Fire Pits - I'd like to build one that can burn wood or Gas

Nightmare

LifeTime Supporter
Jan 21, 2011
352
Riverside, CA
We have a 4' Interior Diameter firepit to build. I'd like the ability to burn either wood or gas. We have the gas line run to the pit. I've been searching on the Internet and I can't find plans or a kit that I like.

My vision is a stacked stone firepit about 18" high with a seat wall type cap. We will probably use something like the Belgard Celtik stones.

Here are a couple photos I pulled off the net:

#1 - I like the look of this one, but not flush with the ground
#2 - The BBQ insert on this one looks interesting. I wonder if the whole metal insert can be easily removed and replaced
#3 - It looks like you can almost pull out the gas burner. But I don't know how you would seal it and protect the gas line
 

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G

Guest

Re: Fire Pits - I'd like to build one that can burn wood or

The problem with wood in our area is sparks. Legally, you need to have a spark arrester on these if burning wood. The nice thing about gas is that there is no smoke or sparks, and you do not have to tend them all the time like wood. They don't smell as nice, but they allow you to sit and relax and enjoy your guests without the interaction a wood burning one requires.

I picked up a wood burning one at Lowes and converted it to gas (you also have to use Natural gas, as propane "puddles" and can explode!). I'll try and post a pic later, if it helps. It's not really the design it sounds like you are looking for, but it might give you some ideas!
 

Nightmare

LifeTime Supporter
Jan 21, 2011
352
Riverside, CA
Re: Fire Pits - I'd like to build one that can burn wood or

Yea, post a photo of what you find.

I've been searching on the internet without much luck. I did find this cool pit:

http://www.dancingfire.com/firepit_tank

My thought right now is to build a pit out of these blocks:

http://www.allanblock.com/Literature/PD ... re_Pit.pdf

I'll get it all setup and working as a gas pit, then see if we can fabricate a steel insert to allow wood burning (or maybe a free standing portable pit like the one in the top left photo).
 
G

Guest

Re: Fire Pits - I'd like to build one that can burn wood or

Kinda crappy iPhone pics (and dirty from the rains :oops: ), but here's a couple pics of mine. IIRC, the firepit itself was under $100.00. The glass, on the other hand, was about $300.00 :shock:

Hope it helps!
 

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Guest

Re: Fire Pits - I'd like to build one that can burn wood or

Here's a night shot.
 

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Nightmare

LifeTime Supporter
Jan 21, 2011
352
Riverside, CA
Re: Fire Pits - I'd like to build one that can burn wood or

I'll bump this back up to the top.

We got this far and now I don't know what to do. I think it will be a little too high once we install the cap. It won't be too difficult to tear out one run of blocks. The interior is 48" and the blocks are about 9" wide. I think I'm going to pour a cap in place just like the pool coping (styrofoam forms). I still don't have a solution on the Gas + Wood thing.
 

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carlscan26

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Dec 22, 2010
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San Diego, CA
Re: Fire Pits - I'd like to build one that can burn wood or

How tall is it now? I don't think it would be too high if you keep your cap reasonable 2-3" thick maybe?
 

carlscan26

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Dec 22, 2010
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Re: Fire Pits - I'd like to build one that can burn wood or

What are you planning on filling it with? Loose rock to a point and then Lava rock or glass?
 

Nightmare

LifeTime Supporter
Jan 21, 2011
352
Riverside, CA
Re: Fire Pits - I'd like to build one that can burn wood or

I think it is about 20", I don't have an exact measurement. The plastic adirondack chairs in the photo are a little low to the ground. But with a row of pavers on top of the wall it is a little uncomfortable to kick up your feet. I plan to get some nice wood chairs at some point, but that project is about 8th ot 9th on the list at this point.

The initial plan is to fill most of the bottom with pea gravel, enough to bring it within a couple inches of the burner. Put a couple inches of sand under the burner and another inch or two on top of the burner. The probably finish it off with large chucks of lava rock.
 

carlscan26

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Re: Fire Pits - I'd like to build one that can burn wood or

Yeah it's hard to tell from the pics. And it's also personal preference of course.

