Q & A Fire Stones

Thought I’d share a recent email inquiry.

Q. My parents have a house in Camden, ME that they’re adding onto and one of the additions is a stone patio area. My dad really wanted to put in a stone fire pit, but heard that granite fire pits are susceptible to exploding if the stone gets too hot. Can you shed any light on this?

A. All I really know about stone in fire settings is that soapstone is the best for taking high heat. I’ve used it in masonry fireplaces and in fire pits with consistently good results. I’m lucky to have sources of natural and quarried soapstone here in Southern Vermont. I don’t know
about availability in Maine. Maybe the best advise would be to throw a bunch of granite pieces into a hot brush fire and see if they’re still in one piece after the ashes cool down. If they survive that inferno in one piece they’ll probably be fine for lining a fire pit.

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4 Responses to Q & A Fire Stones

  1. Dan Snow January 18, 2009 at 5:56 pm #

    Hi Sue,
    Good luck with your project! Glad to hear you are enjoying the book.
    Many thanks for your comment.

  2. Dan Snow January 18, 2009 at 5:54 pm #

    Thanks for the information about soapstone stoves, Barbara. The
    company you refer to, Tulikivi, is a fascinating place. In 2007 I
    visited their quarry and fabrication plant in Finland with Jukka
    Tommila, designer and carver of their custom fireplaces, as my guide.

  3. Sue January 16, 2009 at 4:33 pm #

    I’m the mom of the young woman who asked you the exploding fire pit question. Thank you for the information. I must say, I really like your practical approach to experimentation. We may try it.
    Also want you to know how very much I enjoyed your latest book, Listening to Stone. I’ve even bought it for friends.

  4. Barbara January 15, 2009 at 6:08 pm #

    Soapstone does retain heat. You can get more info on soapstone fireplaces at http://www.soapstone-woodstove.com. If you wanted to build an outdoor fireplace or pit you might be able to get the pieces you need at http://www.soapstone.com Both URLs are the same company.

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