Brick BBQ Pit With Wood Storage Rack
Pit 1 - Click for Larger Image
Raring to go since construction started, Junior can't wait for the others as he samples his first outdoor barbecue at home.
An extra bit of space in your back yard plus a little time to kill are all you need to install a permanent picnic right at home. Outdoor cookery gives an extra zest to food. The sturdy fireplace shown here will handle roasts, grills, or almost anything else needed to make a man-sized meal.

Besides, the red and yellow brick combination will add a distinctive touch of color to your lawn.

Supplies may run about $60 (NOTE: Remember this was published in 1954), but savings on indoor fuel bills will more than pay the cost eventually. The festive pleasure throughout countless summer and autumn seasons will be so much gravy for you and your family.

If you're an impatient worker who likes to complete a job in short order, the average yearly 2-week vacation is more than enough for this project. Otherwise, you can work at it during off-hours and week-ends. My own schedule took eight work-days -- operating at an easy pace. Here it is. You can vary it according to your temperament and time.

List of Materials

1 yard of sand and gravel mixture
1/2 yard of mortar sand
3 95 lb. bags of Portland cement
2 95 lb. bags of mortar cement
1 100 lb. bag of fire clay
3 flue tiles (24 x 13 x 8 in.)
325 red bricks (hard) (3 3/4 x 2 1/4 x 8 in.)
125 fire bricks (4 1/2 x 2 1/2 x 9 in.)
1 cast-iron outdoor fireplace unit, #OF38,
The Majestic Co., Huntington, Ind.
2 3/8 in. diameter steel rods
1 10 ft. board hemlock or pine (1X6)
1 8 ft. board hemlock or pine (1X6)
2 10 ft. boards hemlock (for dining table top) (7 5/8 x 1 in.)
1 12 ft. length, 2X3 (for legs and cleats).
1 6 ft. length (for dining table) (4 x 1 in.)
5 lbs. cement paint (for work tops) (cream)
2 qts. muriatic acid (for cleaning bricks)
1 pint varnish (for dining table)
1 pint marine spar varnish (for dining table)
nails, metal trim, wire mesh
Assembly Diagram - Click for Larger Image
General assembly of table and fireplace. Oven frame is installed before chimney is built.

Fireplace Foundation - Click for Larger Image

Method of forming fireplace foundation

First Day Select a suitable dry spot, not too close to tall trees or buildings. Be sure the rainage is good. Give some thought to lighting--for after-dark barbecues. Keep the place within reach of your garden hose--you'll need plenty of water while building and for cleaning-up later.

Mark off a 4x5 ft. area with stakes and string. Within this rectangle dig out the dirt evenly to a depth of 10 in. Make the concrete base form, using boards 6 in. wide. Set this form in the excavation, so that it rises about 2 in. above ground. It should be perfectly level.

Fill in the space beneath the form with a mixture of sand and gravel. Tamp this sub-base until it is firm and level.

Second Day Using one pail of concrete to six pails of sand and gravel, stir in water until the mix is of thick pudding consistency.

Wet down the sub-base and shovel in a few inches of concrete. Lay down a strip of heavy wire fencing to reinforce and bind the concrete. Then add more concrete to fill out the wooden form. Smooth with a trowel. If sunny, cover with wet burlap.

You can now relax while the concrete is "curing". The wooden form must not be removed for at least a week, but you may proceed with bricklaying after two days.

Third and Fourth Days Build left wall and part of back only.

Foundation Reinforcing - Click for Larger Image

To reinforce base, heavy wire fencing is laid on top first few inches of concrete. Then form is filled.

Leveling wall - Click for larger image
Level must be used often in early stages of wall building, to make sure it is straight and even.

First, line up a layer of bricks to get an idea of spacing. Allow 3/8 in. between bricks for the mortar. Keep the brick line inside the edges of the concrete floor.

Mix one shovelful of mortar cement with three of sand, adding water until it is a heavy paste. Wet down the concrete floor and cement the bricks in place. Soak each brick in water 30 seconds before applying mortar. Use a trowel. Be sure it carries just enough cement to lay one brick at a time.