Where are you putting the gas valve? Access panel on the side, or a recess/indent space at the top?
 

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Nightmare

LifeTime Supporter
Jan 21, 2011
352
Riverside, CA
Re: Fire Pits - I'd like to build one that can burn wood or

The gas is already there, you can see the keys hanging from the gas line (valve is on the back side of the pit). I can put the burner at any depth I want (because I'm probably going to need to move it). If I leave everything as it sits and just add the cap it will be about 8-10 inches below the top.
 

carlscan26

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Dec 22, 2010
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Re: Fire Pits - I'd like to build one that can burn wood or

Ahh I thought it was just stubbed out without a valve yet. So it looks like the gas line runs up those channels. Those blocks make that easy :-D Did you put the valve at the elbow or lower down? Will you use flex line for the rest or hard plumb to the final elevation if you change it? So many variables to consider.
 

hermosaboy

New member
May 3, 2013
2
Re: Fire Pits - I'd like to build one that can burn wood or

Sorry to bump this from a couple of years ago -- just wondering if you ever got to your solution on this? I am looking to do something similar...
 

Melt In The Sun

TFP Expert
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Oct 29, 2009
3,899
Tucson, AZ
Re: Fire Pits - I'd like to build one that can burn wood or

I'm interested too...I remember this thread and thinking it was impossible to do both well. My gut feeling is still "no way", but plenty of people are smarter than I.
 

pragmatic

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Jul 7, 2011
521
Friendswood, TX
Re: Fire Pits - I'd like to build one that can burn wood or

Maybe I'm missing something here, but it seems you could use a set of ceramic type indoor fireplace logs (easily piped in) when you wanted NG fires. Take them out, cap the end when you want a wood fire. You mention "protecting the gas-line". As long as the gas line is valved off on the outside of the pit you will be fine; not any different from a residential indoor wood-burning fireplace with a NG vented bar for starting a wood fire.
 

Melt In The Sun

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Oct 29, 2009
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Tucson, AZ
Re: Fire Pits - I'd like to build one that can burn wood or

Yeah, having a gas starter is one thing, but a NG ring like shown above will clog easily with ash and generally be a huge pain. It also will rust out quickly with all the heat from a wood fire + the alkaline ash, especially if that ash gets wet (same as rusting out a charcoal grill).
 

pragmatic

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Jul 7, 2011
521
Friendswood, TX
Re: Fire Pits - I'd like to build one that can burn wood or

Melt In The Sun said:
Yeah, having a gas starter is one thing, but a NG ring like shown above will clog easily with ash and generally be a huge pain. It also will rust out quickly with all the heat from a wood fire + the alkaline ash, especially if that ash gets wet (same as rusting out a charcoal grill).
Yep, I agree. Any simple-solution will require removing the NG burner before wood burning~not to mention a bit of cleaning.
 

hermosaboy

New member
May 3, 2013
2
Re: Fire Pits - I'd like to build one that can burn wood or

Melt In The Sun said:
Yeah, having a gas starter is one thing, but a NG ring like shown above will clog easily with ash and generally be a huge pain. It also will rust out quickly with all the heat from a wood fire + the alkaline ash, especially if that ash gets wet (same as rusting out a charcoal grill).

So, thoughts on how to set-up the gas starter?

There are lots of nice fire bowls, etc. - adding the gas starter to that is the trick...
 

gtojohn

Well-known member
Apr 8, 2011
79
Re: Fire Pits - I'd like to build one that can burn wood or

On my recent fireplace build I brought a 1/2" steel tee just above the firebrick, with a 3" nipple and cap on each end. drilled 4x 3/32" holes total. I drilled the holes facing horizontal to project the flame towards the front of the fireplace. I have a log stand to keep the wood fire away and above the gas log. Turned up it makes a great wall of flame, turned low its easy to start a fire. Mines natural gas, propane jet orifices should be much smaller. For a firepit I'd try to seperate your burner from your wood fire with a you could replace when it burns out.
 

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