Instructables
Picture of How to Build Your Own Fire Pit
There are few things as relaxing as a warm fire on a cool evening. A fantastic "do it yourself" project, the folks at The Progressive Farmer magazine show you how to build a fire pit in just one day. Clear step-by-step instructions and material lists help make this project both fun and easy.
 
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Step 1: Preparation

Picture of Preparation
STONES. We built this fire pit from landscaping blocks. You can use field stone or other materials too. Do not use stones that have been submerged in water; they can explode with the heat of the fire. Concrete blocks may deteriorate from the heat, but they are cheap to replace.

DRAINAGE. In the bottom center of the pit, we dug a fencepost-sized hole 2 feet deep and filled it with gravel. The hole works like a sump, helping to drain rainwater.

ADHESIVES. We dry-stacked the stone. It's a quicker way to build the fire pit. If you have to replace cracked or broken stones, dry-stacking makes that job easier as well. If you want to cement the courses, lay cement down only on the outside half of the stones to protect the cement from the heat. Adhesives may melt and give off fumes; we advise against using them.

SAFETY. This fire pit is built in a wooded area. Before we started the fire, we soaked the area around the pit with water. We also had 5-gallon buckets of water and a shovel handy to put out any stray fires.

What You'll Need

98 retaining wall blocks

steel pit ring with tabs

metal grate

sand

gravel

We bought the ring and grate as specialty items from a garden store. We can't find a place to order these pieces from the Internet, so we'd suggest welding your own or having one produced at a welding shop.

The retaining wall blocks used in this project were 12 inches wide, 4 inches high and 8 inches deep.

We purchased about one-half ton each of sand and gravel.

Total Cost: about $500

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markcorp3 months ago

Hi there,

This is a pretty good design and build. I am pleased to see the drainage included, as many people tend to skip this stage. However, I prefer to have a 6" deep layer of gravel over the whole area of the bottom of the fire pit. 1. Its easier than digging a two foot deep hole. 2. It works perfectly for drainage, as it is a large surface area. 3. It forms an ideal base on which to set your fire.

For those people who have commented that they could not find a fire pit liner online, you could visit

http://www.themagicoffire.com/fire-pit-liner-build...

As an alternative you can also use the same fire pit liner to make an in-ground fire pit. You can find instructions for how to do it at

http://www.themagicoffire.com/blog/how-to-build-a-...

Regards

Mark

desertyweed4 months ago

We used a washing machine bowl and attached it to an old mowed frame so we could move it around,also put in storage when not needed.

My brother and I built one based on this design in a couple hours after a $200 trip to Lowe's. The hardest part was digging the hole. I didn't build it as high or line it with any sort of ring. We did gap the bottom two courses of bricks and snug the top course to allow for air flow (put one less brick in the top course). This created an awkward spot or two where the courses almost lined up, but no show stoppers. The bottom is lined with a few inches of sand, no gravel, and the bricks are simply stacked with no mortar or glue. In place for a month and getting heavy use (2 or 3 times a week); working great. The pic was taken a couple days after the build using the RetroCamera app (hence the odd look).
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Hi, just wondering if you had any issues with cracking/exploding bricks? I have built one similar and haven't lined (didn't realise I needed to) and now I'm a bit anxious about lighting it up!
After a couple years of use, some of the bricks are starting to crack. I'll have to replace a few come spring. No explosive cracking, the cracks just seem to show up.
Hycro5 years ago
I used an old piece of large metal pipe, an old big-rig rim, and a random steel screen made from 1/4" bars woven together...oh, and a metal hub cap to stop the coals from falling through the hub hole in the middle of the rim.
I've also seen many fire pits made with the drum from an old washing machine too. The drum in a dryer is not as easily removed as it is from a washer. 
Problem is, the washer tub doesn't have holes in it, for the air to flow through to heat up the fire. The dryer tub is better.
chip1233 years ago
I based my fire pit on this, kind of. i had the drum from an old washing machine just lying around, and a little camping barbeque busy dying. They just happened to fit together perfectly, and looks rather nice. I'll post a pic if anyone wants to see it.

