fire 'pit' table plans?

Hey Folks,
After my mom returned two different fire 'pit' patio tables to the
store she bought them from, i signed my brother and i up to building
her one. We're both rookies, but have been looking for a project like
this to get started. We have a MIG welder, chop saw, grinders, etc.
I was going to try to whip up a plan from scratch but wondered if any
of you folks might know where i could find some to start from. I'd
like to use either slate or thick tile for the table surface and have
a square center for the pit (which will probably be the base from a
cheap grill). I like the 'grid' look of 12" or 18" tile, but am not
going to be picky at this point.
Any pointers would be much appreciated!!!
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Been thinking about the same sort of project myself. I was hoping to find a 200lb propane tank to use for the pit though. The gas companies can only use them so long before they have to replace them so I was hoping to be in the right spot at the right time. If I remove the fittings from the end, I can fill it with water and let it stand for a few days. That should displace any of the gas that may be left inside. From there cutting the bottom 12" off should make a really nice bowl for the pit. I have also thought that using a hole saw to cut say a 3 or 4" hole in the very center would make a nice trap door to empty the ashes out through. A simple hinge and a bit of flatstock could be used as a catch to hold it closed.
The firebowl should be easy enough to weld to a "table" top or simple brackets and a few carriage bolts will hold it in place if the metal doesn't like the arc. A bit of expanded metal can be fashioned into a cover to catch embers though I would stick with a fairly small (1/4 to 3/8) opening for that. Heck you could make a grill out of it too. (now I'm getting hungry) A few shrimp, chicken legs or wings or sirloin tips over the hot coals and a nice cold beverage...some good friends around you or that one special lady... Damn I gotta build one of these now!
Anyhow other thoughts have been to use 1/4 inch thick boiler plate in a pyramid shape. Again the very point would be cut off so a piece of plate could be used as an ash door.
I'm leaning towards having the fire bowl sit about 1.5 inches high of the metal table. The borders of the table would be angle iron in maybe an octagonal shape with simple 1/2" rod legs bent in a "V" shape welded at the outer corners and the center pit. Rebar would work but not as pretty perhaps. For the camp fine. For the home patio cold rolled steel rod is better. A few angle iron braces between the outer rim and the inside should hold it together.
This is where I get unsure of what to do for the table top. I think I could fill the space between the inner and outer rim with cardboard (temporary) then mason's mesh for strength. Now use a motar mix (or should it be thinset???) and fill in the tabletop. I would then press stones, slate, tiles, (whatever she says would look nice) into the "cement" to form the actual surface. Once hardened the cardboard could be peeled away. It was only there to keep the motar from falling through the mesh. I suppose I could use 18 or 20 guage sheetmetal instead and left it in place. Actually that may be the way to go really.
As to sizing, I would think the fire bowl is where you start and the table portion should be at least 15" from the pit to the edge. Just in case you want to play cards or eat around it. This would mean 30' + the diameter of the firepit. I would guess 48-50" or thereabouts.
What are your thoughts???
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