The metal wheels from tractor trailer tires make good fire rings.
Stack them up to the height you want. I've got 4 stacked.
Some times slightly bent ones can be had for free at tire dealers.
******* Remove NOSPAM to reply *******
Many people use the standard 55 gallon drum but they for a burining
barrel. However the steel of a 55 gal drum burns out fairly quickly.
The inside of a 55 or 60 gallon water heater may be a better choice.
Many of them are now enameled which will not oxidize. The threaded
holes for the electric heating elements can be used to connect
the burning barrel to a blower to introduce air directly in to
the fuel for more complete burning and producing higher temperatures
to burn off any pollutants.
The Independent of Clackamas County, Oregon
"The great questions of the day will not be settled by means of
speeches and majority decisions ... but by iron and blood."
(Otto Von Bismarck, Speech, Sept. 30, 1862.)
Thanks to all. After a few calls, I found a truck repair place that
had one, they told me to stop by tonight. We'll see how it goes.
Now, a question, what is the best way of making a firepit out of such
a barrel. I do not need it for cooking, etc -- only for burning brush,
trash, that sort of thing.
Thanks to all, I found a place that will give me a used steel drum,
hopefully all will go well. I need it to make a "firepit" to burn
brush and such. What would be a good way to do it, to make an safe and
It'd be nice to have more info as to your situation, amount of land,
amount of brush to be burnt, close fire hazards, etc. In order to
provide a better answer.
However, a decent general purpose burning barrel can be made from a
steel drum pretty easily.
1. Take off the top. One line of thought is to cut it off below the
rim (top seam). I prefer to keep that top rim for the added strenght.
And just cut out the top plate. Using a reasonably sharp hand axe and
hammer/hand sledge. When done, I fold down sharp edges using large
2. Using same hand axe and hammer, I put a couple to 4 small holes
right above, touching the bottom rim. Not air holes. Drain holes.
To let water drain out if barrel is left in the rain.
3. Starting at about 6 inches from bottom rim, I form air holes.
Using axe and hammer. Holding axe blade cocked so that corner of
blade is driven in to form wedge shaped hole. I make 4 evenly spaced
holed around barrel at the 6 inch height mark. Do same at the 1/3 and
2/3 of full height levels. Forming air hole on second ring of holes
(1/3 height mark) so they're offset from holes at 6 inch mark. Then
offsetting holes at 2/3 height mark from those at 1/3 height level.
Holes need not be huge. In fact, very large has it's disadvantages.
Makes for a faster, more fierce burn, which is harder to control and
tends to cause a LOT of sparks and burning embers to be thrown off out
of the top of the barrel. Not good. Add, the larger the holes, the
worse the problem with hot ashes falling out of air holes. Generally
I make air holes wedge shaped, about an inch wide at top, sides of
inverted trinagle coming together about 2-3 inches down.
Do air holes get clogged? Yep. I keep large 24 inch lenght flat tip
screw driver or hunk of iron rebar handy. Occassionally ram into air
holes which seem clogged, jiggle around to clear hole.
4. Then I usually get some 1/8 or 1/4 thick expanded metal plate
(it's like a grid or grate). I usually go over to a place I know that
makes trailers and fixes farm stuff. They've always got a large
supply of all sorts of metal plate, expanded metal, angle iron, and so
forth. Buy a 2 by 2 foot hunk of expanded steel plate. And a hunk of
flat bar. Cut expanded metal to fit barrel. Bend flat bar around and
cut to fit. Weld bar to expanded metal. Use a little extra flat bar
to make handy handle.
I also buy hunk of 1/8 or 3/16 solid plate and attach rim and handle
it. To make a solid cover. To help snuff and cover flames.
Expanded metal cover comes in handy if material being burned tends to
throw off large hunks of hot, but light stuff. ie Leaves, paper, etc.
