In Upcycling Outdoors: 20 Creative Garden Projects Made from Reclaimed Materials, Max McMurdo provides 20 inventive projects to get readers upcycling and recycling. The book includes valuable information on the tools, techniques, and materials to help you create unique designs and go on an outdoor creative adventure. The following excerpt is from Chapter 2, “Outdoor Structures.”
The great outdoors is something that has been very close to my heart since I was a small child. I was a cub scout, and every year we went caravanning as a family. To maximize the time you can spend outside in the colder months, and even to extend chillier summer evenings, a fire is essential.
What I love about this design is that it is lightweight and therefore extremely portable; it repurposes something that has already travelled around outdoors; and it also combines beautiful aesthetics with clever engineering — my perfect combination!
It can be very frustrating when you get distracted or leave a fire and it goes out. This design allows you to preload the pit with round logs that simply roll into the centre as the previous log burns away, removing the need for you to keep loading the fire.
Produced with only threaded bars and some mesh, this design is lightweight, simple and satisfying to make and reuses a pair of old dented bicycle wheels that would otherwise be thrown away.
Items to Source:
- 2 old bicycle wheels
- Threaded bars, washers and nuts
- Wire mesh
1. Remove Tyres: Using a flat-head screwdriver or a chisel, work around the tyre, loosening it until the metal wheel structure will pop free. Repeat for the other tyre.
2. Remove Spokes: Use the first wheel for the base supports – you are going to remove one third of the wheel for each one. Mark your wheel on the rim then remove using a slitting disc on a grinder or hacksaw. Cut the rim into sections.
3. Cut Second Wheel in Half: Remove the spokes from the second wheel and then cut the wheel in half. These will form the main section of the fire base.
4. Neaten Ends: Sand the sharp edges smooth with a metal file.
5. Line up Base: Position your smaller bases against the semicircular pieces, as shown in the sketch, and mark up.
6. Drill through Rims: Drill holes in the wheel rims on the marks, then de-burr using a larger drill or countersunk bit.
7. Cut Threaded Rod: Cut the threaded rod to the right length using a junior hacksaw. File the ends smooth.
8. Bolt Together: Bolt through the wheels to form the two halves and join them together using washers and nuts.
9. Attach Mesh Base: Cut the wire mesh to size using wire cutters. It doesn’t need to extend all the way up the wheel rims as the stacked logs will stay in place. Wrap the edges of the mesh neatly around the wheel rims to secure it in place.
Tip: You can spray the entire construction with heat-resistant stove paint if required.
10. Load Logs: Fill the pit with round logs cut neatly to fit, then sit back in wonder as the fire self-fills as it burns!
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Excerpted with permission from Upcycling Outdoors, by Max McMurdo. Photography by Brent Darby. Published by Jacqui Small, an imprint of The Quarto Group, © 2018.