Fire is fun :D
DAND chip1233 years ago
I want to see! Sounds pretty interesting!
chip123 DAND3 years ago
Here you go then :)
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Annie1948 chip12310 months ago
I use these tubs to filter the smaller stuff out of my compost pile, because of the holes around the side. Just up-end it, like it is in a dryer, and put a wheel-barrel under it to catch the "filtered" compost. Mine is up on a frame and still attached to the motor etc. of course.
Wow! This looks incredible! I never would have imagined the tub of a washing machine being so aesthetically appealing. Thanks for sharing.
I really love this! Fantastic idea
Yesss amaking great idea Chip123!!!
Annie194810 months ago
You can also build a circular redwood top, with screw-on handles, to keep the rain out. It doesn't HAVE to be circular, just looks nicer. You can also use the top to help dowse the fire a little, in case some jerk throws in a handful of leaves and makes sparks fly into the trees!
my family made this last summer-ours was a little smaller but we used an old wheel well for our ring-worked great
Great idea . Could you even use the spokes if you rearranged them so they were all level i wonder if that would work...maybe weave/weld a spiral of metal going round...dont know if spokes are safe though- might be galvanised ,could replace them .
Jon_M1 year ago
Instead of a ring to hold the grate couldn't you just use some metal rods going across?
sorebikr4 years ago
WHERE can I find a steel ring and grate similar to this one? I can't seem to find it anywhere online.
Just buy a large grate for a weber charcoal grill or similar. build a small lip into the inside of the pit, to hold up the grate. best luck!
jsage2 years ago
If using a steel ring, those gaps will not be adding any airflow, as the steel ring will then block it. You could prop the ring up a bit and leave gaps in the bottom course.
I have used a store bought fire pit and enclosed it in a ring of stones this works well as when you are done you put the fire out as usual and then remove the bowl and place the ash in a ash can/bucket. I use a storage bucket with multiple holes drilled in the bottom to allow water to drain from it, placed 1 inch above the bottom of the container not through the bottom as it will cause dripping when removing to curb for disposal. An image of a 50 dollar pit is attached.
firepit.jpg
If you added firebrick to the inside, would it last longer?
yes but it would eventually rot w/out being covered. Firebrick doesn't like moisture, unfortunately.
arpruss3 years ago
Can one use ordinary exterior wall bricks? Or will the heat destroy them?
kberry_786 years ago
Great way to reuse paving bricks and old metal drums. Ace project
It's not reused at all, it costed 500 bucks of brand new material XD Real DIY project would be to make your own rocks. That's what I'm gonna do
Perhaps, but he does give me a great idea on how to reuse metal drums.
This is a good idea, but as I've never re purposed a steel drum do they come with a removable steel lid? How do you clean them out?
To clean them out I'd suggest lighting a fire in them ;)
true.
Phoghat servion4 years ago
Yeah but that would take a few million years
servion Phoghat4 years ago
Um I meant with cement or heat proof concrete..
syco123 servion4 years ago
If you're making them be careful they don't explode. Test them in a safe environment (where they can explode safely) up to operating temp. Porous rocks and home made clay bricks are potentially dangerous. Don't use porous rock and learn how to fire clay bricks safely.
theRIAA6 years ago
needs some holes at the bottom for air. cool, but not worth $500, it can be done for much less you could make it with recycled bricks, and an old BBQ rack for free
Looks great. I wouldn't mind spending that money for something that looks great and adds value to a home. Nothing lowers your property value more than a pile of garbage bricks and an old BBQ grill
I'm pretty sure I can think of quite a few things that lower property value more than a pile of garbage bricks and an old BBQ grill. lol Although I agree, it would probably be more enjoyable if it was pretty to look at too.
 it's only "a pile of garbage bricks" if you don't know what you're doing
wocket theRIAA6 years ago
Very true, and it ends up looking really good!
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