Burn barrel with a twist

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by Vera, Jan 28, 2005.

  1. Vera

    Vera Well-Known Member

    Aug 22, 2003
    Ok, so I took the idea of the burn barrel with holes shot into it for better ventilation (older thread here) and, being a coward who doesn't want to shoot at thick metal here in the middle of downtown, looked around to see if there's anything comparable in my packrat yard. Ta-dah!! Found a discarded fancy barbecue grill that I got from a friend a while back when the electric element burned out. It basically looks like a scaled-down version of a burn barrel with two grill inserts, a lid, an open bottom and a little side door at the level of the lower grill :D We're talking perfection here, people! I set it on a piece of corrugated metal on my rock path, lit a nice little paper-and-wood fire in the very bottom, and started putting trash on the first grill. Put the second grill on top to keep stuff from flying out. Fed the little bottom fire through the little side door. The whole mess sucked air from below through the gaps between bottom rim and corrugated metal and even wet trash kept burning. Clean-up is a breeze... let everything burn down and cool off, then scoop leftovers right off the corrugated metal into a garbage bag or whatever.
    So, if you need a burn barrel and can get your hands on a grill like that at a yard sale or whatever, go for it!

    One word of caution though - don't put batteries in it :eek: They explode with enough force to blow the top off :eek: Who'da thunk...
  2. Cyngbaeld

    Cyngbaeld In Remembrance Supporter

    May 20, 2004
    SE Missouri
    Sounds perfect! Watch those spray paint cans too. Not knowing that spray paint cans had been thrown into the burn barrel, I decided to burn the trash one day. (There were three families sharing the burn barrels). When the cans exploded it started a grass fire. If the people on the other side of the ditch had not seen and come to help, we would have lost three homes that day.

  3. Ravenlost

    Ravenlost Well-Known Member Supporter

    Jul 20, 2004
    Another warning about those paint spray cans...don't try to hammer nails into them. My son (at age 16) had to find out for himself why the can said "DO NOT PUNCTURE". Luckily, my car was not in the carport at the time or it would have been splattered with green paint just like the cooler and everything else in there (including son). :no:
  4. BeeFree

    BeeFree Well-Known Member Supporter

    Feb 22, 2004
    Ripley Co. Mo
    Do not put any kind of arosol [sp?] can in a burn barrel. They will explode. Also old shocks off a vehicle will explode. Batteries will also.

    To get some holes in the bottom of a 55 gal metal barrel, take an old axe and just whack the thing in the places you want a hole.

    Do be very careful with burn barrels. Do not leave them unattended. A grass fire can start with you watching them closely.

    Do not throw any rags in a burn barrel that has gasoline on them after the fire is started.

    Find some kind of cover to put over your burn barrel. Such as screen wire, chicken wire, an old grate, fridge, or bar b que rack.
  5. Quint

    Quint Well-Known Member

    Nov 12, 2004
    A nice chunk of expanded metal works great for a cover. A welding or metal fabrication shop may even have a suitable piece of scrap expanded metal they will give you or sell for a few cents. I also have a solid removable drum cover than came with the drums I have. Keeps the rain out and helps smother the fire if something would happen and I would have to leave and can't tend the fire.

    I keep anything that isn't burnable out of the trash. Batteries and spray cans can be dangerous. Entertaining but dangerous. Kinda like violently removing the valves on the big compressed CO2 or welding gas bottles to see how far they will fly. Not that I have ever done such a thing.
  6. n9viw

    n9viw Jack O'Alltrades

    Jan 29, 2005
    Quint, and here I thought I was the only one! :haha: Nowadays I could kick myself for that- could have lost the leg I held the cylinder down with, so I guess I still can... :D
    Don't know why a person would burn steel, anyway- make more money recycling it. When my old spray paint cans, O2 cylinders (for an oxy-propane hobby rig) and a set of gas shocks got turned away at the recycling center, I took them home and emptied them.
    For the paint cans, I put a nozzle in each, duct-taped them down so they were spraying, and tossed em in a garbage can. When they were done, I removed the nozzles (I recycle them with the plastics), then put the can on the ground on its side, put one boot on the can, and gave a sharp blow to the underside of the can with the pointed end of a chipping hammer. I then crushed the cans like I would a soda can (stepping on the body to crush it flat, then folding the bottom and top flat as well) and tossed em in the scrap box.
    For the O2 cylinders, I threaded the valve in the top and opened it up, clamped the cylinder in a vise, and hacksawed the end off, working slowly so as to not generate a bunch of heat. Put those in the scrap box as well.
    Last were the shocks. I wasn't sure about this, but figured nothing ventured, nothing to appear in the paper for. I clamped the shock lightly in the vise, and slowly hacksawed into the body near one end. When the saw bit through the last of the metal, the gas would come rushing out, and I'd turn quickly away, as sometimes it spit out some of the damping oil. When the pressure bled off (within half a second), I cut the rest of the way through it, then drained the oil off into a (you guessed it) recycling bottle.
    Next time around at the steel recyclers, they saw the cans and shocks in their cut-up and crushed states, and didn't even give another glance. Didn't earn me more than a few cents on that trip, but hey, better than being in a landfill, or cluttering up the bottom of my burn barrel.
  7. dreadstalker

    dreadstalker Well-Known Member

    Dec 22, 2004
    central nebraska
    that dampening oil works well for heat treating