Reader DIY: A Modern Granite Grill
By Jaime Gillin / Published by Dwell
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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.

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.

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."

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 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.

"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."

"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."

"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 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."

The finished product in action, in Marques' backyard.

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.

Thanks to Marques's craftsmanship, his handsome handmade grill will be a centerpiece for family gatherings for years to come.

Jaime Gillin

@jaimegillin

When not writing, editing, or combing design magazines and blogs for inspiration, Jaime Gillin is experimenting with new recipes, traveling as much as possible, and tackling minor home-improvement projects that inevitably turn out to be more complex than anticipated.

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