Making a Fire Pit Mobile

What You'll Need
Framing square
Metal cutting jigsaw blades
Carpenter's pencil
Coarse-grit sandpaper
Pad sander (optional)
Power drill with assorted metal bits
35-gallon metal barrel
Small metal handle
Twometal hinges
Metal door clip
Fourall-metal lockable casters
Metal screen (2 feetby 2 feet)

Due to space considerations, this article will assume that all cuts for our fire pit are sanded carefully to a smooth, rounded finish. It will not address optional features such as an ash tray or more than a crude spark screen. This article will walk you through a simple portable fire pit construction, which you can modify as needed.

Step 1 - Cut the Barrel

For our fire pit, we are going to use an ordinary metal 35-gallon barrel. If you cannot remove the top, use the jigsaw to cut it off. Mark out a line that goes all the way around the barrel in the same location. Use the drill to start pilot holes for the jigsaw to begin cutting.

Step 2 - Measure the Door Position

Using the framing square, measure out a suitable door for loading the fire pit an inch or two above the bottom of the barrel. Usually, this door is about 12 inches square.

After you mark the door position, take one hinge and hold it so that it straddles the line 2 inches inside the corner. Mark the location of all screw holes on both sides of the hinge. Hold the hinge in the same position at the other end of the same line and mark the screw holes again.

Step 3 - Install the Door

Drill a starter hole at one of the two bottom corners, then use the jigsaw to cut across the bottom line of the door. Use self-tapping metal screws to attach both hinges. Cut across the top of the opening. Place the handle on the top of the door. Center it approximately 1 inch down from the top edge of the door. Mount the door in the same fashion as the hinges.

With the jigsaw, make the two side cuts. You may hold the door steady with the newly installed handle. It will probably jump around quite a bit as you make the final cuts. Install the door clip so you can fasten shut the door.

Step 4 - Mount the Casters

Turn the barrel upside down. Use the framing square to lay out the largest square that will fit inside the bottom rim of the barrel. Each corner of this square will be where you attach one caster with heavy-duty metal screws.

While you have the barrel upside down, drill about a half dozen 3/8-inch holes at random places on the bottom of the barrel. Lock the casters and turn the barrel upright again.

Step 5 - Create a Spark Screen

Mark the wire mesh by placing it on top of the barrel and tracing a line around the inner edge of the barrel. Using the jigsaw, cut out the spark screen. Create pegs to hold the spark screen by screwing in 1 1/2-inch self-tapping screws just above the top ring of the barrel. When these screws are in place, the spark screen should sit level on top of them, with only a small amount of clearance all the way around.