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Charcoal Grill From a 55 Gallon Drum Build Finished PICS!!
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Stu In Tokyo
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Joined: 05 Jul 2009
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 05 09 10:28 am    Post subject: Charcoal Grill From a 55 Gallon Drum Build Finished PICS!! Reply with quote

As I mentioned in my introduction, this will be a build for a good buddy of mine. He bought a used oil drum, well actually it held red wine from Oz a while ago, he said he wanted to make a large oil drum type BBQ, for the occasional time he has large parties, and for when he wants to cook something big like a haunch of venison, or a small pig, or when he goes down to the beach for a large party. He lives just about 100 yards from the beautiful beach in an area South of Tokyo called Zushi. At the public beaches here, you cannot use the LPG type BBQs, it is illegal, they WILL take you BBQ and at the very least fine you, so Charcoal is the only way to go.

My initial basic idea is to slice it in half, some hinges on it to open and close like a clam shell. I'll put an ash pan in the bottom, using thin steel and some expanded mesh, then I'll put a large grill on it, made up of 1/4" cold rolled steel, as I know this will out last the expanded mesh grills, which usually sag after a few uses. Good large handles on the grill is another idea, to make it easy to lift off.

I'll be making a frame on the inside of the lid and the bottom of the grill, to help the grill hold it's shape.

What about vents? I'm thinking that two holes drilled in each side, with a corresponding set of holes on a plate that can be rotated to cover or open the vents would work....?

large handle on the top, and a large rack on the front to hang tools from. I'm also thinking a grease pot on the bottom, hung under a grease hole might be a good idea....?

The whole thing would be on a stand, with two wheels on the one side and two legs on the other.

Now, the more I look at various designs, I think slicing the drum in half is a mistake, and I'd rather cut a door in it, so to speak, from about half way on the drum horizontal, to just past vertical. I'd use some flat bar to make the door larger, to seal against the drum, and some hinges to make the door open and close. I'm also thinking on putting a door in one end to allow the addition of charcoal, as taking the grills off to add charcoal is a pain. I'd certainly put a chimney on one end, and a vent on the other to be able to regulate heat better.

Well, I'm off to my work shop to do some drum cutting, I'll be back later with pics tonight.

Any thoughts, comments, advice or pics would be most welcome.

Cheers!


Last edited by Stu In Tokyo on Mon Aug 03 09 10:57 pm; edited 3 times in total
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Skidder
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 05 09 7:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Keep us posted on the progress. I'm interested.
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Stu In Tokyo
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 05 09 9:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

OK, this is what I got done today.......


Here is the drum, it has a removable cap, which I'll have to weld on later.
The drum is painted inside, which is going to smoke like heck the first time it's fired up, not something I'll be doing, as I live in the downtown area of Tokyo. My buddy, who lives by the sea, he will get to fire it up, and smoke out his neighbours, maybe we will do it at night, sneak down to the beach and let it rip Smile He'll be painting it too, after the first time it is fired up.


I used the seam on the drum as my front cutting line, easy, as it was nice a square, to cut the lid into the drum, I used a 5cm block of wood and a marker to keep things consistent on both sides.......


To easily measure my top cutting line, equal distance from the seam, I put a piece of duct tape on the drum, and marked the seam, and where I wanted the top cut, I just eyeballed it. I then ripped the piece of duct tape in half, and now I have consistent measurements on both sides.....


..... then a piece of steel to mark the top cut and I cut the lid out of the drum.


Next I put a piece of angle iron in to make the top edge more solid, and along the front edge as well, to make it more solid and to make a place for the grill to sit on. I also put another grill holding angle iron on the opposite side, and used some sticks to hold it in place, with a clamp, and I could set my level on the sticks to make sure things were level.



