-   Q-talk (
-   -   Need help with oil tank smoker build (

dhaberberger 03-20-2013 12:51 AM

Need help with oil tank smoker build
2 Attachment(s)
Hi guys, I just joined the Brethren and am hoping to get some help with building a kick a** smoker from a standard 200 gallon oil tank. I'm trying to increase capacity to be able to entertain large crowds.

So I've brought the oil tank. I attached two pictures. The form is in good shape but the whole thing is covered in rust (inside and out). I have a design and bought a new Bosch jigsaw with a bunch of metal cutting blades and am ready to dive in. Here are a list of questions I would love to hear opinions on, but really any advice with this build is appreciated as this is the first smoker I'm making.

1. What is the general process? As an example of what I'm talking about, this is my plan as of now: make major cuts, burn all nasty stuff out with long extremely hot fire, clean off rust, do the build, paint, season with long hot smoke.

2. Exactly how and when do you guys deal with the rust?

3. I've only ever seen welded smokers. I thought about it and I don't have the money and/or time (I have a 1 month old infant!) to get into welding as I know nothing about it. I also don't want to have someone else do it for me. So I was planning on doing everything with bolts and nuts. Sure it'll be a bit more tedious, but is there any reason why this wouldn't work?

Ok, thanks ahead of time for any responses. I'll certainly take tons of pictures and keep everyone here in the loop!

BigBellyBBQ 03-20-2013 03:25 AM

put out a call to local bbq
I see you are in Rochester, there are several local guys that have bbq interests and shop equipment to help really need a brake or make up using a press / bars. a.sawzall...wizard wheels...a welder or even a cheap mig, if you bolt stacks on you need flanges bent up for mating surfaces...try to find some local help, try to find a cooker / plan that you feel you can copy..good luck...but post on here or even craigs lists that you could use some help with equipment, someone can do some of what you need while you are doing something for them..barter..
also, why is your weather so much nicer than mine? I have ice / snow and wear a Carhart overhauls and you are in shorts? only 70 miles away?

Dr_KY 03-20-2013 03:46 AM

I started my build by using loads of masking tape. Physically mark out in tape how you want it to look, when done sit back and think about your design an see if it's practical and plausible.

I would mount it on a trailer just as you haveit in your truck and only cut the top 3/4 of the way back allowing for a second shelf to be mounte up high.

Have a look here for ideas.
I would post photos but this iPad sucks an I'm not on tapatalk.

smokinrack 03-20-2013 08:57 AM

We built one and the first thing your going to want to do is clean the tank out as good as possible before you start cutting anything, fill it up with water let it sit a few days drain it and do it again.

Ours didnt have that much rust on it but what it did have was a lot of paint we werent sure about at higher temps so there was a lot of sanding involved.It also took care of the rust that was present.

The more you cut on the barrel and after the initial burn inside it the metals going to want to warp some.This might make getting a good seal problematic if your trying to bolt it all together we had to do a lot of heating, clamping, and welding reinforcements on to get everything back to straight.

What are you planning to use for a firebox?

DownHomeQue 03-20-2013 09:42 AM

First things first.. go to dealership swap that ford for a chevy! :shock:

DownHomeQue 03-20-2013 09:48 AM

but on the serious side.. i would buy a grinder (Harbor Freight) get the warranty because it won't last.... and some grinding wheels.. make a horizontal cut for the door (have you thought about where you are putting the door yet?).. and then do your long hot burn... that will help loosen up that rust inside and out.. then get a wire wheel for your grinder and go to town! (with a dust mask or respirator of some type)... then if you are building outside.. i would buy some cheap paint to keep the rust on the outside from coming back... cover with tarp when you are not actively working on it.. these are the things you could do now.. as far as completing the whole build without welding i can't help much with...:doh:

JandJbuidasmoker 03-20-2013 10:47 AM

Not sure if it would be easier without welding, either way you will have a blast with your build! Good luck and ask as many questions as you need! These guys know EVERYTHING!!!

bigabyte 03-20-2013 11:24 AM

I'm thinking you will have one helluva time trying to get a decent seal around the doors without any welding. Like others have mentioned, there might be welders in the area, maybe even members on this site, who might be willing to do it if you buy materials, beer, and feed them some good BBQ when it's finished. Maybe not, but worth a shot.

