Fire Pit : Redux

June 10th, 2010

The old cinder block fire pit did not work. Whoops! (That’s why I never posted a true DIY). Good thing it was dirt cheap to build.

When we visited T.K. and Jill’s house in Joshua Tree, T.K. gave us a little introduction tutorial class in welding. Now we are putting that new skill to use to rebuild our crappy fire pit. We will build it better, stronger, more metal-y than before.

We bought four 40″ x 20″ sheets of 12 gauge hot rolled steel from Riverside Industrial Metal Supply.

Our new fancy magnets were very useful for holding together the two pieces of steel in order to get them tack welded at a 90 degree angle. Best tool ever.

The first half got spotted in place and it started to look like something…

The metal fire pit will be sunk into the ground with eight cold rolled steel rod supports to hold it square and add strength.

It’s a big metal square!

We added foot long cold rolled steel rods to the corners and in the middle of each panel. They aren’t pretty but they are getting installed underground – so they don’t really need to be.

Installing the larger metal pit where the old cinder block fire pit died it’s horrible death was kind of a pain. Everything got ripped out and a larger, deeper hole had to be dug out. A sledge hammer and plank of wood helped sink it level into the soft soil. In the end we left about 14″ of steel above ground.

BAM! DONE. Indestructible fire pit. I want it to rust up a bit to match the sketch up version:

I think for our first welding project that it turned out really great! It was about $100 for all the material and took us three or so days to put it together with a bit of a learning curve. The Boy ended up doing most of it after falling deeply in love with welding and telling me my welds suck. Good thing, because we have a lot more metal to slap on this house and I’m going to put him to work.

Ready to go for fire! Much, much better.

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  1. Jason on 06/10/2010:

    This is deeply impressive. So great, looks amazing. Don’t put your feet up on that while it’s hot! You’ll sear your feet off.

  2. Jane @ The Borrowed Abode on 06/10/2010:

    Fantastic! It looks like it will hold a much more significant and fun fire than the small cinderblock one. 🙂

  3. my little apartment on 06/10/2010:

    omg, that black steel is soooooo sexxxxxy. the rusted look is not a personal fave, but I get it. still, I am so loving the sleek black-ness. yum.

  4. KeLLy Ann on 06/10/2010:

    Oh, that magnetic thingy is the BomB! Its on my Santa Claus list…..
    Yard is looking good.

  5. S@sha on 06/10/2010:

    Yeah, now I’m really impressed. Way to get what you want!

  6. Stephanie on 06/10/2010:


  7. Fat Cat on 06/10/2010:

    Hooorraaay, more shots of the boy bending over ! No wait, that wasn’t the topic of this post, was it ?

  8. 13bees on 06/10/2010:

    wow – you take DIY to a whole new level. it looks amazing.

  9. HousePet on 06/10/2010:

    it’s perfect!

  10. tx Sarah on 06/10/2010:

    Love the anonymity of the Boy.

  11. ModFruGal on 06/10/2010:

    HELL YES! Did you buy a mig welder? I assume the $100 materials only and not tools? We must discuss more. LOVE it and I know how exciting this milestone is….the edging..planter beds…ooooooh….

  12. April on 06/10/2010:

    It looks great!! Nice work!

  13. Lisa on 06/10/2010:

    RIP cinder block fire pit … you had a good run.

    Time to break out the smores!

  14. Craig on 06/10/2010:

    I am SO peanut butter and jealous.

  15. Ashley on 06/10/2010:

    wow – you guys are unstoppable.

  16. Jill on 06/10/2010:

    NOW THAT is serious crafting. Not a diy for pussies. That’s why i love you. It looks awesome!

  17. Suzy8track on 06/10/2010:

    That is impressive! Looks fab!

  18. Tyler (plastolux) on 06/10/2010:

    Love it! So where does one procure a welder?

  19. Karrey on 06/10/2010:

    Holy shit, that looks dynamite!

  20. Mike Wibbs on 06/10/2010:

    Beauty, what an upgrade!

  21. erin@designcrisis on 06/10/2010:

    Great job on the straight angles. All my welded boxes turned out unfortunately trapezoidal. That boy of yours is a keeper!

