DIY Network

How to Create a Smokeless Fire Table

Fire pits are great for warmth and ambiance, but many homeowners complain about the smoke, smell and ashes they can generate.

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  • Time

    Two Days

  • Price Range

    $500 - $1,000

  • Difficulty

    Moderate to Hard

Highlights:

Step 1: Dig a Base and Build a Form

Dig a hole 2 feet square and 3 inches deep to serve as the foundation for the fire table. Build a simple 2-foot by 2-foot square out of 2x4s. Set the form in the square base, make sure it's level and drive stakes into the ground to hold it in place.

Step 2: Create Foundation

Spread a layer of 3/4" base rock about an inch deep inside the square form (Image 1). Mix a 60 lb. bag of dry concrete mix in a wheelbarrow according to the manufacturer's instructions and fill the form with concrete. Screed the concrete with a piece of scrap lumber and tamp it down with a concrete float to release bubbles and get a smooth surface (Image 2).

Don't worry about getting a perfect finish; this concrete block will be covered by the fire table. Let the concrete dry according to the manufacturer's instructions (usually 24 hours). Remember to wear safety glasses and a dust mask when mixing concrete or cement.

Step 3: Set Concrete Blocks

Without removing the forms, apply a layer of mortar to the foundation and set a 16" by 16" concrete block or pillar block on the concrete foundation. Line the block up with the edges of the foundation and make sure it is level. Repeat this process, checking for plumb and level with every block, until the structure is three blocks high.

Cut a notch in the top block to accommodate the ventless burner. Always wear safety glasses and use caution when working with a masonry saw or other power tool. It's always a good idea to wear ear protection when cutting stone or concrete.

Step 4: Stabilize the Pillar

Scoop wet concrete into the center of the block pillar to fill in the bottom two blocks; the third block should remain empty. Drive pieces of rebar into the concrete to provide extra support. Let dry overnight.

Step 5: Set Stone in Place

Use a stone at least 16 inches across and about 2 inches thick for the top of the fire table. Set the stone on top of the base pillar and adjust until the positioning is correct. Trace around on the pillar onto the underside of the stone.

Step 6: Cut Stone

Flip the stone over and trace the ventless burner onto the stone, using the lines from the pillar to help position the burner. Make sure to position the burner carefully and trace exactly for the cut – there's no turning back once the stone is cut. Using a masonry circular saw, begin cutting on the line, then flip the stone over to cut from the other side to make sure the cut goes all the way through. Test fit the burner box, removing more material if needed.

Step 7: Dress up the Pillar

The concrete pillar looks like...concrete. Use mortar to apply decorative rock to face the table base; for this project, the crew picked ledge stone. Wipe away excess mortar with a wet sponge and allow to dry completely.

Step 8: Set Burner in Place

Install the burner according to the manufacturer's instructions, fill with fuel, and get ready to enjoy a clean-burning fire.

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