Level and plumb the wall as you go. It's a good idea to hold the level on the top and side of every second row to make sure the wall is straight.

Outer walls are hard brick; the inner walls, firebrick. For decoration you an run a facing of yellow firebricks up the front edge of each wall, as I did. But you'll have to adjust the thickness of the mortar--red and yellow bricks differ in size.

For the firebrick inner lining, use fire clay mortar without sand. Merely add water till the clay becomes a heavy cream. No trowel is needed. Wet each brick and dip into the mix.

When the left side is nearly completed, lay in seven bricks at right-angles to the wall. These will project outward as a ledge for the serving table. Sink two steel rods into the mortar of these bricks, as illustrated, to serve as anchors for the table.

Layout of Brick Courses - Click for Larger Image
Layout Positions of First Brick Courses

Detail of table ledge - Click for Larger Image
Detail of table-ledge in top of
left wall. Bricks protrude at right
angles. Note steel pins in mortar.

pit1_7csmall.jpg (4870 bytes)

To give your outer bricks a neat
appearance, finish joints as above

Left Wall - Click for Larger Image
Work on right wall does not begin
until left and part of back are
ready. Oven frame fits in easier.

Oven Frame - Click for Larger Image

Oven frame in place.
Asphalt at bottom is concrete, sloping upward to back wall for water drainage.

Fifth Day Set in the cast-iron fireplace unit.

The oven floor could be built of brick, but it is faster to use an 8x8x13 in. section of fire-tile flue lining. After this is in place, pour a layer of concrete over the top and sides. Use three parts of fine gravel, three parts sand and one part Portland cement. Make sure the concrete is level or the oven that sits on it will tilt.

Install the oven-frame. Trowel a layer of cement into its ashpit. Give this layer a gentle slope--flush  from the firedoor in front, upward to the back of the firebox. Rain water that enters the chimney will drain down the incline.

Behind the ashpit, build up a hollow wall with firebrick to form the chimney-base. The top layer of bricks should lie flat, as shown. On this layer, make another concrete incline to release rain water.

Sixth Day Build brick wall on right side of oven frame and also fuel-box wall parallel to it.

Seventh Day Erect chimney by setting flue tile sections on supports, as demonstrated in sectional-drawing. Sheathe with red brick, stepping inward 1/2 in. each of the last several layers. Lay a flat sheet of spark-catching wire-mesh across the chimney top. Seal this in place with a layer of mortar, rounded off for a trim effect.

Next, cover the side wall-tops with reinforced concrete caps. This keeps water from seeping between the inner and outer walls. It also provides extra working surfaces.

Section Through Center - Click for Larger Image

Section Through Center

Flue exit - Click for Larger Image
Flue exit into chimney.
Metal bracket and fire-bricks
are employed to support
the flue lining.

Use the same concrete mix employed around the iron fire box. Outline the area to be filled with 1x1 in. right-angle aluminum trim--the kind used for finishing linoleum table tops. The trim should sit upright, like an "L," along the wall-top edges. Place a sheet of metal between facing "L's" and pour in a thin layer of concrete. Lay wire screening on this and add more concrete until the slab reaches about 1 1/4 in. thickness. Finish smoothly with a trowel.

Finish Chimney - Click for Larger Image
Chimney is finished by 1/2
in. indenting of top layers.
Three firebricks set at front
add color.

Clean Exterior - Click for Larger Image
Exterior bricks are cleaned
by scrubbing with a solution
one part muriatic acid,
three parts water.
Eighth Day Remove wooden foundation-form. Build table, according to projection-drawing. Varnish the wood several times. The last coat must be marine spar-varnish. Protect leg-bottoms with a rot-resisting paint.

Cleaning up: Make a solution of one part muriatic acid to three parts water. Apply with scrub brush to exterior bricks. Be sure to wear gloves.

Paint concrete work-surfaces with a good cement paint. Color according to your taste.

Finishing Work-Surfaces - Click for Larger Image

Finishing work-surfaces with concrete paint.
Trees or high shrubbery can be planted in far

background to give a real picnic atmosphere.