Building a Ceramic Portable Fire Pit
Building a ceramic portable fire pit gives you the freedom to take it to the beach or park, and its design is relatively simple. Most are fashioned from a fire bowl attached to 3 metal legs. You have the option of adding cooking grates or other attachments as well.
Step 1: Decide the Type of Stand
You have the option of using a wrought-iron plant stand as the base for your ceramic fire pit, or you can fashion your own by attaching the legs directly to the bowl. Factors to consider are how large you want your portable fire pit and therefore how portable it will be. Plant stands come in various sizes to choose from, and you can also have the metal rods cut to a specific size if you would rather use this option.
Step 2: Select Your Ceramic Bowl
This fire pit bowl should be at least 16 to 18 inches or more in diameter, while still taking portability into account. Look for one at a fireplace or outdoor fire pit supply store. It is not recommended to make your own from scratch unless you are an experienced ceramic wheel-thrower and understand the need for a specific cone (related to firing) temperature of the clay.
If you know of a local clay studio that sells ceramic bowls, look here for possible fire pit bowls as well. Tell one of the ceramists about your fire pit project and what you are looking for, and he or she should be able to offer suggestions and possible types of ceramic bowls that will work as fire bowls.
Step 3: Attach Legs or Stand
If you are using a plant stand for your fire bowl and want to be able to break down the pieces for easy transport, it is not necessary to glue them together. You should, however, make sure the fire bowl fits securely in the top ring of the plant stand and will not accidentally tip in any direction.
If you are fastening metal rods to the bottom of the ceramic fire bowl, turn the bowl upside down and space the ends of the rods evenly apart in a triangle shape, so that the fire pit will rest evenly on the ground. It may be helpful to mark exactly where to glue them with a small piece of chalk--use white chalk on a darker colored bowl and colored chalk on a white or light colored bowl. Use polyurethane adhesive that cures quickly so that you do not have to spend any significant time holding the rods straight up and down while the adhesive dries.
Step 4: Set up Fuel
Once the glue is completely dry on the metal legs, turn your new portable fire pit right side up. If you are using a plant stand, skip this step. Fill the fire bowl with charcoal or wood piece, depending on your preference. If you plan to use your fire pit for cooking, charcoal is the better choice. Fit the cooking grate over the top of the bowl.