Instructables

What's the best way to make an outdoor fire pit that will actually be used for jobs other than flipping burgers?

I am looking to do the work myself and was wondering if anyone had any recycleable "shortcuts" (one website I visited suggested using the tub of an old washing machine or dryer and then cementing rocks around it.) Good idea, but are there others out there? Any suggestions for a grate to go over the top? It doesn't have to look like it belongs in an issue of House Beautiful, I need it to be functional and sturdy. If it looks great, then that's a bonus. I have plenty of natural rocks available, so I would not be purchasing bricks or anything of that nature (at least for the outside.) Thank you!

seandogue5 years ago
if the pit is going to be used for utility work, I'd consider installing an air entrainment system, especially if you;'re going to cement the thing together.. the one thing I always regretted when I made a brick fire pit back in the late 1970s was that I didn't add a 2-3" pipe with an exit in the center (like the drain from a tub) so I could hook up a blower for those damp days when the fire just doesn't want to stay lit. capping the vent tube with an over sized hat (it would look a bit like a mushroom) will keep the ashes from accumulating in the pipe.
jmphy5 years ago
make a very nice fire ring /cook pit . I use a tractor rear tire rim then bought grated steel about 3x3 ft. took grinder cut to circle to just fit in side rim lip works great to boil water,ect.you can put cast iron caldron on this thing and scald a hole pig at once if you want . just be sure your grate is sturdy enough.when your done pull grate off rim fill with wood and set around a great camp fire . {enjoy}p.s.this thing will last for years
kelawrence (author)  jmphy5 years ago
Thank you!! I don't have immediate access to this, but I'll bet with a little looking I could find one - and you're right that it would work; it wouldn't be too high or too wide for any of the jobs we had in mind. We could still use some type of mortar and rocks around it to make it blend in . . . right? As long as the inner rim is getting the heat from the fire, the outside would be okay to do this with . . .yes?
Catharsis5 years ago
I would say go to town, find a place that refits and sells used appliances. And ask if they have any racks from dead home ovens which they could part with. But I would stay away from any dryer tubs as a firepit, the enamel coating will burn off and Lord knows what that stuff will do to you for eating it.
Got another bright idear. Find a resurant supply house or commercial contractor who works with resurants. Look for a dicarded industrial sink. Typically made of stainless steel, and usually include a drain hole. You could fill the sink with water to boil over the pit. Get lucky and find a cast off sink with a built in work surface. Or a double sink, remove one side and replace with that oven rack you got for the asking. You could have fire on one side, boiling water on the other. Add an elbow and a valve to drain after use.
kelawrence (author)  Catharsis5 years ago
The oven rack idea is AWESOME!! I don't mind poking around in yard sales, but that is a super idea! Thank you! And, I agree about the enamel . . . even though we'll be boiling water, etc., who knows what the fumes from that stuff could do . . . yikes. Thanks again!
Putzer5 years ago
What other jobs do you have in mind, eg. blacksmithing, foundry, crystal meth production? Flattened expanded metal can be used as a grate. You could always use an old steel trash can or oil drum as the hearth pit.
kelawrence (author)  Putzer5 years ago
Ha ha - no, not meth!! I had actually thought of an oil drum, too, and I'm sure with some searching I could find one. We live on a small farm in Vermont and an outdoor fire pit would be great as we "process" our own livestock. A grate big enough to hold a large kettle with hot water (from the fire) for processing, boiling water for canning veggies, hot water for messy clean-up jobs, etc., would be ideal. Just trying to recycle and save a little $$ along the way by using elbow grease and doing it on our own.