Because of the ribs in the drum, I could not just simply hinge the lid to the drum, the ribs would have been in the way, so I made some stand off hinges, so the lid lifts up and out. I also put some flat bar on the top and will also do so on the rest of the bottom, to close the gaps in the lid as much as I can, this will not be as tight as some of the very nice other units I'm seeing, but it should help.

The hinges need some refining, I'll at the very least round everything over, but I'm thinking to also put a stop on the lid, so it does not go all the way back. A lock out for the lid might be in order as well, as this BBQ is slated for beach work, and beaches can get windy. Very Happy

I'm going to use square tubing for the grill outer edges and supports, but I'm thinking the expanded metal mesh stuff would sure be easy to make the grills.

I'll have to see what they have at the home center.

I need to pick up some more steel, for the base, as well as a couple of big wheels, and something to make a chimney and other bits and bobs.

Not a bad first day's work............?

Cheers!
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k.a.m.
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 05 09 10:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Stu, you are moving right along Very Happy she is starting to take shape, I will be watching for some updates.
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Awning Guy
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 05 09 11:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Very nice work Stu, I'm looking forward to seeing the progress, thanks for the post
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Vaughn
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 06 09 4:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Stu, if you poke around here and look at some of the smoker builds, you'll likely get some great ideas for your shelves. A lot of 'em are built to slide out easily, which might be a handy feature for this one, to allow loading more charcoal once it's cooking.

BTW, I'll bet some of the guys here would get a kick out of seeing pics of a place like like Super Viva Home.
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Stu In Tokyo
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 06 09 10:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Geez Vaughn, you are like gravity, you seem to be everywhere...... Shocked

....or at least anywhere worth going Very Happy

I did my trip out to Joyful Honda, my favorite Japanese BORG Laughing

Looking for some more steel to get this grill done and some bits and bobs to make it better, but I do have some questions, I hope some of you can answer.

In THIS thread Alien BBQ mentions a ton of good ideas about modifying store bought grills to work better. I know I can use a bunch of these ideas, but I do have some questions. Very Happy

First, the exhaust, Alien BBQ mentions that it needs to be longer than most store bought units are, OK, how long is long enough? I know that really long would be better, but there has to be a limit here, it is a free standing unit after all, that has to be portable, like taking it down to the beach (on a side note, I bought two BIG wheelbarrow wheels for the grill, that should make it easier to move around). How long, two feet, three feet...?

Alien BBQ also mentions bringing the exhaust down to the grill level, to make the smoke and heat, go around the meat (hey, that rhymes!).

I see a mod done in THIS thread, that shows the exhaust right down at grill level, it also shows a coal basket to one side and a baffle........ more questions Embarassed

OK, let's finish up on the exhaust first, what diameter should it be?

I'm in Japan, I could NOT get any chimney pipe smaller than 6" and 4' long, and it was EXPENSIVE, so I got something called "Dry Pipe" which is a fairly thin walled steel pipe, maybe 2mm thick steel, but the inside diameter is only 48mm (1 7/8"). Now in the thread mentioned above, Alien BBQ says to buy a 3" diameter piece of chimney pipe, well a 3" diameter circle has about 7 square inches of area, my small pipe has an area of 2.8 square inches. If you divide 7 by 2.8 you get exactly 2.5 Razz
So I'm thinking of putting 3 of my smaller pipe in as exhaust....... What do you think of that?

OK, on to the coal basket and the removable baffle box inside the grill, like shown HERE.....

I know that this is not a smoker, or a "BBQ" but I'm hoping that it can be used to do "some" smoking, so I'd like to add the coal basket and the removable baffle any thoughts on that?

Intake vent, I gather that the intake vent should be on the opposite end of the grill as the exhaust, Wink and not at the VERY bottom of the drum, as the ash build up can become a problem, so maybe about 3" or 4" off the very bottom of the drum...? I'm thinking of a very simple sliding vent, with holes in it, that can just be nudged open or closed.

