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Cinder Block Fireplace
Cinder Block Pit - Click for Larger Image

Your completed fireplace can be painted to
harmonize or contrast with its surroundings.
Build the unit to a height that is easy to work
on, and finish the installation with a terraced

Shown here is a practical, inexpensive outdoor fireplace which can be built in the six easy steps. Your local building supply dealer can provide you with the necessary materials, and can also give you some helpful hints as to mixing mortar and laying cinder or concrete blocks properly. Metal fireplace equipment makers will supply fireplace construction information.

The materials used in building the fireplace pictured here are as follows: A metal fireplace unit 25 in. high, 28 in. long, and 18 1/2 in. wide; thirty 8x16 in. full cornered blocks; fourteen 8x16 in. bull nose cinder blocks; seven 17x21 in. cinder chimney blocks; two 4x8x16 in. cinder blocks; and two 1x25x32 1/2 in. wire reinforced caps.

The metal unit used in this particular design is in two cast-iron, removable sections. The rear half is a solid surface with a lift-up 6 1/4 in. stove lid centered in it. The front half is a grill-grate with bars tapered and notched so that the cooking surface allows more direct heat to reach the grilling meats. The two-part, cast-iron bottom grate can be raised for burning charcoal, or lowered for wood burning. This unit is easily assembled by bolting the front section to the framework and inserting the grates.

Step No. 1 Select a suitable spot for the fireplace, giving some thought to drainage, water accessibility, and lighting--for night use. Mark off desired size with stakes and string. The base should be at least 70x33 in. with a 17x21 in. projection at rear for chimney. Dig out dirt to a depth of ten or twelve inches. Make concrete form and set into excavation. Be sure form rises two or three inches above ground and is perfectly level. Make a mixture of sand and gravel to be used as a sub-base beneath the form. Mixture should be tamped until firm and level.

Foundation - Click for Larger Image

Foundation - Click for Larger Image Step No. 2 Mix concrete, if not using ready mixed type. Lay in a few inches of concrete; then lay down a strip of heavy wire fencing or other suitable material for reinforcement. Then fill to top of form with concrete. Be sure it is smooth; then cover with wet burlap. The form should not be removed for seven or eight days, but your work can be continued after two or three days.


Step No. 3 Lay up chimney consisting of seven 17x21 in. chimney blocks, including base joint. Be certain chimney is plumb by using a level or plumb bob. The smoke inlet opening into the flue should be located as close to the top of the metal fireplace unit as is practical, to insure the best draft conditions. Chimney - Click for Larger Image
First Block Course - Click for Larger Image Step No. 4 Lay out the first course of block as shown in photo, being certain this course is perfectly level. The six blocks in the center are laid on their sides to form a smooth surface for the asphalt.
Step No. 5 Lay one course of blocks on each side to begin the sides of the fireplace. These should also be level and straight at the outside edges. A maximum width of nineteen inches should be maintained in the center section. To do this, it will be necessary to keep the mortar joints on each side of the four inch blocks as thin as possible. 2nd Course of Bricks - Click for Larger Image
Step No. 6 Lay two more courses of block on each side, remembering to alternate the vertical joints; then install the metal fireplace unit. Now, place the 1x25x32 1/2 in. cement caps in place. Be sure they are set in a good bed of mortar. If desired, the cement caps can be made by placing a wood frame on a smooth surface and using cement and reinforcing wire. This is done in the same manner as was used for laying the foundation. Now, the fireplace is completed, but do not fire it for at least two days, giving the mortar and concrete enought time to set and harden. Never use your barbecue as an incinerator. The cement blocks can take on smoke smells that may later flavor the food you cook.

Completed Pit - Click for Larger Image

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