* Prices may differ from that shown
This medieval looking contraption would not look out of place in one of those dungeons advertised in a London phonebox....
This beautiful object was a Christmas present, given to me by a friend who became annoyed with me coveting and drooling over hers. In the end she gave it to me as she knew that I would use it more.
Just as well really as these retail currently for a whopping £179.99 on Amazon! Why so expensive? Well this is an exact replica of an antique fire pit. The story goes that the company (Crocus) were exhibiting at a trade fair and even the owner thought that it was an antique one, it is very authentic.
This is a hand crafted solid iron firepit/ brazier. It has a waxed protective lacquer so is pre-seasoned, although you may need to season it again throughout its life. I have owned mine for 6 months and it has a fine smattering of surface rust. Rust can be destructive or protective, and the manufacturers state that a certain amount of rust will form a natural protective layer. Even so, I like to season mine when it starts to get really wet outside, and it is stored in a breathable cover in an old concrete coal bunker.
Crocus are a company who have a good range of quality cast iron products, from outside fire baskets to all sorts of types of fire pit. Some of their designs are modern and would suit a minimalist household, but this one is the most beautiful in my opinion. You can peruse the different firepits on the link below:
WHY A FIREPIT?
Firepits have been used for thousands of years, from simple ones dug into the earth, right up to present day bowl shaped ones. They provide a good source of heat in a garden and also a focal point when socialising. You can cook on them too, using the right grill attachments, or using a dutch oven. You can even make your own from old calor gas bottles and washing machine drums.
The Crocus fire pit is an open bowl design without the mesh guard. You can buy these separately if you are concerned about sparks etc, or ensure that your pit is placed away from low trees and foliage, as well as on a level base such as solid turf, concrete/slabs etc. It has a tripod type stand/trivet to hold the bowl safely and two large ring handles. There are metal studs around the seams and top, and the whole design gives the impression of something much more aged and tribal than it actually is. The metal has a beautiful patina too and the whole pit is heavy and made of thick iron.
This pit is big, and easily large enough to seat up to 8 chairs around it. It is both functional and a beautiful focal point, and even in chilly weather it is an effective heater. The bowl measures 80cm x 40 cm.
HOW TO USE THIS:
First thing to consider is the location of the fire pit. You need to site it away from dry grass, trees, anything flammable, piles of wood etc. It is also good to consider the "sociability" aspect of the pit placement ie do you want chairs around it in a circle etc. Once you have found the site then you simply place on a level surface and prepare it for lighting.
I recommend a source of water nearby for safety, an oven glove and a poker before you start...
All firepits are much of a muchness when it comes to use. I start by placing some sand in the base to stop the fire from burning through. I usually use sand that is at least an inch thick, sometimes more. You replace the sand as and when it shows signs of burning. I always empty the sand after use or ensure that the pit is covered, as damp sand and iron do not mix unless you want a rust issue.
Although this one has a tripod type trivet which it sits in securely, for extra safety you can surround the whole base with sand if you wish. If you use this on a beach then the sand is already there of course, just dig a hole and sit the fire pit into it.
You need to start your fire small, with thin twigs or dried slivers of wood. You can use leaves and paper too but too much will choke it. Build up the wood into a pyre type shape and increase the size of the twigs as they start to "take". You can add charcoal if you wish but I generally use mine just for wood.
Once your fire is happily flaming away, you can add your choice of dried wood. Some smoke more than others and it is best to use dry and seasoned wood for this reason. You can also chuck herbs like sage, or incense resins such as Frankincense or Copal onto the fire to give a scented smoke. To get the fire really roaring, I pile the bowl high (around 10 inches) with dried wood of various widths. Watch out for flying sparks without a mesh cover...
Obviously all fire pits get very hot, but when you have one as heavy and thick as this, then the metal really is not safe to touch. It will remain hot for some time after it has gone out so you will need to be careful before you move it. To extinguish the pit you can use ash, soil or more damp sand, or just leave it to burn out. Once cool, give it a scrub out with a dry brush and store away from water. You can leave a firepit out if you wish but you run the risk of a rust issue and also iron can crack.
The patina on this is already gorgeous but after a few uses you will notice it taking on a much more rustic feel. In keeping with the antique design of the firepit, this just adds to its charm, as do the small patches of rust which are inevitable. Don't worry about surface rust, if you do not want it then you can wire brush it off, but I have left mine on as it looks pretty and protects the metal. Obviously deep rust is an issue but this will only happen if you leave it collecting rain water etc.
This is available on Amazon or on the Crocus website for £179.99
This is a posh firepit, a real looker which screams quality in its build and design. It burns well and gives of plenty of heat. I recommend it (if you can afford it) 100% and will be using it for a very long time.