#1  
Old 04-21-2011, 09:47 AM
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Location: Austin, TX
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Default Firepit?

I wondered if anybody had some experience to share in building up a firepit. It looks like one of the easiest things to do that combine stone and heat in some way, but I am sure there are better ways than others for doing it. I am particularly wanting something where maybe I could sit down and grill too sometimes. In my mind I'm imagining something with a bowl of fire brick would be better than an open cylinder, which appears to be most common.

If climate means anything, I'm in Austin where it rarely freezes, and it's generally not fun to go out during those cold spells since the weather can tend to get violent. So warmth wouldn't be the first thing in mind in throwing this together--I'd do an outdoor fireplace instead.
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Old 04-22-2011, 10:53 AM
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Default Re: Firepit?

Rocko,
Using firebrick has some downside as the brick being porus is subject to water intrusion which causes the brick to spall each cycle. Even rock will eventually have issues with unequal expansion and consequent cracking along mortar joins.

Where I live the usual practice is to use an old steel wheel rim. A large ex-split rim seems to work best. I have also seen where brake drums off of large vehicles have been used with success. One friend used one he got from the maintenance yard for the school buses where he drives. Rims can be had for free from local tire shops. The rims get culled for cracks so a bad rim is not uncommon.

Les Schwab is particularly good at finding a rim at another of their stores if they don't have one themself. It may take a day or two but they are good and the rims are free even if they have to transport from another shop.

A neighbor has a rim on a steel pedestal at a convenient height for a BBQ. My firepit is a large rim set up on a short piece of stainless steel pipe. If one wanted better or a more rustic look then one could surround the rim with brick or rockwork which would keep some of the direct heat off the brick.

They seem to work best if you weld covers or plugs over the lightening holes in the rim and I have found if one supports a disc of steel slightly above the large hole in the center the firepit draws well and is less smokey. Here are a couple of photos of my pit. It has been in the weather and used for over 10 years. I added a couple of rings (links from a lime kiln chain) so that it is easy to lift. Beneath the rim there is a garbage can lid which collects ash which may fall thru the space between the rim and that bottom plate I mentioned. All recycled stuff the only cost being my time and some welding rod.

Hope this helps,
Wiley
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Firepit?-firepit-1.jpg   Firepit?-firepit-2.jpg  
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Old 04-22-2011, 11:47 AM
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We like ours this way

It is full of wood scraps from construction and trees....We have a burn ban, so I have to burn things in the firepit -no restrictions there.
Firepit?-firepit-003.jpg
The trees are leaning a bit today from the 30 mph winds with gusts to 40 or 50 mph.

P.S. Wiley's report of trouble with the moisture and dissimilar rock/brick movement spells cracks.
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Last edited by Lburou; 04-22-2011 at 11:49 AM.
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Old 04-22-2011, 11:56 AM
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Default Re: Firepit?

In Austin, firebrick are fine for a firepit.


(Camp on Hayne Hill, a friends place)

For one at the house, I have just an 8 foot circle of dirt surrounded by concrete pavers flush with the ground. I use that pit primarily for burning leaves, but do use it as a firepit for parties.

No matter how you do it, make sure it drains well.

Last edited by Tscarborough; 04-22-2011 at 12:03 PM.
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Old 04-22-2011, 12:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tscarborough View Post
In Austin, firebrick are fine for a firepit.


(Camp on Hayne Hill, a friends place)

For one at the house, I have just an 8 foot circle of dirt surrounded by concrete pavers flush with the ground. I use that pit primarily for burning leaves, but do use it as a firepit for parties.

No matter how you do it, make sure it drains well.
Nice, high location, are those lightening rods on each side of the fire pit?
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Old 04-22-2011, 02:47 PM
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Default Re: Firepit?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lburou View Post
Nice, high location, are those lightening rods on each side of the fire pit?
Its probably for cooking ya Moose, its big enough..
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Old 04-22-2011, 03:08 PM
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Default Re: Firepit?

You guys have some big firepits! Most of those would take up a nice chunk of my back yard by themselves. Then again I probably don't have the same amount of leaves you folks have, and the city here will pick them up anyways.

I don't see anything in a bowl shape though so that must count for something. What do you do for drainage and cleaning?
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Old 04-22-2011, 07:23 PM
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Default Re: Firepit?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rocko Bonaparte View Post
You guys have some big firepits! Most of those would take up a nice chunk of my back yard by themselves. Then again I probably don't have the same amount of leaves you folks have, and the city here will pick them up anyways.

I don't see anything in a bowl shape though so that must count for something. What do you do for drainage and cleaning?
We put firebrick flat on the ground (sand in this case), allowing natural drainage.
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Old 04-26-2011, 10:21 AM
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Default Re: Firepit?

You might try a local steel scrap yard. I was able to come up with a steel ring about 3 feet in diameter,1/2 inch thick walls and 18 or so inches tall. It was the end of a piece of pipe. It works well.

Derk
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Old 05-09-2011, 07:05 PM
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Default Re: Firepit?

I have made more than a few of these fire rings,
they are pretty neat to sit around on a cool night.



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