Are These Drums Safe For A UDS?

Discussion in 'Charcoal Smokers' started by michchef, Sep 21, 2009.

  1. michchef

    michchef Fire Starter

    I found 2 drums on Craigslist that a guy about 10 miles from me was selling. They're the kind with clamp on lids, but the clamps aren't the hand operated kind, they tighten with bolts. If you think they're safe to use, I may cut the clamps off and have spring loaded hand claps welded on.

    The outside of the drums say they contained "water reducible chassis paint" and that there were petroleom distillate solvents, alcohols and ether in it.
    One of the drums had had a fire in it previously and I couldn't see any signs of a liner in either. They both still smell like paint thinner. I'm thinking of hauling them up to a local hand car wash bay and using a long handled brush washing and scrubbing them up real good.

    Do you think they'll be safe to use or should I just clean them up and store my bags of biird seed in them?
  2. coffee_junkie

    coffee_junkie Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I have asked the forum many times about barrels that contain various stuff. The general response was not to use them unless they where food grade. If you do use these at least burn a couple of hot fires in them. Just my two cents!
  3. rickw

    rickw Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I wouldn't use them, just my opinion.
  4. hog warden

    hog warden Smoking Fanatic

    I'll dissent slightly. If it's a water based product, and those are not lined, you can probably use them. A good hot burn (meaning red hot) following a pressure wash should take care of most of the nasties. That stuff is probably less of a problem than a plastic liner would be. The plastic liner is pretty much a no go option.

    As to the bolt-on lid, you don't use the clamps anyway. Just the lid. Unbolt the ring clamp and toss it. If anything, the bolt might be an indication it's a heavy gauge steel drum, which given a choice, it not a bad way to go.
  5. bigsteve

    bigsteve Master of the Pit

    They sound like bad news to me. And I've never really understood what a burn out is supposed to accomplish. That's not sarcasm. I really don't understand how fire is supposed to magically negate harmful chemicals. Not being a chemist I don't want to find out the hard way.
  6. meat hunter

    meat hunter Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    I would not use them either, there are many clean food grade drums around, you just have to look. If you have any big canning facilities or businesses that make cooking oil ect, you can find them. Just think what you have in your area business wise that is food related. Chances are, they have a drum. If you lived closer to me, the business down the road has once used new drums, that contained coconut oil, 10 bucks for an almost brand new drum. For future reference, drums come in 2 styles, single and double chimed. Or rings. Meaning, on the top and bottom lips, industrial chemicals, petroleum based and so on have 2 rings opposed to the single rimed ones that are most common. So, if you come across a drum that has a extra rim around the top and bottm rings, maybe pass that one up as it probably had some nasty chems in it.
  7. beer-b-q

    beer-b-q Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I would first like to say, Welcome to the forum, be sure to stop in the Roll Call thread and properly introduce yourself to everyone.

    If you would tell us where you are located someone here may be able to advise you of a source for a safe drum that is food grade.

    For instance, here in Kansas City there are many sources in which a person can acquire them.
  8. billbo

    billbo Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I am a believer in not using those types of drums. For the safety of my family I bought a new one. More money, but I wasn't going to risk it.
  9. stubborn

    stubborn Fire Starter

    I'd burn it out and use it. The steel isn't permeable, so nothing "soaks into" the steel. All a burnout does is what it says--burns out any residue left in the drum. It'll never be as hot when you're smoking as it is when you burn it out. If it is, you've other issues--such as scorched Q.

    There've been untold amounts of Q made in old fuel drums, propane tanks, galvanized trash cans, pretty much anything round that will hold heat. I even came across a site showing a cardboard (?!?) in use...

    Oh yeah--and getting rid of the liners in the food-grade drums is more work than the Q is worth...And I think pretty dang highly of good Q!!
  10. jethro

    jethro Smoke Blower

    Basically If you have to ask, you already know the answer...NO. Just an FYI if you were to go to a car was and attempt run that stuff into a public sewer system you could be facing a HUGE fine and jail time as well. Signs at our local wash bays state a MINIMUM of $5000 and 1 year in jail. You could also face State and Federal charges as well. Leave those drums right where they are at.
    I see that from your username that you are most likely from Michigan, I lived in Michigan all my life until moving to AZ. in 2002. I really don't think you want to take on the DEQ for dumping toxins those boys take that stuff seriously.
  11. michchef

    michchef Fire Starter

    I appreciate your input on this, but now that I think of it, any environmental issues with these have most likely been created before I bought them. The guy I bought them from had had a fire in one of them and both had been hosed and rinsed out at his place. I don't see any residue in them, but I do smell solvent fumes. I'll build fires in both, hot enough to burn the paint off the outsides, then take them up to the car wash to clean out.
    I'm only using one of them to build a UDS, the other one I want to firebrick line and use as the firebox for a 275 gallon oil drum that I've been promised.
  12. bigsteve

    bigsteve Master of the Pit

    Friend, you're making a mistake.
  13. michchef

    michchef Fire Starter

    Why do you say that Steve? I've been told that the steel isn't porous, so if burned and scrubbed what would be left to hurt?

    Convince me! [​IMG]
  14. danbury

    danbury Smoking Fanatic

    I'm jumping on the "do not use" band wagon here. It's pretty simple... if I even thought there was something toxic/harmful in a barrel, I would not use it. It's not worth even the slightest chance.
  15. bigsteve

    bigsteve Master of the Pit

    You don't know anything about the subject, and asked here. You got overwhelming responses saying "Yikes! bad idea." But you chose to hear the one response that fit your needs.

    It's not like you're picking and choosing over advice that says to foil your meat or not. We're talking about toxic chemicals. Personally, in this regard, I feel you would be foolish to accept the advice of total strangers on the net suggesting you move forward with your plans.

    It would of course be different if someone supplied you with links to published information on the subject.

    Sorry to be blunt, but that's the way I'm wired.
  16. mballi3011

    mballi3011 Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Run away and don't stop
  17. littlechief

    littlechief Fire Starter

    I wouldn't use anything that still had fumes after being burnt out. I would like to know why it seams to be acceptable to use old propane tanks but not old oil barrels? The chemical they use to make propane smell is toxic.
  18. rickw

    rickw Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    When I opt to make another uds I will make it a point to buy a brand new, never used, drum. It is my experiance, building 2 drums, it is a pain in the a$$ to do a total burn out then sanding down to bare metal.

    For the time and energy it takes it's worth it imo.
  19. bigsteve

    bigsteve Master of the Pit

    How do you find a new drum to buy? What would a drum manf be listed in the phone book as? Fabricators?
  20. rickw

    rickw Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I just did a search on the net and found two manufactures in the Chicago area. They ran around $80 a piece.

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