Uses for 55-gal. metal barrels??

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by barbarake, Mar 14, 2004.

  1. barbarake

    barbarake Well-Known Member

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    Hi all - I can get a lot of 55-gal. metal barrels for free. They were previously used for paint-related chemicals and have a closed top with a small opening. (But I can cut off the top.)

    I know a lot of people cut off the top and use them to burn trash.

    Can you think of anything else I can use these for?? Do you think burning them would effectively remove any chemicals left inside?? If so, what could I use them for then??

    Any suggestions would be appreciated.
     
  2. moopups

    moopups In Remembrance

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    Cut in half lengthwise they make barbeque grills or feed troughts. Do be very careful how you cut them, the chemicals could flash over if there are sparks.
     

  3. Barrels can be used for storing grain/feed after the tops have been cut out. Making a vermine resistant top is the key for their use.

    Barrels can also be "dug in" for making a root cellar like storage. Install the barrel on a slant and perhaps add a shelf so that the weight of the stored goods don't rest on the bottom layer of goods.

    Savonious rotor, windmill like device to power ???????
    http://www.acs.comcen.com.au/buildsav1.html

    If you feel that you can get the chemical residue out, cut the barrels in half and make water tubs for smaller livestock needs.

    Fire pit

    Cut in half the long dimension, install grates, some sand in the bottom, and use them for large BBQs with charcoal or wood coals.

    Barrel roll games for kids and adults. Add a little sand to make it more interesting.

    Mount a plank to the side of a barrel laying on its side, and you have a teeter totter.

    Fill with earth, sand, concrete chunks, etc. and make portable fence posts to which you fasten temporary fencing. Smaller animals only please. Large ones would probably move the fence and barrels around by leaning on the fence.

    Cut in half or on a slant, add a wheelbarrow type of whell, a couple of handles, and voilà you have a cheap wheelbarrow. Well, if you have a front wheel already. Boughten ones are big bucks.

    Mount on a few posts and you will have the largest mailbox on your block.

    Between trees or posts, suspend from a rope going through a bung and a hole in the opposite end, add a saddle, and you have just given kids a bucking horse. YIPEE!!!!

    Add legs to a barrel and you have a saddle stand.

    Barrels on end with some planks across them make portable stand up eating tables.
    Maybe garage sale tables. Hey, there you go--invest in some planking and rent garage sale tables. You pick up the planking at the end of the sale and let them keep the barrels to haul the unsold goods off to the dump in.

    Just have a few cups of coffee and let your mind run wild. Hm, is that 2nd pot of coffee ready yet?
     
  4. uncle Will in In.

    uncle Will in In. Well-Known Member Supporter

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    A few years ago there was a 55 foot tall Totem Pole made from barrels spot welded together at the ends. They painted all sorts of faces and animals plus other designs on the barrels and stood them up with guy wires holding it. They had a campground and that was their landmark plus their claim to fame..
     
  5. East Texas Pine Rooter

    East Texas Pine Rooter Well-Known Member

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    I cut both ends out of a barrel and put it over a tree stump, fill it with wood chunks to burn the stump out. Put a rock, or brick, etc. at 10-2-6 angles to let air into the bottom of barrel. Once the stump gets burning in dry dirt it will continue burning into the ground, roots and all. If it goes out, or rains, clean away the old ashes, and start again.
     
  6. joan from zone six

    joan from zone six Well-Known Member

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    color me impressed guys - never thought metal drums had more uses than duct tape
     
  7. gobug

    gobug Well-Known Member Supporter

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    In the 70's Ken Kearn designed a woodburning stove for MotherEarth News using 3 barrels. The stove is famous and has been made all over the world. He wrote a how-to book that is out of print but may be available at your local library (it is at mine). I think the title is "Ken Kearn's Masonry Stoves."
     
  8. agmantoo

    agmantoo agmantoo Supporter

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    When I worked overseas the locals removed both ends then beat the drums back flat and used the sheet metal for whatever project came up. Painted regularly, the sheets made decent roofing. You can use the drums with both ends removed as an inner form for pour a "culvert" for a drive. I have one filled with concrete as a counterweight for the tractor with the loader.
     
  9. whiterock

    whiterock Well-Known Member Supporter

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    open one end, put ventilation holes in the top of the other end, add short legs and a board across the bottom of the opening and you have a dog house. A portion of another barrel on the front makes an awning.

    A hole cut in the side makes a mini poultry house with a roost. Ventilation is required.

    Just a 4" cut off the side will make a trough that will hold about 50 gals. It can be placed under a fence to water two pens.
     
  10. nobrabbit

    nobrabbit Transplanted Tarheel

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    We made a cold smoker out of one for our bacon and hams.
     
  11. shadowwalker

    shadowwalker Well-Known Member

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    If you are using a cutting tourch. Fill the barrel with water about 2" from the top before cutting top, use this method for any container that had a flammable in it before. I've cut a hole in the middle of one end about a 10" circle. Then I get a piece of metal and make a door to fit over it. Then I set it on it's side and fill it with compost material. You roll it a little every other day . to turn compost.

    Shadowwalker
     
  12. Ross

    Ross Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    We use some as sono tube for casting concrete. Have you priced cardboard sono tube!!?? YIKES! Cut in half with concrete and used as a holder for posts you can make a portable fence.
     
  13. barbarake

    barbarake Well-Known Member

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    I never would have thought of some of these things!! Burning out stumps will be my first project. And the portable fence support also sounds good.

    Personally, I liked the teeter-totter. Unfortunately, my kids are too old for that but maybe in a few years...
     
  14. Little Quacker in OR

    Little Quacker in OR Well-Known Member

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    :) Re the tip already mentioned...one of our neighbors has one, painted black with white letters that say UPS...it's mounted on it's side of course and about 36" high off the ground right next to the mail box.

    They make good nest boxes for geese also. Only in a mild climate though I would think.

    Another neighbor who has had back surgery uses them(she has at least 200 of them)for planting everything! Her whole garden is in those barrels. They stand upright with about 1/4 cut off the top and the edges protected so they are not sharp. There's two that sit on each side of her gate(all painted pretty)with climbing roses in them. She grows flowers and veggies in them. I was impressed with the tomato vines that just spilled down the sides along with the squash, cucumbers and such.

    You are going to have a great time! LOL LQ
     
  15. Gimpy_Magoo

    Gimpy_Magoo Well-Known Member

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    I have been extensively researching the uses of Barrels to build bbq and smokers.

    I would NEVER recommend anyone use a barrel that held anything but food products for these uses. Chemicals and oils are extremely toxic and dangerous. The only true way of determining if a toxic barrel has been cleaned well enouph it to see if you get sick or die after using is for food stuff. Yes, even burning out a barrel doesnt gaurantee a safe barrel.

    Use common sence.

    I like the concrete forms idea the best - THANKS !!!


    Gimpy