How to Turn an Old Neglected Oil Tank Into a Unique Fire Pit

oil tank firepit

A little while ago my husband had an idea.  He wanted to turn an old oil tank his dad had given him into a fire pit.  I wasn’t sure how he planned to do it but I knew we needed a new one.  If you’ve ever bought the metal fire pits from the big box stores you’re probably aware of the fact that they only last 2 – 3 years and then the bottom eventually rusts out.  At least that’s what happened to two of ours.  Another issue I had with the smaller fire pits was the limited amount of actual burning space.  We were constantly adding wood to the fire to keep it burning.

This new fire pit was going to solve all those problems.

But how do you go about turning this …

oil pit firepit

into this …?

oil tank firepit

First and foremost make sure your tank is empty.

Once you have confirmed that it is empty you can plan your design and start cutting your opening.  You can choose any design you want but my husband decided on a large square opening on the front of the tank.  I suggested keeping the front panel that would be removed and using it as a door but we ended up leaving it off.  He used a grinding wheel to cut out the front panel.

oil tank firepit


Once that part was removed he added two racks.  The bottom rack was made by cutting heavy angle iron into 24 inch long pieces and laying them across the bottom of the tank.  They keep the logs up off the tank floor and lift right out when you want to clean out the ashes.

oil tank firepit


The top rack is made a little differently.  The hubs used bolts to  attach a piece of angle iron to both short sides of the tank.  He then laid two long iron pieces on top of the short ones.  The long pieces of angle iron are approximately the entire length of the inner cavity.  We ended up setting two old oven racks on the long pieces of angle iron.  The top rack isn’t necessary but we like having it there.

oil tank firepit

We unscrew the caps when we burn.  There’s no real need for it but I like to think it helps the smoke escape.  This fire pit is so much more interesting than our old ones.  You can fit a ton of firewood inside and not have to replenish it nearly as much as the shallow pits. I love the rustic, old fashioned look of it, too.  And it’s wonderful for chilly evenings because it throws a ton of heat.

oil tank firepit

This is a project you can finish in one weekend once you have all your parts.  You’ll need:

  • An empty oil tank
  • Heavy angle iron
  • A drill if adding a top shelf
  • A grinding wheel
  • Nuts, bolts and washers if adding a top shelf
  • Heat resistant spray paint if you want to paint it.  I prefer the rough unfinished rusty look but my hubby wants to paint it so I’ll update if he does.

What do you think about this unique fire pit?  Let me know one thing you’ve repurposed and love.



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