  22. Coletta on 06/10/2010:

    how do you clean it out once it is full of ashes?
    yard vac? big scooper?

  23. Holly on 06/10/2010:

    As always you are my hero!

  24. THE BRICK HOUSE on 06/10/2010:

    We borrowed the welder and equipment. So thats been great, but we saw the same one at the hardware store for like $100. It’s a little cheap-o unit.

    For ashes we just use a shovel and a wheelbarrow, but we never really did that with the last one. We just left them.

  25. pianoarthur on 06/10/2010:

    Ditto to what everyone else has commented, but in bold!

  26. JJ on 06/10/2010:

    Congrats! The new pit kicks ass!

  27. Bethann on 06/10/2010:

    That’s really awesome. You did such a nice job. Gotta love sitting around a nice fire.

  28. Elise on 06/10/2010:

    Love it!!! I have a fire pit, too but it is pretty hideous! You gave me some great ideas. My handy man will be welding soon!

  29. Callie on 06/10/2010:

    Question. Doesn’t the metal conduct a boatload of heat? As craptacular as the cinder block one was, I would guess that the concrete would absorb more heat than this bad boy — and by bad boy, I mean super sleek and sexy and all around awesome!! I err on the side of being nervous around fire in general, but I’d be a little scared that I’d burn myself on it.

  30. THE BRICK HOUSE on 06/10/2010:

    The cement got hella hot. Just like any firepit, you probably don’t want to get real close or touch the pit.

  31. Adriane on 06/10/2010:

    This is so insanely awesome. We want to craft a firepit in our backyard, and I found an awesome DIY one in the new issue of ReadyMade, but it’s nowhere near as good as this. And it’s more of a “barbeque” pit. And it involves a lot of rocks. This one is just perfect.

  32. Anna @ D16 on 06/11/2010:

    You guys!!! Gawd. I am such a slacker. I know I say that in, like, every post, but damn…

  33. lojo on 06/11/2010:

    that is a fantastic fire pit. I took a welding course a few years back- it’s addicting!

  34. megan on 06/11/2010:

    hahahahaa…. butt shot.
    thanks for the laugh.

    super amazing fire pit. jeals.

  35. amy t on 06/11/2010:

    i love that you are using steel – looks great! just curious, why did the cinder block model fail anyway?

  36. theresa on 06/11/2010:

    so so cool. i think i need to learn how to weld now! i wanted raised beds made with steel just like this! so cool.

  37. THE BRICK HOUSE on 06/11/2010:

    the cinder block didn’t work because the mortar cracked and broke with the heat. It just fell apart.

    We asked a couple guys about the high heat and mortar and they all said it was fine. It was not fine.

  38. heather on 06/11/2010:

    wow. you should make and sell these. i’m going to nag my father until he shows me how to weld.
    so, have you thought of creating your own pool with this newfound skill?

  39. christine on 06/12/2010:

    I love it! My husband recently got a welder now he’s a welding fool. One of his first projects was our very contemporary chicken coop. And yes, those fire pits get hot. We’ve got an old washing machine tub fire pit and it got so hot we set the grass on fire in our yard.

  40. kristina on 06/12/2010:

    fuck me running. that is awesome, you are awesome.

  41. MJA on 06/13/2010:

    looks great. one suggestion would be to make sure you scrub off all the hand and fingerprints before you let it start rusting. otherwise you’ll have permanent rusted fingerprints that are a bitch to sand off.

  42. Juli on 06/19/2010:

    Way to class up the fire pit!

  43. Victoria on 07/28/2010:

    Where did you purchase black chairs next to fire pit?

  44. jamie on 08/08/2010:

    morgan does this shit get hot as fuck? like do small children need (theoretically) to be highly guarded around it?

  45. Urban Gardens on 11/20/2010:

    Amazing! This fire pit would work well in almost any environment. Love your blog.

  46. Kate on 01/14/2011:

    New to your blog, but love it all. Especially love this! Amazing.

  47. Tarica on 03/03/2011:

    Um, you’re my hero. No really, you’re totally my hero.

  48. justin on 03/11/2011:

    Morga, I was just wondering what voltage welder did you use for this project?

  49. justin on 03/12/2011:

    Sorry Morgan, I misspelled your name and I meant amp not voltage. Too much cough med will do that.

