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What's the best way to make a fire pit spark screen? I'm looking for a simple and (hopefully) inexpensive way to do it.

I'm thinking of making a fire pit in the back yard.  My lot is small and the neighbors are pretty close, so I am concerned about sparks.  I would like to make a simple spark screen.  The first question I have is, what type of screen will work for this?  My best guess is that if I get the wrong material it will burn through, or rust through, quickly.  This doesn't have to last a long time, if I can get one season out of it that would be fine, two would be great.

After the choice of material, my next question would be how to construct it.  This would have to be pretty simple, I don't have any way to fabricate metal rings or something similar.  So I'm thinking of just bending it somehow and securing with wire or nuts, bolts & washers.  I read a simple way to do it on another site.  It was basically to form a circle with the screen, create some corners to make it into a polygon.  Then cut partway down at the vertices and fold the 'tabs' created to form the top.  Sounds pretty simple to me, but if someone has a better idea I would love to hear it.

What other considerations am I missing?  I have read some suggestions about using heat resistant paint.  And it will need some sort of loops/handles so I can pick it up or place it on the pit (using a long stick or something similar).  Am I missing anything significant?

Thanks,
Jon

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Toga_Dan3 days ago

aluminum screen will burn.

Hardware cloth is galvanized. If you use it, keep your distance the first fire. Zinc fumes are bad for you. Check the msds.

Jon2001 (author)  Toga_Danyesterday
Good to know, thanks Toga_Dan.
seandogue11 days ago

Combo of 1/4 or 1/2 inch "hardware cloth" and good quality window screen, ie, copper or stainless.

reform to make a dome. Youb can stand it up over the fire piut using short sections of rebar pounded into the dirt

Jon2001 (author)  seandogue11 days ago

Thanks. If I can't get into our local recycling facility to search for suitable material it's off to Home Depot for something like you mentioned. Hopefully I won't have to buy a roll that's 10x more than I need.

You should be able to get a ~3x3 ft square from your local hardware store. All three of the hardware stores I regularily visit cut screening of all sorts to length.

Jon2001 (author)  seandogue7 days ago

Thanks.

iceng11 days ago

Is it that hard to make a cone shaped screen that lets flame rise but catches spark embers and allows a cooler one hand removal to add burn material ?

Jon2001 (author)  iceng10 days ago

I didn't even think of a cone, but that would simplify things. Thanks.

Kiteman12 days ago

Use a washing machine!

Get the drum from a dead machine at a scrapyard, and you can make a lid from one of the body panels (cut to size, with the edge folded down and a handle bolted on, then a gazillion holes drilled in it).

washing machine fire.jpg
Jon2001 (author)  Kiteman12 days ago

The washer drum is an interesting idea, I like the way the fire shows through the sides. So far though I'm still planning on using some left over materials found on my property after I purchased it.

How big in diameter is the drum? If I find one I could cut it in half, turn the bottom section upside down and use that. I can't remember much about what the bottom of a washer drum looks like, so I might have to drill the gazillion holes there. I assume it must have some sort of large hole in the middle for the agitator, I'm not sure if that would need to be covered or not, but that couldn't be that hard.

Works well but also produces a lot of sparks and ambers flying around - something the guy needs to avoid.

If you can make use of a flat fire pit then the security screens on a "flyscrren door" are great.
The cheap ones are made from aluminium or even fabric, just to keep insects out, the proper ones use a fine steel mesh.
I get mine mostly free from the local scrap yard....

Jon2001 (author)  Downunder35m12 days ago

I had thought of screen door screen, but figured the material may not last long since the it's pretty light weight. But, even if I can't get any scrap hopefully it's not to expensive at the local hardware stores.

Searching around for scrap may provide a bonus. I wanted some screen to go through material dumped behind the back of my garage left by the previous owner. But the only way to buy it was in a roll. Since I only needed about 2'x2' it seemed like a waste, maybe I can find both.

Thanks,

Jon

That's why I mentioned making a lid...