The neighbors who live behind me have a Chiminea on their deck. It’s very nice, often during the summer the aroma of the fires they burn float over to my backyard. It planted a bug in my head, and with Fall here I thought maybe getting a fire pit for my backyard would be a nice touch. I did a google and looked at what was available in my nearby home improvement shops.
For a brief moment, I thought about following one of those YouTube tutorials on how “simple and easy” it would be to just build my own. Where you level out the ground, add sand, and then stack a series of stones into a little circular shape. But that seemed like a great deal of “to do” to do with. Knowing also that my skills as a handyman are minimal at best (remembering the great bathroom flood of ’14), I quickly set this plan aside and started looking at some pre-fab metal fire pits.
They all ranged from large with deep bases, featuring mesh designs around the actual fire area, to sort of medium-sized with shallow bases, raised off the ground a foot or two. Regardless of what size they were, all came in simple put it together yourself kits. I could handle that. When my father died I inherited enough tools to fill a hardware store, so I’ve got just about anything you would need for something like this.
I masked up, bought a box of fire pit parts, returned home, and made a list of profanities I intended to utter while assembling it. I opened the box and laid all the parts out under my carport. The instruction booklet was short and simple. Only two pages showing the actual assembly process and which parts to use from the bag full of bolts, promising an assembly time of “fifteen minutes.” Attaching the legs to the bowl of the pit was easy, the entire thing had pre-drilled holes to run the bolts through. I thought to myself “This is a snap! I’ll have this together in ten minutes I bet!”
Then it came time to attached a ring of metal about three inches wide, a “leg support” the booklet called it, that was a different story. You had to line the holes on the ring up just so with specific ones on the legs. I thought “I’ll start one and then get the others going.” I had the two openings lined up just fine, I grabbed a bolt, held it in place, reached for my screwdriver…and the entire ring slid and fell off. I crossed one of the profanities off my list.
Again, I took the ring and lined it up, trying really hard to not knock it. I held the ring in place by pressing one leg of the pit against my stomach. Again I grabbed a bolt, and again I grabbed my screwdriver. The ring stayed. I placed the bolt and began to turn it with the screwdriver. Nothing happened. I was turning, but it wasn’t going in. The bolts I used on all the legs, to attach them to the bowl, went in just fine. Maybe something was wrong with this particular bolt?
The ring fell again. I crossed two more profanities off the list. Again I lined the ring up, used my stomach as support, put the new bolt in place, turned it, and nothing happened. This time I was determined to get the bolt in. So I kept turning and turning and turning, waiting for it to catch and start. I put more pressure on the bolt, turning so hard that I noticed I was beginning to strip the thread at the top of it.
Another profanity crossed off the list, I went back to the toolbox to see if I had a screwdriver that might have more power to it. This was absurd, all the screwdrivers I had were more or less the same. I did grab one that had a longer handle on it, maybe that would help? I returned to the pit again. Once again, as I was about to start, the ring fell and I had to line it all up again. This time I crushed the list of profanities in my hand and threw it away as I was just swearing left and right.
With this new screwdriver in hand, adding as much pressure as I could, I finally got the bolt to start to turn and take. It was this way for every single bolt when it came to this ring support. They all were like nightmares to get in. Except for the very last one which went in as smooth as butter with no fighting. Relived, officially out of swears, and happy to be finished. I sat down for a bit. I moved the fire pit out into my backyard, grabbed a lawn chair, some wood, a fire starter, and lit a fire.
It was nice, relaxing, and was well worth the hour it took me to put together the “assembles in fifteen minutes” fire pit. I don’t have any complaints actually, other than having an indentation in my stomach that looked like the leg of a fire pit for a few days. Some men just want to watch the world burn, I just want to watch things burn safely in my little metal pit in my back yard. See you next week.