Been watching a lot of wood working projects on YouTube and wanted to try something out. So after deliberating on a few ideas decided to build a fire-pit for my deck using wooden pallets. Search for wooden pallets was resolved easily and fairly quickly as I could pick three of them from my workplace itself.
Washed them down to remove any loose debris, small bugs etc and now was ready to embark on the laborious step of dismantling the planks. There are some power tools available to do this fairly quickly, some manual tools specifically made for this purpose and then there is the poor man’s tool a hammer and a prying bar. No prizes for guessing what I used!
Now I did not have a prying bar, so I used the tool that comes in the car, used for removing lug nuts of a tire. I think its called crowbar, the flat end of that tool did the trick for me. Wasn’t easy but it did work for me in the end. Was able to take almost all the nails out without breaking the wood. I am sure my neighbors hate me now with all the hammering they had to put up with.
Above picture shows all the wood I could get from the three pallets. I used the black paint to paint over the hammering marks on the crowbar so it looks just like new now (was from my wife’s car). I decided to use the stockier wood (3 1/2″ x 1 1/2″) for the legs. Off the pallet they were around 20″ in length, but I had to cut them down to 16″ in order to maintain flat or square edges/surface as possible.
Drilled pocket holes using my kreg jig, joined two pieces together and created the legs as shown above.
Measured and cut the planks and then screwed them on to the legs and my base frame was ready. The remaining pieces were not going to be enough for the completion of this project so I started scouting for more wooden pallets. Found the following for free via craigslist at a nearby commercial place.
So I had to disassemble these too and go through the same laborious process. I disassembled just one of them and maybe a couple of planks from the other one and based on my measurements that’s all I was going to need.
In the meantime I built the above box with the left-over stocky wood. This wold hold the fuel or the burner. I bought a couple of the food heaters/warmers from a dollar store. The gel fuel in these produces a lot of heat, no flame and for this project flame is the key, so I used these primarily for the canister. I made a hole in the base of the box and I decide to use a small clay pot which will act as an added protection from the heat/fire. I could have made this box from quick-set concrete also and I will give that a shot but some other day.
Above picture shows the fuel container seated inside the clay pot inside the wooden box.
Put masking tape and painted the inside edge of the base frame with a couple of coats of white primer and then applied a couple of coats of florescent green that I had used for the Maui hook project.
The height of the base frame seemed too short so I added another 4″ as shown above. Again attached everything using pocket holes/screws.
Now I was ready to make the top of the table. Lined up the planks cut them to 37″ length and then glued them together. Used some saw dust to fill the gaps. I should have run these planks through a planner first but I didn’t do it.
Made some good use of the garden soil bag, temper and the metal footrest of my exercise machine.
Cut a hole in the center, 7″ diameter and then screwed in the fuel box at the back. I cut a slit on the 2 opposites edges of the fuel box to slide the wire mesh as shown above. Also attached two more planks towards the edge of the table-top to hold the top securely together. The wire mesh is Lock-On Gutter guard that I found at home depot.
Attached the base frame to the table top. Even here on the 2 opposite sides of the base frame chiseled slots for the wire frame to slide through.
Then started fixing planks to the inner part of the base frame and completed a full circle.
Applied masking tape and painted the edges of the table-top and also the pit in the center. Used the same primer and fluorescent green that I had used before on the legs. Then I purchased a product which protects wood from fire called as “No-Burn Original Fire Retardant” and sprayed that generously all over the project. It also gives the wood a sheen, so looks good overall.
Now for the main attraction fire-pit the sliding wire mesh wasn’t working out, as I didn’t build any guides for it to smoothly go back and forth, so had to move on to plan B. So I cut a little bit around the hole to recess fit the wire mesh in there. A router would have been a great tool to have here, but I just used the dremel and the attachments I had handy.
Filled the clay pot with some stones and then dirt and placed the fuel canister it in. Inserted the clay pot from the top into the base fuel holder and then covered it up with the wire mesh and some decorative stones which I purchased from Michaels.
Emptied the gel from the fuel canister and filled it with tikki fuel which I got from home depot. I purchased some wick from amazon. Cut another smaller wire mesh and passed the wick through it. Held the wire mesh down using some strong duct tape. Let the wick soak the fuel for a few minutes and then laid the top mesh cover back on, covered it with the decorative stones and lit the wick.
Voila! Fire-pit project completed.