Anatomy of a Wood Burning Fire Pit

Wood burning fire pits are simple to use and require just a few tools to make a great fire! So how do they work?

Below we break down the main components of a wood burning fire pit, along with the accessories and optional fire starters available to enhance your burning experience!


The shell is the body of the fire pit, or the main component that houses the fire. Shells are made from durable, non-combustible material like steel, copper, cast iron, concrete, and stone.

The size of a fire pit shell varies greatly. They range from small portable styles that weigh as little as 30 lbs, to large, permanent fire pits that weigh over 1,000 lbs. Portable shells often come equipped with handles for easy transportation.

Most shells have a drainage hole in the center to prevent rain water from pooling up in the bottom, ensuring you always have a dry base for your firewood.


  • Range of sizes and heights available to fit any space
  • Made from durable material that can withstand exposure to high temperatures and tough weather conditions
  • Most have a drainage hole in the center to prevent rain water from pooling up in the bottom
  • Portable shells often come with handles for easy transportation
  • Do-it-yourself fire pits can be customized to fit your budget and lifestyle


Logs and kindling are the main source of fuel for a wood burning fire pit. Logs are stacked in the middle of the fire pit and kindling is placed under and around the bottom. Kindling burns quickly and helps to get the fire going more efficiently than logs alone.


Screens and spark guards are typically made of steel and mesh. They sit on top of a wood burning fire pit to prevent sparks, embers, and ash from flying out. They can also be used to cover the fire when you’re done for the night. This is a practical way to let the fire burn out naturally without supervision, since you don’t have to worry about embers and ash escaping.



A grate sits inside the fire pit and holds the wood logs. Grates keep the logs elevated while ash falls through to the bottom, maintaining constant air flow. Not all wood burning fire pits use grates, but if one is available for your fire pit, it can be a very useful tool to keep the fire burning much longer.


A poker lets you move and adjust the logs safely without having to get too close to the fire.


Fire pit covers are typically made from weather-resistant fabrics, like vinyl or polyester. Covering your fire pit when it’s not in use will keep it safe from the elements, preventing damage and unnecessary wear and tear.


FATWOOD - Fatwood is a natural fire starter made from small pieces of wood that are about 8-10" in length. The material for fatwood comes from tree stumps that contain resin, making it perfect for starting fires efficiently and safely.

BREAK 'n' BURN FIRE STARTERS - Break 'n' Burn fire starters are made up of wood chips, recycled newspaper, and paraffin wax that have been compressed into small squares. The squares ignite incredibly fast, and are a non-toxic and safe alternative to natural kindling.

LIGHTNING NUGGETS - Lightning Nuggets are small pieces of pitchwood that are used in place of kindling. They light very quickly for a hassle-free fire every time.


Do you have more questions for us? Contact one of our NFI Certified experts at (800) 919-1904 today!


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