How to Make a Firepit From An Old Gas Bottle

Old and unwanted gas bottles are just ideal for a small firepit

metal firepit from old gas bottle

Easy to make metal firepit from an old gas bottle.

gas bottle firepit

An empty, slightly rusty, 17kg propane gas bottle.

Open firepits are all the rage these days as we try to maximise garden living on those ‘not quite warm enough’ evenings and lets be honest, there are plenty of those!

I saw an ‘open dish’ type firepit in a local store but it was on sale for rather more than I’d like to pay, (I am a bit cheap) but then I thought I could see a similar shape in an old steel gas bottle, hmm….

Here in Norway you actually own propane gas bottles outright, but you’ll need to check what the rules are where you are. Because in some countries, gas supply companies only ‘lease’ you the bottle and they retain the actual ownership (so of course they might take offence if you start cutting them up!).

Safety. Of course you can’t talk about cutting open empty gas bottles with equipment that makes sparks without making 100% sure it’s not going to explode. The old propane bottle I picked up cheap was empty and the valve had been left open, but still you could definitely smell gas. I removed the left handed thread valve with a large wrench and left the bottle open to the air for a week, a few days upside down (gas is heavier than air) and a few days the right way up. And just to make sure I stuck the hosepipe in it and filled it up with water and left it another day or so. Just in case, during the actual cutting I also wore a full face visor, gloves and fireproof underpants…

After emptying the water and allowing it to dry I set about marking out the intended cut lines. I was aiming for a high back with a little curve over at the top, dropping low at the front all in gradual and smooth curves.

Tips When Using a Mini Grinder to Make this Firepit

I made all the cuts using a thin cutting disk in a 4 1/2″ or 110mm mini grinder.

  •  Hold the grinder very firmly but touch the metal with a very light touch.
  • Run the disk lightly over the lines going a little deeper each time.
  • Work pulling the tool in a downwards movement, if your push the tool forwards it can ‘run away’ and jump off your line.
  • Be very careful on the more sharply curved sections as it’s very easy for the blade to snatch.
  • Once you’ve cut away the bits you don’t want swap out the blade for a thick grinding one and run over all your cut edges, smoothing them out.
  • Never grind using a thin cutting blade, the risk of breaking it is very high.

Thats it, you’re done. You’ve managed to make a perfectly good fire pit out of an old gas bottle, well done! Now chuck a load of wood on it and fire it up. It’ll smoke like crazy the first time as it burns off the last of the paint. I might look at making a grid to sit in the bottom to improve the air flow.

firepit gas bottle

All ready for some firewood.

Right, time for a firepit update…..

After firing it up for the first time I learned a few things; first the paint on these bottles is really good stuff and takes a lot of heat to burn off! I’m not sure the paint will ever burn off the top of the firepit.

Second, I don’t think the air flow is a problem just as it is. The firepit burns fiercely and completely. Drilling additional air holes would just make a mess as the ash could fall out.

Third, you’ll need to protect the ground underneath the firepit as the bottom of the bottle of course gets very hot. I used bricks for this first firing but I have a nice piece of stone in mind for its permanent position.

Here, take a look at the first firing…

Hope yours works as well!

Stay well


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