Uniquely Yours: All About Your Patina

By Carolyn Owen

Some things get better with time– leather, denim, even cheese. Now, you can add Stainless Steel to the list. When your fire pit gets to your house, it’s bright and shiny like a brand new car. Ripping open that Bonfire box might remind you of how you felt when you were unwrapping  your favorite birthday present in elementary school: giddy. Five minutes later, you’re in the backyard lighting your fire pit’s inaugural burn. Next thing you know, it’s been a week of nightly fires, and you notice your fire pit is starting to look a little different. 

“Should my fire pit look like this?” you ask. 

Short answer: Yes. 

Long answer: Well… let’s get into it:

What you’re seeing is called a “Patina”. A patina will form over time, the same way seasoning on a cast iron pan might. The Solo Stove Community believes that the patina that forms on your fire pit is what makes it “Uniquely Yours”. Different hues that appear due to the formation of a patina range in color and intensity, and like snowflakes, are impossible to duplicate. The patina represents every memory you’ve made around your fire pit. Every trip, every late night backyard hangout, every neighborhood driveway gathering– it’s all summed up by the patina.

Photo by Timothy Elkins, Solo Stove Content Creator

So, where exactly does this badge of honor come from? What makes a patina appear? It is a chemical process that appears when the chemical makeup of metal changes when exposed to elements. Sometimes this element is air– last time you visited an antique shop you may have seen a copper toned kettle that, before being exposed to air for several years, was previously silver. In the case of stainless steel, fire/heat is the element that will cause a chemical shift, resulting in a patina. In no way does this mean your fire pit has been damaged, it has simply had a little bit of character added to it. Your patina will most likely appear in the bronze to copper color scheme, but sometimes hues of blue and blue-green can appear near the top of the fire pit and within the burn chamber. Let’s take a look at all the patina potential you can expect from your fire pit:

Photo by Matt Conde, Solo Stove Content Creator

Photo by Beomtak Park, Solo Stove Content Creator

Photo by Mike McCluskey, Solo Stove Content Creator

A patina is a beautiful reminder of all the memories you’ve shared around your fire pit, but it may be helpful to leave room for new memories to form every now and then. Polishing your fire pit to help restore some of the original shine is possible! We highly recommend Barkeeper’s Friend to clean your fire pit’s surface. We’ve tested this ourselves and the results were awesome! See our Barkeeper’s Friend test here.

Some of our Content Creators are what we call “Patina Protectors”, and love an opportunity to deepen their patina one shade at a time:

Photo by Mike Daus, Solo Stove Content Creator

Photo by Duncan Shaw, Solo Stove Content Creator

If your goal is to see how deep your patina can go, you don’t need to worry about polishing your fire pit. It is important to know, however, that your fire pit’s patina will deepen each time your fire pit is lit. If you pass the bronze stage and start to see some deeper tones appearing on your fire pit, give your fire pit a good scrub to keep the patina from entering “charred” territory, like Mike and Duncan here.

Ready to show off what makes your fire pit uniquely yours? Submit your patina pics to our Monthly Photo Contest.