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Thread: Burning wood in 55 gallon drum

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Location
    Toronto, ON
    Posts
    514

    Default Burning wood in 55 gallon drum

    I have a 55 gallon drum which I'd like to use to burn branches and wood. Needless to say this will be used outside. The purpose is not to create heat but just to burn the stuff off quickly and efficiently.

    How do I let the air in and how do you remove the ash? Do I drill holes at the bottom or on the sides? Has anyone seen a plan for such a project?

    I'd like to use the drum in a vertical position. I'm willing to do a little cutting and welding, so that it will be convenient and efficient.

    Thanks.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    Bremerton Washington
    Posts
    5,007

    Default

    Put a grill about 6" off the bottom. Punch a 4" hole below the grill. Add a draft fan to liven things up.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    Oregon Coast
    Posts
    988

    Default

    Burn barrels are becoming a thing of the past, but here is Alaska's burn barrel site. http://forestry.alaska.gov/burn/burnbarrel.cfm

    Mel
    _____________________________________________
    Mel Larsen
    Remember when your cup holder sat next to you and wore a poodle skirt?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Utah
    Posts
    1,834

    Default

    rotate,

    I use one to burn leaves, wood, etc. like you plan to do. For mine I just knocked both ends completely out with a cold chisel and tacked welded a piece of expanded metal on one end. I didn't make any draft control as I wanted the fire to burn fast and clean. Also, on "that" same end I tacked welded some legs that will keep the barrel about 6-inches off the ground for good air movement.

    Once one gets a fire going the whole thing will be like a blowtorch with very little smoke! I use another piece of expanded metal on the top when burning leaves as the burner will just "blow" them into the sky ! Oh...for leaves, I made a "chute" on the side so they can be added to the fire at a slower rate to avoid smoke.

    I like the expanded metal on the bottom because it allows plenty of air and also makes for easy cleanup. It tends not to melt because there is so much air going past it. The expanded metal on the top is another story - It'll melt especially if one is not careful.

    If one uses it to burn larger sticks then the outside of the barrel will get red hot and will shoot flames 10-feet in the air....no visible smoke though!

    My brother once made his burner with two barrels weld together (end to end) but that created just too much draft to control.

    By the way...this burner is used on the ranch...so no one is within 10 miles of me to complain

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Oroville, WA
    Posts
    10,952

    Default

    Put the barrel on it's side, off the ground between rows of cinder blocks. Open a hole at one end to feed in burnables - some kind of door and damper is a very good idea but if you need something in a hurry, a galvanized garbage can lid works great. I have a cast iron door with damper on the loading end of mine, available as a kit. Includes iron legs. At the top of the rear install an 8" dia 6' stove pipe with screen to catch sparks. The kit I used includes an iron flange for this chimney pipe.

    Fuel it, light it, mind the damper. Keep a hose handy. It burns hot and fast.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    Western New York U.$.A
    Posts
    7,266

    Default

    I got tired of waiting for Mother Nature and he lightening bolt to light up my yard waste so like a lot of country folks, I do it myself.

    I layed my new barrel over on it's side and abused it with a pickax on the bottom 1/2 of it. Made maybe 30 holes all around it. You should have a few holes on the bottom to get rid of sloppy wet rain water so it won't rust too fast. Mine sits on 3 paver stones to allow the bottom not to rest on the damp soil. It is now 6 years old and I plan to get another year out of it before replacing it.

    Burning your yard waste makes your property and Ma Nature's safer by eliminating tinder. Mine is placed so it can be easily seen from the road so passing traffic won't call the VFD.

    Last edited by Your Old Dog; 10-27-2008 at 06:45 AM.
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    Thank you to our families of soldiers, many of whom have given so much more then the rest of us for the Freedom we enjoy.

    It is true, there is nothing free about freedom, don't be so quick to give it away.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Northwest Missouri USA
    Posts
    930

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    I've always holesawed about 6 1" holes about 6" above the bottom and again about 1/2 way up but.as usual, Old Dog has trumped me with his finesse and I will give up my sissified ways on the next one.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    8,774

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    MB's got the ticket, My Dad had one like that when i was a kid and wow did that thing kick arss, I remember having trouble with the leaves like you said and the side chute would be a nice addition, I was reading your write up and was thinking to myself what if you welded two barrels together, then at the end of your post you answered my question

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    N W La.
    Posts
    1,807

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    For the quick and simple version "dog" describes the method used around these parts where the term"trailer trash" is used frequently. Bout 90% of these folks use a burn barrel ... but seriously, its a quick, simple, inexpensive way to get rid of yard waste (or, even household waste by certain others).

    Along with "dogs" pick, an axe will put those holes around the bottom rim, that and 3-4 old brick or cinder blocks, a cup of kero/diesel and stand back!!
    If everything seems to be going well, you have obviously overlooked something........

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Taylorsville Ky
    Posts
    5,882

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    I did like YOD and punched holes in the bottom and sides at the bottom for air. It's just a burn barrel and don't need to be fancy.
    It's only ink and paper

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