Help - Fire Pit Question


Old 10-29-14, 01:38 PM
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Help - Fire Pit Question

I've been given an old John Deere 40" combine wheel from my cousin in MS. I'm in the process of building a 14' circular flagstone patio, with the wheel/firepit in the middle.
My question is this: I want to wrap the wheel in stacked stone. The way the wheel sits on the ground, it's a bit concave from the bottom to the top of the wheel. If you can imagine a wheel without a tire on, it's not perfectly straight up and down, it's concave for the tube to sit in. My thought was to simply start stacking the stones, with the thought of having to "backfill" some of the concrete in the middle of the wheel, so the stones with be perfectly straight. Problem is, I think that wheel will get too hot, and the mortar will crack. Am I right here??
I'm new to masonry work, and need help please.
My other thought was to start with firebrick on the outside of the wheel, then start stacking my rock on against the firebrick, instead of the wheel. I would rather not use firebrick, because that's just adding another step, and why use the wheel at all if I have to use brick.
Hope I'm making sense here, hard to explain since I'm such a novice. Any help will be more than appreciated!!
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Old 10-29-14, 01:52 PM
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The problem with stacked stone (manufactured or real) is that any air pockets in the stone can super heat and burst. So keep that in mind. I would also use the firebrick and a refractory mortar that is used in the building of chimneys. It will assist in insulating from the heat. Brick supply houses should be able to get you some. What I don't know is how well all this will hold up to the heat (steel to mortar bond). May want to test out your pit before you install as there may need to be some source of fresh air that would be needed to keep the fire burning nicely. Every fire pit I have had, I used stacked bricks with space for air infiltration to keep the embers fueled with fresh air.
Old 10-30-14, 06:20 AM
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I would build it with the idea that your stone work is a free standing circle with the rim as a steel insert. I would not try to mortar your stones to the steel or fill the void. In fact leaving a gap between the masonry and steel would be a good idea.

How much money and effort do you want to put into this project and how permanent do you want it to be? Following the proper methods with fire brick would last the longest but you are correct. At that point do you really need the steel wheel? If you want something quick & dirty you could just set the steel on top of some fire bricks and light the fire. Somewhere in between might be doing a pretty stone ring and leave an air gap between the steel and stones which should work for fires of short duration. If you are planning bonfires that will burn for hours then heat will be more a problem and will require more proper construction if you want it to last.
Old 11-22-14, 06:00 PM
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Cant help ya with you original question but I did just do the same with a tractor trailer wheel. Didn't do a stone finish but instead went to Lowes and bought some 2000 degree temp spray paint and primer and finished the wheel that way, after grinding all the old paint off. But here to tell you that you should cut at least 4 to 6 ovals near the bottom of the wheel to get a good flow of oxygen to help the fire breathe. My holes I cut about 2''x4''. Used a cutting torch

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