Monday, June 24, 2013

DIY: How to Make a Backyard Firepit Out of a Salvaged Dryer Drum

My husband and I are fire fans. Fans of fire. Bonfires in particular.

We live on a military base and have a very small fenced in back yard, but we didn't want to have to experience summer here without being able to enjoy evenings outside by a blazing fire. We had been looking for months hoping to find a nice looking, good quality and reasonably priced fire pit, but it seems that all the remotely nice ones were $80 at least, some even up to $200. That just seemed outrageous for me. I had been weekly checking craigslist hoping on would pop up, but while I was waiting I was seeking out alternatives. At first we thought we might cut down a large metal barrel and just use that, but then I stumbled upon a most genius idea (thank you, pinterest): FIRE PITS MADE OUT OF WASHER/DRYER DRUMS!

The moment I saw that people were converting the insides of washing machines into bonfire receptacles I knew we had to make one. I was very surprised when I was able to find a drum on Craigslists just a few days later. The man selling it had it listed as a Washer drum, but upon further inspection we have decided it in an industrial/laundry mat sized drum from a dryer. I am not sure how he came upon it, but that is no matter. It had already been removed from the actual dryer and for $25 it was ours! (If you wanted to create something similar I recommend looking for old washers/dryers out to the side of the road, or finding a cheap salvage place. I've heard that the drums are easy enough to remove, but hopefully you get lucky like us and someone does that step for you.).

drum, upside down, before we did anything to it
It was a bit of a process start to finish, but we love the way it came out. The way we went about creating it might not be possible to everyone, as we have access to a lot of equipment and tools, due to my husbands job maintaining structures for the Air Force. However, with a little craftiness and know-how, you could easily create something similar on your own. 
In summary we-actually he, while I took pictures- took off the...spike...on the back (some part which connected it to the dryer; it was just screwed in) and removed all plastic parts from the inside.

Next, he drilled some extra holes in the bottom and top, just to allow water to drain (all the holes in the sides are part of the drum design and they make for really great air flow!). Then it got trickier: my husband welded three legs with feet on the bottom, punched holes in them, sand blasted them and screwed them onto existing holes in the drum.
You could definitely do without the legs, but we thought it gave it more of a finished look. Another option would have been to leave the spike on the bottom part on and drive it into the ground for stability. But, if you have welding skills, put them to use!

After he had done all the tricky bits at his shop, we brought it home and I painted it with 3 coats of black Rust-Oleum high heat spray paint. That was about $7 at Lowes; it is made for grills and can withstand heat up to 1,200 degrees F. NOTE: ONLY PAINT THE OUTSIDE PARTS ON IN CONTACT WITH THE FIRE! Paint really made it look finished and it so far holds up very well to the high temperatures.

We love how it turned out! We've had several fires and are looking forward to many more with this lil' beauty. We had a lot of fun working on it. Start to finished it took us between 3 and 4 hours, and cost us $32! Function and frugal, not to mention a pretty good conversation starter. We couldn't be happier!


Anonymous said...

You can also cook steaks, burgers and everything else by criss crossing to oven racks on top...once the flames die down and the embers are hot.

Anonymous said...

WHy would you post your location so specifically and your husbands job in some detail. Those things should be more discrete.

Unknown said...

You're a tool.

Unknown said...

This is not a dryer

yavorsv said...

Hi. I was just searching for idea how to do this and your blog came on. You probably had a lot of nice evenings around your hand made fire pit by now. FYI I didn't remove the spike, just plugged it on the metal legs of an old office chair with wheels. Looks cooler to me and it moves easier.

TrailBender said...

Thanks for the info! My and my husband must be your twins! Had the same convos about pricing and alternative options. Glad to have your strep by step guide.


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