Next up, how do you add charcoal to the grill while it is in operation? Removing the grill to do so is a pain, and could be quite dangerous. I'm thinking a simple slide up and down door on the same end with the intake would be the way to go, it would also make clean up of the ash afterwards easier.

Last question for this post Embarassed

The coal grate on the bottom, or near the bottom of the grill, I'm planing on using the same expanded mesh that I'll be using on the cooking grill, I guess it is about a 3/4" expanded mesh. Is that an OK size for the coal grate? My idea is to make a grate that is removable, of course, and it supported much like the cooking grate will be, so the expanded mesh does not sag to much with use.

Well, that is it for now, I know it is a bit of a long post, but the info and brain trust here is outstanding, so I thought it would rude NOT to query it Very Happy

Cheers!
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daddywoofdawg
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 06 09 11:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I would use the open end to my advanage and make a pull out drawer on that end to load the charcoal and put the vent on the drawer. and I belive the your idea of the three stacks would work you may be able to get away with two.I would also put the stacks on the side if your going to grill height; as the grill isn't that big and the stacks will block some of your grill use.if you wanted to put them in the top I would bring the stack inside the chamber a couple of inches, then put some flex pipe on them and bend the flex over to the sides.Just some thoughts
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Stu In Tokyo
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 06 09 11:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I forgot to post a couple of pics......


Here is one of the hinges further modified to be a lot "Cleaner"

Also, some pics of the grilling or BBQing selection here at my favorite DIY shop "Joyful Honda".......


A Brinkman stainless smoker, about $315US and this place actually HAS this kind of unit, number one, and is REALLY cheap compared to places in Tokyo proper.


A fine selection of charcoal Smile


A bunch of different grills and such, yes, those are Webber grills.


Smokers, and stuff to smoke with....


A Webber Smoker, dunno why it is up there on the shelf...?

It too is about $315US......

If you would like an idea of what Joyful Honda is all about, go *** HERE *** and see a little tour of it I made a while back.

Cheers!
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Stu In Tokyo
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 06 09 11:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

daddywoofdawg wrote:
I would use the open end to my advanage and make a pull out drawer on that end to load the charcoal and put the vent on the drawer. and I belive the your idea of the three stacks would work you may be able to get away with two.I would also put the stacks on the side if your going to grill height; as the grill isn't that big and the stacks will block some of your grill use.if you wanted to put them in the top I would bring the stack inside the chamber a couple of inches, then put some flex pipe on them and bend the flex over to the sides.Just some thoughts


A slide out drawer is a great idea, I'll have to explore that one Very Happy

I too was planing on putting the exhaust stacks on the end, the interface between the stacks and the end of the drum would also be where I'd put the dampers for the exhaust.

Thanks for the ideas!
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Stu In Tokyo
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 07 09 7:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bump......

Anyone have any advice about the length of the chimneys or the size of the intake etc?

Thanks
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Stu In Tokyo
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 08 09 4:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bump............

............. was it something I said? Question
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bigjoe
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 08 09 5:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Stu.... if you have Excel, try this...

http://www.thesmokering.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=20871&highlight=ratio+calculations

Should have everything you need.

Been a while since I seen ya on the other forums....hows the Dungeon?
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Stu In Tokyo
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 08 09 6:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

bigjoe wrote:
Stu.... if you have Excel, try this...

http://www.thesmokering.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=20871&highlight=ratio+calculations

Should have everything you need.

Been a while since I seen ya on the other forums....hows the Dungeon?


Thanks Joe.......... wow, that is a bit mind bending, lots of numbers there Shocked

The thing is, that is for a smoker, I'm building a charcoal grill, which I'm going to try to use as a bit of a smoker, but it does not have a fire box, for example, so I wonder if them numbers will work? Confused

I'll have to take a closer look at them.

