Burn barrel ventilation holes

I've been using an old 45 gal. diesel drum to burn leaves and branches, and, maybe because of our excellent summer, am finding it more difficult than expected to get everything to burn.
I had made a series of small holes (about 5/16) in the base, and a similar series in two rings around the lower part of the barrel. Enlarging three of the lower holes on the barrel to one inch didn't seem to help the burning.
Does anyone have recommendations for optimum ventilation?
--
Windmill, Use t m i l l
snipped-for-privacy@Nonetel.com @ O n e t e l dot c o m
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

I ended up cutting the bottom out of ours completely. Stand it on some bricks to raise it up off the ground.
--
Today is Pungenday, the 44th day of Bureaucracy in the YOLD 3177
The bankers may have tipped us in, but the politicians dug the hole.
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

When mine burnt through the bottom, it worked really well until it got chucked out. Sez she, "it had a hole in the bottom". I had to get a new one that didn't burn nearly as well ...
Nick
--
Serendipity: http://www.leverton.org/blosxom (last update 29th March 2010)
"The Internet, a sort of ersatz counterfeit of real life"
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

I was hoping to reduce the mess by leaving the bottom in place and just perforating it a bit. I'll see how larger holes in the sides works out. I was actually surprised that it didn't burn better, but probably the fire was being starved of oxygen.
--
Windmill, Use t m i l l
snipped-for-privacy@Nonetel.com @ O n e t e l dot c o m
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Look up Silsoe incinerator. The agricultural college did some work optimising the hole size and spacing. They used a raised mesh of some sort to form a hearth.
http://adlib.everysite.co.uk/resources/000/073/563/CPA_incineration.pdf
They are now banned from use in agriculture but I doubt that extends to garden use:-)
regards

--
Tim Lamb

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

That's a very useful link; some concrete suggestions about hole size and spacing, though garden waste is a bit different from "containers".
I didn't want to start with large holes then try to reduce them!
--
Windmill, Use t m i l l
snipped-for-privacy@Nonetel.com @ O n e t e l dot c o m
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

I make a lot of use of mine for garden clearance and certainly hope they are never banned. It is essential to get good air flow and a hot burn otherwise there is a lot of smoke. I have been tempted to run a couple of lengths of 20mm steel electrical conduit into the bottom of the barrel and pump air through to liven it up a bit. The idea of raising the material up on a mesh is interesting, must remember to blag some stainless mesh off my dad next time I visit.
--
Bill

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Standard technique is to whack in some 1" holes using a pickaxe.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Don't have a pickaxe, but I do have a 1" reduced-shank drill which fits a Bosch hand drill. I'm now reassured that larger holes won't have a negative effect.
--
Windmill, Use t m i l l
snipped-for-privacy@Nonetel.com @ O n e t e l dot c o m
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Windmill wrote:

which excellent summer was that?

put it on bricks remove all the bottom and fit some expanded steel mesh flooring inside

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Sep 20, 11:22pm, The Natural Philosopher wrote:

3rd August, in Gravesend, Kent.
This did not extend to Humberside.
Owain
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Think I'll try enlarging the side holes first; I'm trying to keep the assorted small unburnt (green) twigs etc. inside for easy removal. Of course if I got it to burn well enough, even the green stuff should be reduced to ash.
--
Windmill, Use t m i l l
snipped-for-privacy@Nonetel.com @ O n e t e l dot c o m
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Tue, 20 Sep 2011 04:34:43 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@Onetel.net.uk.invalid (Windmill) wrote:

Pickaxe-sized holes around the bottom. Alternatively, one 2" hole near the bottom and feed it with blown air from an old furnace blower. Everything burns cleanly.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

That's interesting, thanks for that.
The two rows of ventilation holes were to try to get it to act as a gasifier, with a primary and secondary air supply. This burns much more efficiently and cleanly than a simple fire for lots of reasons that can be found on the internet.
wrote:

25+ years ago I used to have such an barrel rubbish burner with the ventilation holes as specified (pick-axe). I set up a blower with an old cylinder vacuum cleaner; the hose on some of these could be connected to the outlet if you needed a blower. Air was blown into the bottom of the barrel through a 10' length of scaffold tube, so the vacuum cleaner didn't get hot.
After getting it burning, I set the vacuum cleaner going. Burning became very intense, all smoking ceased; 5 or 10 minutes later the barrel was incandescent, literally red (bright) hot. It started to collapse under it's own weight. Predictable; I'd made a blast furnace.
A small blower would do this very well; a fan from a dead boiler or a car blower would do nicely. The latter would have speed controls.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
In message

I've given mine away. One point to watch; don't set one up under overhanging or nearby trees.
regards
--
Tim Lamb

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Branches on the bushes above are due to be lopped off anyway. Very green and damp so won't easily burn.
--
Windmill, Use t m i l l
snipped-for-privacy@Nonetel.com @ O n e t e l dot c o m
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

By that, I meant a single row of holes around the base, not a two- row gasifier effort. Stuff burned but it smoked a lot, the ventilation gradually blocked with ashes and is smoked more, so I tried super-charging it, as described.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
wrote:

Hehe. I had best results by entering the air pipe tangentially - the incoming air cools the wall of the barrel as it spirals around. I got this idea from building a Turk burner for consuming old chip oil. http://journeytoforever.org/biofuel_library/ethanol_motherearth/me10.html
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

I'll have to see if I have anything which would do the job, though maybe just enlarging the holes would help. Your suggestion has brought to mind a memory from _many_ decades ago, of how effective small bellows were at resuscitating a fire from one or two embers.
--
Windmill, Use t m i l l
snipped-for-privacy@Nonetel.com @ O n e t e l dot c o m
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Sounds as though I needn't worry about having too much ventilation then.
--
Windmill, Use t m i l l
snipped-for-privacy@Nonetel.com @ O n e t e l dot c o m
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.