A smokeless fire pit is an ideal way to light a fire without creating excess pollution or extra attention. A smokeless fire pit can be made at home with minimal effort and expense. Here we discuss how to make a smokeless fire pit.
Although the design for this type of pit has not been perfected yet, most strategies will involve using blacksmithing techniques. The essential part of the pit is that it needs to burn hot without creating too much ash. Some ways to accomplish this is through using screens or some type of filter over the fire. The other idea is to use an oven-like environment by forcing air into the pit while burning wood or charcoal.
You can also buy prebuild smokeless fire pits by reading our article best smokeless fire pit.
The materials required to make a smokeless fire pit
- 4 pieces of angle iron cut about 6 inches wider than your stone or material that you are using, at least 2 inches wide
- 8 pieces of pipe or plumbing pipe that is about an inch larger in diameter then the hole in the ceiling tile
- 1 piece of stovepipe at least 12 inches long and the same width as the angle iron
- Hammer and a Chisel or Pry bar (if using mostly untreated wood)
- Screws to attach the pipe pieces together, we used sheet rock screws for this part.
- A drill with a 1/2-in bit, an adjustable wrench and wire cutters
- 1 Ceiling tile, at least 12 inches square
- A Big piece of Eucalyptus fire wood.
Step 1 – Drill Holes for Pipe Pieces
You need to drill holes in the angle iron that are just big enough for your pipe pieces to fit securely. We first laid out our four angle iron pieces and marked center at each side so we could line up the holes correctly.
After the first hole was drilled we used it as a template to mark the other three holes.
I would recommend putting some black paint or even electrical tape on the inside of the angles to mark the holes. The paint will be easier to see when you are drilling and might keep your drill bit from slipping off center when starting the hole.
Use a drill bit that is only big enough for your pipe pieces and no bigger else the pipes will not fit tightly in the angles and could fall out if they get bumped or moved.
Also drill a hole in one side of the pipe pieces so you can screw them together. The angle iron is not very wide so use only 2 screws on each joint.
Step 2 – Weld the Pipe Pieces to Angle Iron
If you are using mostly untreated wood, make sure you wear gloves and long sleeve shirt when welding or grinding (no bare skin). You can use more expensive Stovepipe instead of cheaper regular pluming pipe.
Use whatever kind of welding method you are comfortable with or have access to and take your time welding, especially if your using steel instead of cast iron Pipe. Weld all around the angles that will be on top to secure the pipe pieces to the angle.
Use a rubber mallet or a small piece of wood to pound pluming pipe into angled iron if it is sticking out too far.
Step 3 – Cutting the Ceiling Tile
In order for you fire pit to be as smokeless as possible you need a “chimney”.
Take your square of ceiling tile and lay it on a flat surface like a table.
Punch a hole with your punch tool in the center of one side and then using another punch (or another drill bit) make the hole as round as possible. Make sure you make the hole big enough for your piece of stovepipe to fit tightly inside without any gaps, but not big enough for the pipe to fall out through.
Step 4 – Attaching the Chimney
Take your square of stovepipe and place it over the chimney you just cut out of the ceiling tile.
Using a hammer and a chisel or a heavy screwdriver, tighten it deep into the bottom part of the chimney/stovepipe hole to secure it in place.
Step 5 – Assemble the Fire Pit
Take your chimney/stovepipe assembly and place it onto your base.
The stove pipe should be sticking up through the center of the angle irons. You can use a little bit of Gorilla Glue or Liquid Nail to hold it in place like we did or you can just drill a hole in the bottom of the angle iron through the pipe, put some screws in and let them sit on top of your stovepipe.
Take your square of fire brick or ceramic tile and place it over the stovepipe/chimney hole.
Wedge small pieces of wood underneath to prop up one side until you can get the fireplace screen in place, then slide it back to rest on top of the fire brick or ceramic tile.
Step 6 – Lighting Your Fire
You have a number of options here depending on how serious you are about burning things with your new smokeless fireplace.
If you are using untreated wood or other combustible materials you can use conventional fire starters or lighter fluid to start your fire, but this is an absolutely terrible idea if you want to keep the environment clean and safe for yourself and others.
If you want to use cleaner burning “wood gas” (Gasification) you can use a fireplace lighter fluid spray bottle to spray some of the wood gas solution into your fire pit and then light it like you would any other fire.
If you want to burn wood or charcoal in the smokeless fire pit, just place some Wood Chunks (see below) onto the screen and light them just like you would any other fire.
If you want to burn incense, resins or other combustible materials, just place them onto the fire brick or ceramic tile and light them like you would any other fire.
Once you are done with your fire, make sure you put the lid on the smokeless fireplace before you leave it to make sure all of your fire is out.
It will be easier if you have someone help you lift the lid because it will be hot. Use a small shovel or dust pan to scoop up any ashes that remain and dump them into a bucket with water to make sure the fire is absolutely out.
Maintenance and Upkeep
Maintenance on your smokeless fireplace is very easy. Make sure you have a bucket of water or a hose nearby when you are burning things in it so that if something catches fire, you can put it out right away without having to lift the lid off of the fireplace to get to it.
Water is very important for your smokeless fire pit because it will stop any embers that may still be burning on top of the fire brick or ceramic tile from becoming a fire.
Another thing you can do to make sure you are keeping your smokeless fireplace clean is to use a small wood chipper or a saw to cut up all of your left over pieces of wood into smaller chunks before you burn them so that they will be easier to dispose of.
When you do need to clean it, simply use a wire brush and scrub off any ash that has built up on the surface and then hose it with water and let it dry.
You don’t want to use soap or chemicals to clean your smokeless fireplace because the chemicals will get into the wood and make it dirty faster, ruining your beautiful fireplace design.
Finally, you can paint or stain your smokeless fireplace if you want a different color scheme in your home. This is completely optional though. If you use paint or stain, make sure the fireplace is completely dry and then use a small amount of high heat spray paint or polyurethane to keep your new color scheme from fading over time.