Wednesday, June 15, 2011

The Fire Pit Project [Day 1]





After waiting a few weeks for decent weather (spring in New England is notoriously iffy), we finally had a 3-day window of decent weather, that just happened to fall on a holiday weekend. And so, our Memorial Day Weekend was spent toiling away in our backyard.

Day 1 involved quite a bit of manual labor. But in the end, it was completed in less than 10 steps!

Step 1: Mark the circle with spray paint - pshhh easy!
Step 2: Dig a 51" hole 8 inches deep - shoveling grass is much heavier than you think!
Step 3: Level the forms and make sure they're even  - leave this part to those who enjoy the details. It made me totally crazy and brought me back to my fraction mental breakdown in fourth grade.
*36 in concrete forms were made by cutting thin slices of a board found in the pegboard aisle of Home Depot. attached them using screws with another piece of the board as a backer and reinforced with duct tape.
Step 4: Stake the forms - not too bad, just be careful not to shift the forms or else!

Step 5: Create homemade rebar - not so bad once you get started. That wire is wily though. *Good luck finding the correct size of rebar and then bending it. We improvised with several go-arounds of wire. Worked like a charm!

Step 6: Mix concrete and pour into forms - surprisingly easy once you figure out the right consistency. We should have added more water in the first batch, but the subsequent batches came out a-ok!
Step 7: Lay homemade rebar into half of the already poured concrete - easy once it's made.

Step 8: Pour remaining concrete and float to make smooth & even - home stretch!

Step 9: BBQ with friends to celebrate major concrete achievement! - You did it! Now, with a false sense of security you'll wake up sore on Day 2, but ready to face the mortar challenge that lies ahead!


3 comments:

  1. I plan to start this project in the next couple of weeks here in NC. I read the article you reference in your blog and started scouting materials. Couldn't find the round forms at these diameters, couldn't find the fire brick, and couldn't find the rebar rings. Of course, I didn't hit a masonry supply place yet, only Home Depot and Lowes. Glad to read through your shopping list and each of the three days. Between the original article and your personal experiences, I can't help but think this thing has become infinitely more realistic for a novice such as myself. How close did you come to the $250 cost the original article mentioned? Not including the extra bags of mix you bought : )

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  2. Good luck with this project if you do decide to move forward. My husband and I (novices ourselves) felt a huge sense of accomplishment once we completed it. I'd say we were pretty close to the $250 mark, maybe a bit over. In hindsight, we could have shopped around for the bricks - but all of the supplies we purchased at Home Depot were very reasonable. It also would have helped to get things right the first time, 2 years later and we still have bags of cement mix in our garage...

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  3. I wish i had a garden to make this pit in, because it looks amazing! I might just persuade my aunt to let me make it in her garden, lets keep our fingers crossed! i will let you know how it went!

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