Oil Drum Garden Fire Pit With a Skyline..!!




I had an oil drum sitting outside rusting for the last couple of years and i never really new what to do with it.! that was until i had a brainwave and decided i wanted a fire pit for the garden.
I wanted something we could all sit around and keep warm in the summer evenings.!

Step 1: Find Your Oil Drum.

The oil drum i had lying around was a 55 gallon oil drum which was the perfect size for a small little fire in the garden. i wanted to add a twist to the typical fires you see so i decided to add something that would keep myself and any guests entertained.! :)

Step 2: Safety.!

So because you will be using power tools and the likes safety is pretty important here. The sparks, sharp metal and spinning power tools all add to the danger factor but as long as your not careless and know what your doing you should be fine.(emphasis on "know what your doing"!!)

I didn't have a mask for the angle grinder so i just used a balaclava type thing to protect my face, goggles to protect the eyes and gloves (not recomended.!). Its also a good idea to wear long sleeves and trousers to protect from the hot sparks.! gloves are a must because everything either gets hot or sharp so its pretty self explanatory.

Step 3: Decide on the Design.

I had a couple of ideas for the design. I wanted the fire to shine through and show a silhouette or something along the lines. I also wanted the design to be something instantly recognizable so i settled on the silhouette of the new york skyline along with the statue of liberty.! The buildings also helped simplify things as they were mostly straight cuts so it sped things up.!

I went with mountains for the back as it contrasted the urban theme of the city.It also looked pretty cool with the fire behind it.!

Step 4: Drawing on the Skyline.

I divided the picture and the area on the oil drum into a grid and drew it on. I just tried to keep everything parallel and straight. remember to leave a few of the tallest buildings connected to the top to stop it from bending to much and to try and minimise any warping from the heat.
I coloured in the silhoutte so I could see what it would look like and so I could see where I was cutting it.

Step 5: Cutting Out New York.!

I did all the vertical cuts first with the thin blade on the angle grinder. I figured out when I was half way through that I had to leave bits attached so that it wasnt bending when I was cutting it.! so I just left small pieces attached until the very end.
I did the cross cuts with a jig saw. I made a hole big enough for the blade to fit it with a drill and then made loads of cuts. If you move slow enough with the jig saw and with small movements you can work the blade like a file. I used this to tidy up any cuts between the buildings.

I used some iron mesh to act as a holder for the fire wood so it wouldn't sit on the bottom of the barrel when its burning. I would have like at finer mesh but this is all i had lying around.

I just cut it to a size that would sit in the barrel and stay there. I didn't need screws or brackets so it worked out well.

Step 6: The Statue of Liberty.!

I printed off a silhouette of the statue of liberty and resized it until it looked good. After that I just cut it out and used it as a stencil. I used a permanent marker to colour in around the paper and leave the outline of the statue.
I drilled a hole in the centre and used the jigsaw to cut it out. Using the jigsaw as a file here really came in handy as this was more intricate cutting compared to the buildings you have to get the curves and tjings just right.! I used a hacksaw blade to do the spikes around her head because the jigsaw was just bending the metal up and down..and the hacksaw blade was thinner. Then I just used small files to smooth everything out and reshape untill I had it the way I wanted it.!

Step 7: The Mountains

So to contrast the city side I decided on mountains for the opposite side.! I looked at a number of designs and took parts from each and just designed something freehand.
I looked at a few ideas and just combined them and drew the design on freehand.!
you could just print it to size and trace it or use the grid again.!
I used the drill and jigsaw here again.
Using the jigsaw as a file came in handy here to.!
Remember to leave some bits connected to keep it stronger.!
I had to work at this very slowly to stop the jigsaw from bending the metal as I cut it.!

Step 8: Drainage

I drilled holes in the bottom of the oil drum to let the water drain out of the bottom.! doesn't need to be anything fancy just make sure that you drill them at the bottom where the water would lie, all the same you could make a design if you wanted.

Step 9: Placing the Barrell

I decided to go with the easy option.
I dug a rectangle hole in the garden because it was easier and meant the barrel could be placed almost anywhere. It was about 4 inches deep 6 inches across and the lenght of the barrel.
Then i just place the barrel in and positioned it the way its supposed to go.
The hole stops it from rolling and keeps it stable. I f you wanted to you could make a stand for the barrel and keep it off the ground.

Step 10: Sit Back and Enjoy the View.!

The outlines came out perfect.!
The mountain side looked like it was molten lava.!
It also served its purpose there was a serious amount of heat released.!
we left the mountain side facing the wind so it acted as cover for the fire because there was less taken away.!

Just as a word of caution the barrel gets hot so don't touch it.! also its hot enough to burn the grass around it so take precautionary measures so you don't have a fire. If its dry put some gravel around the pit or build a stand instead of my method..whatever you do don't cause an unwanted fire..that's not good.

I also appreciate a vote in the competitions.:)



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    17 Discussions


    3 years ago

    Thats great work, really well done limer_10 :). I was thinking of making something like for a friends birthday. I am just wondering how long something would last before burning out?



    4 years ago on Step 10

    I live in NJ and work in NY, I love this, not in a macabre sort of way. I have to ask though, I'm a woman and wonder how much brute strength it took to cut into the metal.


    4 years ago on Step 10

    Don't let the NSA see this - setting the New York skyline on fire is not a good idea these days... ;-))

    Great job, looks awsome!

    1 reply

    4 years ago on Step 7

    fantastic idea! Just got a drum after seeing this to have a play with. Many thanks!

    1 reply

    4 years ago

    Wow.... what an awesome use of a burn barrel. Looks great and you did a fabulous job.

    1 reply