  50. Megan on 04/16/2011:

    This is a great design!! Nice job! Live the sketch up drawing too! Glad I’m not the only one who draws my own house using CAD or sketch up!!!! 😉

  51. abi on 05/12/2011:

    you know, your fence could do with a paint job to bring this whole yard together. A strong dark or olive….although i like the weathering fence + i like the symmetry thing with the stones, chairs + pit, somehow they’re not being popped enough by each other. what do i know. i’m the one reading YOUR blog for cryin out loud.

  52. Charlie on 06/07/2011:

    Having done both, I can testify that falling on hot metal leaves much more permanent markings than falling on hot stone.

    Mortar that will stand up to fire is special stuff, you can’t use the same mortar between the firebricks of a fireplace that you use on the outside common bricks.

    Children do better around fire pits that do not have any sharply angled corners. My sisters both have scars on their heads from falling against my parent’s brick hearth as toddlers.

    As long as there are no kids, sloppy drunks, or extreme klutzes around, the metal pit will transfer more heat to people around it so it’s better. It will rust away faster than you might think, though; fire always speeds up oxidation of steel. It will look pretty cool in the last stages of rusting away.

  53. Grumble Girl on 06/28/2011:

    That’s the raddest thing I’ve seen in a while, lady. And? I’m completely jealous. Good work – enjoy it!!

  54. Kory on 07/30/2011:

    Great common sense here. Wish I’d thhogut of that.

  55. Leo on 08/05/2012:

    @VICTORIA- Those are black IKEA PS VÅGÖ Easy chairs. They also come in pink, white, and yellow.

    At $29.99, they’re a steal. They also USED to make a matching footstool, but I think they were discontinued.

  56. Daniel on 03/06/2013:

    Love the new fire pit… I’m planning to built a stone fire pit next summer… Can you tell me what went wrong with tour cinder block fire pit ?? Was it a heat problem ? Or a structural problem ??
    Thanks !!

  57. Jennifer on 08/02/2013:

    Love it! I had a display case built for my jewelry (if only I knew how to weld like you!), and I also wanted it to rust, so I wiped it down with nail polish remover (it seems to get the protective oils off), and then sprayed/wiped it with water or a wet towel. It didn’t happen instantly, but it did happen…so you may want to give it a try!

    I actually came here for the shelf project with plumbing fittings and wood planks…looking forward to checking that one out!

  58. Jerome Santucci on 03/23/2014:

    I’m wondering if perforating the steel near the base might give better air flow. Of course, the pit looks huge, so airflow might not be a big problem.

  59. Rose on 04/02/2014:

    You could use alternating footers red and gray to increase your area and provide a checker board pattern or other pattern ideas may emerge.

  60. brandie on 05/19/2014:

    The welds kinda look not so great. better idea would of been to do a corner weld and grind it down so it looks like it was not welded.

  61. Marina on 06/05/2014:

    Why did you choose hot rolled steel?

  62. Queenie on 12/08/2014:

    I’m curious to know why the cinderblock firepit didn’t work

  63. Jenn on 12/15/2014:

    This is a fabulous idea for adult only! We used to have something like this and learned the hard way. Our son tripped and his hand fell on the metal. Result was second degree burns!! Be careful- it gets extremely hot!!! Great look and easy DIY though.

  64. Melody on 02/13/2015:

    Perfect for what I was looking for. I’ve got lots to do this summer. I can’t wait. Thank you for posting your wok. Beautiful job!!!!!!!!!!

  65. Melody on 02/13/2015:

    work not wok! O_O Loling!

  66. Sara McCracken on 05/07/2016:

    Did you drill any holes for air circulation? when my current ancient copper fire pit hits the dust I plan on making a new one from steel too. luckily I have all the welding stuff already!. do you wish you had used a thicker steel… 12 gauge will surely warp a lot with intense heat…I would love feedback on this if you can. thanks!

  67. Jose R on 09/13/2016:

    Question: The dimensions were 40×20. What was the height of the steel? Also is that a Harbor Freight welder?

    All in all looks really great.

  68. Whitney Barker on 04/24/2017:

    Absolutely fabulous. I’m loving the minimal look of all your projects.

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