I don't have the problem of some who live in areas where lot of
vegetation grows, but which then dries out a lot and is a really
touchy fire hazard. A few small embers being tossed off fire around
here isn't a problem. But I don't want large, flaming floaters being
<Shrug> A pretty simple method. I could get fancier. But this
method is easy and cheap. Has worked well for me for years. And I've
made numerous copies for friends.
Now, I've seen guys get fancy. And make adjustable air flow grates
via one method and another. To allow more or less air. Seen
everything from regular air grate with sliding metal cover to open
holes smaller or large. To a guy down the road who took time to weld
several short pipe nipples onto barrel in different locations. He
screws on or removes pipe caps to adjust air flow. Or there is an old
guy, dead now, I used to know who'd made some crude and rough, long
"corks" outta some extra fire brick he had about the place. Would
remove or shove in firebrick "corks" to increase or decrease air flow.
And thus firing rate.
<Shrug> My method works for me. I control firing rate via amount of
Holes at different levels, on all sides of barrel makes for good all
around burn. I don't have problem of collecting partially burned
material in some dead air space or area of poor air circulation. When
I burn, when done, all I've got is fine, well burnt ashes left.
Best to start burning slowly til you have a good feel for how large
flames will get in given situations of wind and fuel combinations.
People usually get in trouble when they push it, get in a hurry.
And/or don't keep eye on barrel and leave it unattended for
significant periods of time.
I have a set place for my barrel. Away from house and other
structures. I kept predominant wind direction in mind when picking
spot. Keep grass and other vegetation away in 3 foot area around
barrel. And have a water hose strung nearby and ready if needed.
You'll probably get other ideas. Undoubtedly some better than mine.
But I deliberately don't make mine fancy. Gets used a lot. And every
few years barrel needs replaced. Or, at least I think it does. I
don't wait for walls to get real thin. Finding a new barrel just
requires asking about. Cutting out top, and punching in new holes
takes little time. My solid cover and expanded metal cover have both
outlasted several barrels.
The first burn barrel that I made, I used a hammer and chisel to remove
the top of the barrel. I chiselled inside the lip, because I figured
that lip helps make the barrel stronger (and last longer).
I used a drill+1/2" drill bit to put a lot of holes in the bottom
of the barrel, and in the sides of the barrel.
I then set the barrel up on concrete blocks.
This worked fine for me for a few years, until I tried burning a bus seat.
Normally, the hotter the fire, the more complete the burn, but that bus seat
burned really *really* hot, and wrecked the barrel on me.
The next burn barrel I made, I chiselled out the top of the barrel.
This time I didn't feel like spending a bunch of time drilling holes,
so I grabbed the largest caliber rifle that I had, and shot the heck
out of the bottom of the barrel, and the sides. It was a lot more fun
shooting holes than drilling holes. I then used a grinder to smooth off
the exit holes, so it wouldn't be so obvious how I made the holes.
(I don't want my visiters to think I'm a guntoting redneck, eh?).
This burn barrel is working quite well for me.
As other people have said, keep it away from trees, and keep the grass
trimmed around it. Currently my burn barrel is sitting on bare earth,
that I rototilled a bunch of times. I also have a metal grate, from a BBQ,
that I put over the top of the barrel, to minimize the size of any embers/etc
that escape from the barrel. A wire metal shelf from a stove would have
worked just as well. However never ever use a metal shelf from a fridge,
because some of those are supposed to give off poisonous fumes when heated.
On 14 Jul 2004 10:38:07 -0700, fred email@example.com (Fred Walter)
They are often galvanized (old ones)..after the first burn, the zinc
is burned out and they are safe to use. Just stay up wind on the first
burn. And its not all that bad..welders hate welding galv. but in
small doses it only makes you think you are going to die <G>
"The entire population of Great Britain has been declared insane by
their government. It is believed that should any one of them come in
possession of a firearm, he will immediately start to foam at the
mouth and begin kiling children at the nearest school. The proof of
their insanity is that they actually believe this."
-- someone in misc.survivalism
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