Stone Soup for Five: July 2010

DIY simple brick firepit, in about an hour!

We built our very first firepit yesterday, with about $50 in supplies and about an hour of labor (not including the trip to Lowes)!

Here's how it went down:

1. Convince Mr. Measure that we MUST have a firepit by tonight, and bribe him with a trip to Dutch Brothers (right by Lowes).
2. Mow the lawn in 90+ degree heat
3. Convince Mr. Measure to prune back overhanging and low branches in 90+ degree heat
4. Start building!

First we laid the bricks on the ground to form the ring and be sure it's where we wanted it.

Next we started digging out around the outside and inside of the bricks, and the sod peeled right up.

Then we laid down a thin layer of pea gravel, for drainage and because I'm all about doing it the RIGHT way FIRST. (rolls eyes)

Then we placed the bricks back on the gravel and Mr. Measure got to smack the bricks with his mallet and get out the level.

 'tis exceedingly level.

and if you don't have the proper tools AT ALL, don't put off the project until you have them, whack it with a hammer! (please note: This is NOT the way Mr. Measure does things, this was purely the result of me encouraging (not nagging, thank you) him to get it done TONIGHT.  He would have NEVER done it this way if he didn't have a very impatient and rush-it-together kind of wife!)

Putting on the final top row of bricks.  And using the level again.

Then pour another bag of pea gravel in the bottom, good and thick.

And enjoy the fire!

Cost breakdown:

Bricks: .98 each, we used 43 for this pit.  $42.14
Pea gravel: 3.33 a bag, we used 2.   $6.66
Masonry Adhesive tube: (we didn't use yet, but will for gluing the top row together: $2.75 a tube
Total cost: $51.55

A year later, lasting through the long, wet and cold winter, the firepit still looks and works as good as the day we made it.  No problems with loose or falling bricks, and that is even after our boys used it all fall as a base for their plywood bike jump.  Love it!

********************UPDATE #2**********************
Two years later this continues to be one of the BEST yard investments we've ever made.  There is just something wonderful about sitting around a crackling fire with good friends.  It is still as sturdy and level as it was the day we built it.  Love it!

***************************UPDATE #3************************
Four years later, and we still use this every summer. It still looks the same, but with more ash.  The inside of the bricks show a little blackness from smoke, but the outside is just as sturdy and pretty as the day we made it.  We are still planning summer activities around the firepit!

Removing the 1970's entrance!

So our home has the true mark of a 1970's house.  Spindles by the entrance. 
(This pic was taken after we took a sledgehammer to the first spindle and whacked it as hard as we could till it was FORCED out! Mr. Measure wasn't liking my sledge hammer idea, but complied reluctantly and whacked away!)

Results of the sledgehammer work revealed that everything was screwed and nailed in good.

After we whacked it out, we thought, hey what if we removed the molding around the bottom and see what's under there?  (This is my usual way of doing things... whacking or hammering, THEN thinking.  It was a whole new way to do things for Mr. Measure. LOL)

 Ahhh... shims are holding it up.  What if we knocked those shims out and then hammered the bottom board DOWN to pop the nails up and then pull them out?  It worked.  The nails popped up and Mr. Measure pulled them out.

 Woody and Tank came to help.

Removing the nails from the bottom board.

Making sure the top is nice and loose.
Yup, it's loose.  The whole thing was assembled as a unit and then put into place, so it's SOLIDLY together.

And it's OUT!!! WHOOO HOOOO!

And this is the base.  It has an electric outlet in it on the other side, so we didn't want to mess with removing it, so instead Mr. Measure will make me a built in bookcase that is only this high.  I'm gonna LOVE it!

Wow, it already feels better!! Now to get some lunch and then head to Home Depot!