The Dungeon is doing fine, except for the grill being built down there, it is a bit lonely, I'm elbow deep in another old apartment restoration, as well as my day job Rolling Eyes

I did get my new SawStop 3hp industrial cabinet saw down there and build a bench around it, with dueling router tables Laughing

Cheers!
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bigjoe
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 10 09 9:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Stu,

Since he might use it for a smoker also, I'd go with a 4-5" chimney and try a 4" adjustable intake to start with. Put the exhaust right below the shelf with a 40" rise. Used 24 dia x 36 length size for it. He can cap em when he grills with it. If I'm wrong, I hope someone with more experience will chime in. Confused
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Stu In Tokyo
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 10 09 10:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the info Joe!

We just got an e-mail from my buddy, and he is saying he want to cook a whole pig on this set up, is that going to be a problem with a direct heat grill?

Should I be seriously looking at adding a firebox to this thing Shocked

Another question, he wants to use it the day I deliver it, so I'm going to have to pre burn it to get the paint off the inside and outside, is there any other way to do this besides burning it out? how much smoke does this produce, I live in DOWNTOWN Tokyo, and I really do not want the fire department racing to my building, that would be a BIG problem.

Is it possible to remove the paint with a flap sander and then do a pre burn and seasoning the same day, or is this getting silly?

Oh yeah, he asked about a rotisserie for a smaller pig....... How do I go about doing that? Mad

Sure I'll build you a little drum grill............. Rolling Eyes

H-E-L-P
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bigjoe
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 11 09 4:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

My Dad did a whole suckling, in one like what your building, over direct heat. If I remember right....he supplied the skewer and the prongs to hold it, and the butcher centered it in the pig. A regular rotissory motor spun the thing.

Hell....since your into the build already, why NOT put an offset on it? Will make it more versatile (sp?).

Call the FD and let em know what your doing...or take it to the FD and, while they're eating the picnic ya packed for em, burn it there. Wink Very Happy Very Happy
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nes_matt
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 11 09 8:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Stu,

If you took the paint off with an abrasive before starting you'll reduce the smoke/stink I'm sure. But it may be more work than it's worth.

I agree with bigjoe that a call to the FD is in order before starting - a very sensible, American thing to do. However my experience with the Japanese is that there is a process and procedure for everything and you may end up being forced to get some permit to burn it out. Sometime it is better to beg forgiveness than ask permission. Maybe call them just after you've got the fire going! You can just say "I'm Gaijin" and forget any Japanese you know when they show up.
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Stu In Tokyo
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 11 09 8:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

nes_matt wrote:
Stu,

If you took the paint off with an abrasive before starting you'll reduce the smoke/stink I'm sure. But it may be more work than it's worth.

I agree with bigjoe that a call to the FD is in order before starting - a very sensible, American thing to do. However my experience with the Japanese is that there is a process and procedure for everything and you may end up being forced to get some permit to burn it out. Sometime it is better to beg forgiveness than ask permission. Maybe call them just after you've got the fire going! You can just say "I'm Gaijin" and forget any Japanese you know when they show up.


How much time you spend over here Matt, you certainly know how it works here Very Happy

I might very well do the flapper sander, on the outside at least, but I've already told my buddy that he will have to burn it in, paint the outside and cure the inside. He does not mind, as this is a gift to him, I'm not charging him a dime, he is my buddy after all Very Happy

Cheers!
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Stu In Tokyo
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 11 09 8:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I am making progress, I got the grill frames welded up.


I decided to go with a trap door in the left side grill, as the left side is where the air inlet will be. Tomorrow, I'll get the expanded mesh cut and a bunch of other stuff.

A question, under the grill, I have to put an "Ash Pan" (if that is what you call it), now I'm thinking that this is a pan, with a frame and an expanded mesh top, so the charcoal sits on the mesh and burns, the ash falls down through the mesh, and sits in the pan.

Does anyone have any kind of dimensions for me?

Is it also possible to line the bottom of the drum with something, (like mortar or concrete?) and just have an expanded mesh screen above the lining?

Help me out here guys, I'm flying blind Very Happy
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