Rusty Fire Pit Rebuild Part 1


After 5 years of excessively large fires and outdoor storage, my fire pit has officially rusted through. Check out the pictures of how I rebuilt and upgraded it in my shop.

Rusty Fire Pit Rebuild

After 5 years, the thin steel insert on my store bought fire pit had completely rusted through.

The plate you see at the bottom of the picture is a 10 gauge 1 ft square plate that I added about a year or two ago. Worked fine for a while, but the rest of the structure is no longer capable of supporting it.

To begin with, I had to decide what I wanted to improve with this project. Obviously, I need to repair the rust, but in the end I also want it to be better. So, I went to the whiteboard and wrote down the issues that I wanted to fix:

Rusty Fire Pit Rebuild

Ideas brewing on the whiteboard.

  1. Let Water Drain (to prevent future rust)
  2. More air flow (bigger fire of course….)
  3. Make ash removal easier

So in addition to drawing some pictures, I also drug a bunch of metal out of my reserves to see what I had to work with. I wanted to do this project with as many scraps and leftovers as possible. Gertrude was helping of course.

Rusty Fire Pit Rebuild

Rusty Fire Pit Rebuild

After some measuring and deliberation I settled on 16″ x 16″ x 3/16″ steel for the bottom of the pit.

Rusty Fire Pit Rebuild

I then got the plasma cutter out and started cutting. But of course if you don’t have one a grinder will do the job, it will just take longer.

Rusty Fire Pit Rebuild

Using a guide while plasma cutting helps make straighter lines.

Tip: For straighter cuts while using a plasma cutter or torch, clamp a piece of steel next to your cut so you can run the edge of the torch against it while cutting. This will get you a straighter cut which means less grinding to get to your finished piece.

I also cut four pieces of this fence railing metal that I had left over from many other projects. The square holes are from where the 1/2″ x 1/2″ spindles were before I broke it apart.

Rusty Fire Pit Rebuild

The base plate and four pieces of fence railing assembled and clamped together with my favorite Pony bar clamps.

Rusty Fire Pit Rebuild

You can see here where I also added some thin pieces of aluminum to make the slot for the plate bigger so it is easier to slide.

Rusty Fire Pit Rebuild

Welded the frame together and dropped it inside the fire pit frame. I quickly realized that I was also going to have to modify the frame.

Rusty Fire Pit Rebuild

My sawzall made quick work of the upright posts though. Now the drawer has an area to slide out into. After cutting out the supports, I had to weld the cross rails to the legs to keep them from spinning.

Rusty Fire Pit Rebuild

To connect the sliding ash tray to the fire pit frame, I cut four ~8″ long pieces of square 1/2″ by 1/2″ solid stock then ground them down until they fit well.

Rusty Fire Pit Rebuild

Here is picture of my contraption I built to hold the sliding ash tray level and centered so I could weld it to the fire pit frame.

Rusty Fire Pit Rebuild

Welded a handle on, and got to test it out.

Rusty Fire Pit Rebuild

Rusty Fire Pit Rebuild

My sliding ash tray seems to work pretty well so far. The holes in the frame should allow more airflow to the fire and water drainage when the pit is not in use.

Stay tuned for part 2 where we finish up the pit and try it out!