Now its time for our first concrete pour. Do a quick search online of what your concrete should look like when its ready to pour.
Shovel the concrete into your form it should take less than two bags. Fill the forms full and overflow them, take a scrap piece of 2×4 thats long enough to span the forms and screed the concrete to the same height as your level forms, creating a level foundation for your project.
Now grab a cold beverage of your choice and kick back in a chair and envision what your manfire-pit will look like. Allow a couple days dry time.
Brick Laying. It doesn’t have to be perfect and mine sure isn’t but make an extra effort on the last layer to make it level so your capstone will seat right and not wobble. Also on the last layer take and fill the holes in the bricks as added level support to your capstone. Let them sit for around 4 hours before continuing.
For mortar joints: Take a wire brush and brush every joint so that they all look consistent. Worked great just make sure you wait 3 or 4 hours before you do this.
While you are waiting it’s a good time to split your barrel in two with a cutoff wheel, or sawzall (be careful and check what contents were in the barrel previously and watch for flammable liquids, if needed, purge barrel with argon or other non flammable gas for added protection).
Now take and test fit your barrel half into your man-pit. Test fit both pieces as one will probably fit better since its tough to split a barrel in half perfectly. Save the other half as we will use it to make an accessory to the pit.
Once again kick back have a cold beverage and in a couple days once your mortar has set test out your pit before moving on to the most labor intensive step thus far.
Building a concrete capstone.
Pull out the capstone blueprints,the malamine sheet and your large box of 3″ screws (malamine is used because the water in concrete will not make the malamine swell as long as it doesnt come in contact with the inner wood on the sheets). Grab the cut-list and begin ripping 2.5″ strips of malamine off the 4′ side followed by cutting the strips to the dimensions you determined on the miter saw. Make sure the inside wall has 45 degree miters on them, the goal is to make sure as little of the inner wood is exposed as possible, then use caulk to seal those places.
First take a sharpie and layout the dimensions of your capstone, this way you know that the box you build should keep the lines you have drawn inside it. If you look closely in picture 1 you can see the layout done in sharpie, also you can see the 45 degree miters on the inside form. Take the pieces of 2.5″ malamine and dry stack it to ensure it will be correct. Now were ready to secure our forms to the base. Take a 3″ drill bit smaller than your wood screws and begin drilling pilot holes through the strips and into the base, i started with one corner than the other corner making sure the inside edges lined up with my sharpie lines, secure the ends with screws. Then drill every 3″ inches and secure with a screw. Take the extra time to make sure your forms are straight and make good corner joints. Once you have your form made and screwed down, take some silicone caulk and caulk all the joints to keep the water in the concrete from getting into the wood. This also will create rounded edges which looks better and from a parents point of view may be the difference between a bruise and stitches from a sharp corner.
There are endless possibilities for aesthetics for your cap stone, i chose broken glass bottles, shot gun shells and a camaro emblem.
Anything you want to strategically place, use spray glue and glue it to the form.
And dont forget like I did to glue some glass to the side walls so they dont look plain.
Continued Page 3…