbered and is under full warranty for thermal damage.
The art of Raku
The thermal shock resistance of the clay body used in our firepots lends itself to production raku or “fire magic”. Raku is a Japanese method of decoration that involves a second firing and cooling to produce an interesting crackle effect to the glaze. During this process the kiln is starved of oxygen to cause reduction – for example green copper oxide is reduced to red copper. Traditionally this is a very time-consuming process used only by studio potters.
However, our clay can be heated and cooled rapidly without cracking, enabling us to manufacture the world’s first production raku units. The firepots are produced in quantity, but the many variables involved in raku firing make each one unique – colour distribution and glaze crackle will never be exactly alike. Click here for further information.
For even more evidence of the special properties of our clay, have a look at our latest video (also available at the bottom of the Homepage). Rapid heating of the rim of a Pizza Stone right up to the glowing phase – this alone would cause any other ceramic to crack. The glowing portion of the rim is then dipped halfway in water, creating a zone of intense thermal stress. It doesn’t even break a sweat! The Pizza Stone is manufactures from the same clay as all out products – it is white because it is not glazed or treated in any way. See for yourself: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AA84d6kWbSI
The stands continually evolve, so the stand you receive may differ slightly from what is shown here. Please request a photograph. The stands and screens are optional and not included in the cost of a firepot. The pot can also be placed directly on a fireproof surface. The pot looks best raised 150 – 300mm above the level of the floor.
|Wrought Iron Stand
|Fire Screens for use with or without stand
|Fireplace directly on a fireproof surface.
The firepots are available in two sizes and three standard decoration options: African Mask, Japanese Medallion and Plain (no decoration). In addition, the beach cottage – see picture on right – can be used and we provide custom decoration at an added fee.
For the Deep Red and White Raku pots the decoration is in a contrasting colour and for all other colours in the same finish as the background.
Firepot alone – 52x52x68cm, about 60kg
Packaged with stand – 60x63x86cm, about 80kg
Firepot alone – 45x45x61cm, about 50kg
Packaged with stand – 55x60x79cm, about 65kg