I am building a fire pit out of Square driveway type stones. I am trying to figure out at what degree I need to cut them to make them fit together in a circle tight.

The squares are 9.75" Sq.

How do I figure out at what degree they need cutting, or is there a standard degree say 45?


2 Answers 2


Decide what SIZE circle you want.

Do the math. 360 degrees in a circle divided by the angle of cut = number of stones

If you leave the wide side full-size, 9.75 x number of stones = circumference in inches

inches / 12 circumference in feet

circumference / Pi (3.1415...) = diameter.

A 1 degree cut will get you a circle (technically a polygon) of 360 stones about 93 feet across.

5 . 72 . 18.6

10 . 36 . 9.3

If you make a cut on BOTH sides to make the stones symmetrical, the effective angle is doubled (10 degrees on both sides = 20 degrees = 18 stones = outside diameter is 4.65 feet)

ie /_\ .vs. |__\ for stone shape.

45 degree cuts on one side will get you an octagon (roughly) pinwheel with no place to put a fire in the middle, while both sides would get you a 9.75" square, still with no place to put a fire in the middle.

A hint from other media - try it with paper or cardboard before you commit to cutting stone. The circle formula gets increasingly incorrect as you use fewer and fewer stones which approximate a circle less well. The effect of one side or two side cutting also increases with fewer stones/greater angles.

  • 1
    Ecnerwal is right, you can't cut stone and then stick it back on if you have cut it wrong. Allow for ten to fifteen percent wastage to be sure to have enough.
    – kevinskio
    Commented Oct 29, 2014 at 18:35
  • 1
    They have such nicely precast firepit stones available now. Keep the water flowing if you're using a diamond blade, you've got quite a few cuts ahead of you. Diamond burns quickly once it reaches ignition temperature. Commented Oct 30, 2014 at 3:06
  • 2
    Yup, and you can also make your own concrete casts.
    – J. Musser
    Commented Oct 30, 2014 at 21:53
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    I don't actually see anything in the question that states that the stones in question are concrete; they may well be good old igneous granite. You are assuming a great deal.
    – Ecnerwal
    Commented Oct 31, 2014 at 20:21
  • 1
    Never heard of a stone supplier with a diamond wet saw? I have a bunch of 12" square stones, all cut from actual stone.
    – Ecnerwal
    Commented Nov 1, 2014 at 14:56

Something to mention that has possibly not been considered... not all manufactured stones are intended for fire pits. Many of the concrete-based pavers used in driveways applications will "pop" and/or explode under prolonged exposure to heat (as within a firepit). This is in part because they are relatively porous and will "absorb" moisture and water. they will retain this water content, which will eventually turn to steam and contents under pressure. Review this SE answer: https://outdoors.stackexchange.com/questions/801/how-to-avoid-exploding-rocks

An important thing to consider is to make certain you have a fire ring insert to protect the bare stone from the direct heat source. Many of these manufactured metal inserts come in a variety of set sizes and this will help you to determine the exact measurement for the cut as needed.

In fact, to save you some time, and possibly money (unless the stones are leftovers from another job, or were gifted to you) There are fire pit kits available at many box stores. ie: http://www.homedepot.com/b/Outdoors-Outdoor-Heating-Fire-Pits/N-5yc1vZc6na

These include the metal insert, as well as the pre-cut cast stones for ease of installation. You can put one together for as little as a few hundred dollars and an hour of time on a prepped flat surface. maybe a half day if you start from scratch in a lawn area.

If you don't want that route, and want to go with a natural stone look, try granite or basalt or any type of igneous rock...as opposed to a sedimentary (sandstone, limestone, slate, etc)

A sedimentary style rock settles during creation into layers (as opposed to the process of cooling the "liquid hot Mag-ma"). The settling of these layers can end up allowing water/moisture to seep in and create fissures which allow moisture to turn to steam and create pressure then a face full of stone as opposed to s'mores.

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