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Build It | Fire Pit Cover

Ask This Old House general contractor Tom Silva works with host Kevin O’Connor to build a cover that can turn a store bought fire pit into a table when not in use

Steps:

  1. Ipe decking is expensive, so to maximize the yield, set the fire pit down on the board. Leave a 1 ½” overhang on each side of the firepit, mark and cut that length on the miter saw.
  2. Continue that process for each board until the entire fire pit is covered.
  3. Run each board through the table saw twice (once per side) to make the tapered side of the decking flat.
  4. Glue the boards together using exterior wood glue. Clamp the assembly together while the glue sets, using a center line on each board as a reference to keep everything aligned. Wipe excess glue that oozes from the joints with a wet rag before it cures.
  5. After the glue has set, use a sander to smooth out the high spots.
  6. Locate the center of the top by measuring diagonally and marking the center of that dimension, and then marking the center of the board. Drill a small pilot hole at that center mark.
  7. Use a scrap piece of wood as a jig. Set a screw at one end of the board, then determine the overall radius of the piece and drill a hole at that length on the jig. The hole on the jig should be sized to accept the collet from the router.
  8. Set the screw on the jig into the center hole of the top. This will allow the router to swing at the desired radius and make a smooth cut around the entire top. Make several passes with the router, getting progressively deeper each time.
  9. Move the screw on the jig in about 1 ¼” and screw the jig to the center hole again.
  10. Cut a shallow kerf using the router and jig to break surface tension from rain.
  11. Use a round over bit in the router to ease the top and bottom edges of the cover.
  12. Use scrap ipe to create two cleats that run perpendicular to the decking. Drill the screws oversize so the top can expand and contract.

Resources:
All of the tools used can be found at the local home center or carpentry supply store.

The wood used for the fire pit cover was ipe decking—also known as Brazilian walnut, one of the densest hardwoods out there. Ipe can be found at the local decking supply distributor.