We love hearing stories about how our magazine and website have inspired readers to tackle their own modern design projects, at any scale—whether it be a full-blown house or, as featured on the Letters page of our July/August issue, a combination magazine rack and end table made from repurposed issues of Dwell. So we were excited to receive photos of this BBQ grill, sent in by Luciano Marques.
Here's a peek at the finished product. Says Marques: "The idea was to create three symmetrical squares: the grill, the granite top, and the cutting board."
"To make the structure as strong as possible, I cut a notch on the side pieces so that the bottom could fit in like a drawer. These cuts were made 1/4" from the bottom to top, measuring 3/4" to fit the granite bottom and the plywood. On the storage side under the cutting board, I used 3/4" plywood for the bottom instead of granite so it could be lighter. The top middle surface was done in miter edge. This way, the joint looks like one seamless piece, like a box."
"I wanted the design to have a clean, streamlined look, so I worked to create a simple and durable construction. My original idea was the look of an island work station that was thin and looked like a table with no clutter underneath. I used a special granite glue to assemble the parts together. To hold the pieces in place, I used big clamps until the glue fully dried."
"I used two 4"x4"x8' pressure-treated fence posts to make the legs more durable against the weather. To ensure they were strong enough to support the weight of the granite, I made the cuts so that the corner of the box could fit inside and rest on top of the leg. The cut where the bottom of the grill body sits has a notched cut so that it will lock with it. I installed wheels on each leg to make moving easier. I wanted to convey a clean look, so I recessed the wheels to hide them from view. This way, the grill will look like it floats above ground, and will be protected from water puddles."
"Using a special drill bit for granite, I made six holes on the corners using a simple metal L bracket as a guide and fastening it to the granite and wood. To install the legs to the body, I used high-grade construction adhesive between the layers of wood, granite, and metal. I used 24 stainless-steel screws."
"The grill support was made of 1/8"-thick 3/4" x 3/4" aluminum L-strips. I made 45 degree cuts on the parts that sit on the granite, on each corner. Then I bent the edges to give a picture frame look and encase both the grill tops. I used the same construction adhesive to glue it down onto the granite, and clamped it until completely dry."
"I used regular mason bricks to cover the grill box and give the granite and outside surface heat protection. I calculated the bricks' thickness to accommodate an aluminum tray to hold the charcoal. The bricks installed on the three sides were cut to 45 degrees at the top to allow the heat to disperse more evenly. I used regular cement with red coloring to hold the bricks in place. For the grill, I selected a pair of rectangle grills to cover the square. I took their size into consideration before developing any other dimensions, so the grill would not have to be modified."
"I used an easily available aluminum tray to hold the charcoal and make cleaning a snap."
"I wanted to incorporate the cutting board into the BBQ design, so I designed it to be a lid to the storage area. I bought a readymade cutting board and re-sized it to fit the top of the storage box. I use this space to keep extra aluminum trays and various BBQ tools. I painted the plywood black and stained the legs to match the cutting board."
The finished product in action, in Marques' backyard.
Thanks to Marques's craftsmanship, his handsome handmade grill will be a centerpiece for family gatherings for years to come.
Marques studied industrial design in Brazil before moving to the United States, where he's spent the past eight years working as a countertop fabricator. His experience working with granite—and his frustration with gas BBQs whose metal parts eventually rust—led him to create a mobile grill made of stone.
To make the body of his grill, Marques used 3/4" scrap pieces of granite that were left over from the fabrication of countertops and cut them using a professional granite saw. "All those years of working with granite, I saw way too many dumpsters filled with granite scraps—material that was extracted from the earth after millions of years in the making," he says. "I felt the need to recycle them. It was a perfect candidate for my project. Granite is durable against the weather and heat. It's easily cleaned with water and won't rust. There are also infinite possibilities of color and texture that can be combined with wood to make a compelling design."
We asked him to take us through his design and construction process step by step, so inspired readers could try their own hand at DIY grill-building.