GREAT INVENTIONS

Portable firepit

By Ray Ford

An old wheelbarrow can make an excellent portable firepit

Portable fire pit

Photo by Tracey Tyson

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Maybe it’s not, as Montreal Canadiens fans like to say, “fire-wagon hockey.” But thanks to Tracey Tyson’s invention, Lake Simcoe’s puckhounds can lay claim to their own version: “fire-barrow shinny.” Tyson’s inspiration for a portable, rinkside fire pit began when frigid winds put the chill on players and spectators at a friend’s cottage.

Scrounging a wheelbarrow basin from her dad’s workshop, she welded a frame from 1″ square steel tubing and bolted old downhill skis to angle-iron brackets at the bottom.The next addition was a wagon-style tongue, welded to a large pipe enclosing a smaller one joined to the frame, so the tongue can pivot up and down.

“You can just use it as a handle to pull the barrow around the lake, or if you wanted to, you could attach a hitch for a snowmobile or an ATV,” Tyson says. “You point the front of the wheelbarrow into the wind, get the fire going, and the heat really comes out of it,” says Tyson, who cut four small holes in the bottom to feed oxygen to the fire. On a cold day on the lake, it’s a hockey team’s favourite benchwarmer.


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