Zak 03-20-2013 11:32 AM

I built this without a welder except for the firebox and racks, which i had a buddy with a welder do for me. Everything was bolt on and off-the-shelf parts. If you want some help PM me.

dhaberberger 03-20-2013 05:08 PM

Thanks for all the responses. To address a few:

I'm planning on building a vertical smoker, no box. Somewhat representative of a Backwoods smoker. Charcoal on the bottom, water pan above, and three racks on top that are spaced enough to hold ribs, or remove the top rack and do a whole hog!

Since I'm using bolts and nuts, I imaging the seams will need extra strips of stock metal bought from home depot...this allows me to connect two sides without bending any metal.

Sounds like burning it out at the beginning will losen up all the cr** inside making it easier to sand off. It'll be inside after that, but maybe I should oil it up during the process? Anyone know of good rust removal products that they've used?

BigBellyBBQ 03-21-2013 02:11 AM

dont waste your time buying strips from Home Depot....there are several sheet metal shops in your area, they have scraps or drops that you can pick up for cheap..they can shear even what you need...belly up to a local shop, they will become friends for food! and you will need angle iron, strips, grates all shorts of raw will be a kid in the candy store..round tubing..square tubing...some good stuff...even go to scrap yard..stainless exhaust for 2 bucks pound! endless opertunities for cut offs...

a Backwoods design has the heat / smoke moving on the outside perimeter, not just vertical convection, it travels on the outside, as this is a double wall construction, approx 1" space between the outside and inner cooking chamber, then transfers at the top into the cooking chamber and then exits through the bottom of the cookiing chamber to the exhaust chimeny..a boiler plate seals the fore pit from the inner cooking chamber..
if you decide on a upright box cooker and just using a fire chamber open to the food, like a big wsm, you will find all wood cooking will have very uneven temps inside your food chamber, a great minimal heat loss to the outside, however due to the size of cooking chamber and radient heat loss, you will need btu's to maintain temp which might cause food to be dark so install baffle plates and direct the smoke to the outside walls, to eliminate direct heat / smoke on your food, this will give some time for the deposits/ residule to attach to the walls and not the food..
also dont waste your time with rust removal, clean with good soap and water first///once complete a couple hot fires then coated with veg oil will do the trick.
use a cup wire brush though on your seams where you are attaching braces or supports and if using gaskets coat your mating surfaces with food grease or pam..
you are welcome to stop by the shop to see a backwoods or others if you need ideas..
I have built many many smokers / cookers/ grills and it is a fun trip every much to do and then that first cook is very rewarding!!

dhaberberger 03-22-2013 07:10 AM

Wow, BigBelly, thanks for all the tips. I gotta find a metal shop in Rochester and a scrap yard....sounds like good ideas to me.

I had no idea that the Backwoods were so complicated. Well, in that case I am just doing a standard vertical smoker. I will take note to divert the heat and smoke away from meat...gotta think about that. For now, my plan is to have a huge water pan spanning the entire length of the cooker above the coals (plan on using charcoal, not wood), and leaving a 1-2" opening around the outside of the pan. Do you think that'll be enough or I need to put more stuff between the water pan and the meat?

By the way, the picture was taken last summer, that's why I'm in shorts!

I would love to visit your shop. Actually, my brother is coming in town in two weeks and would love to go to. He owns a BBQ team, and is really the one that started all of this for our family. But we have the wives as well, so we'd have to sell the trip as something else. Is there anything interesting around Lake View to see?

BigBellyBBQ 03-22-2013 08:38 AM

right now dont bring your shorts, unless the 1/2 frozen lake interest you..get that drum kooker moving so you can do some learning! I started with that same drum in 1980, buy used it horizontal, which you will need to do for a hawg..I can sketch it out for you..

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 01:35 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
vBulletin Optimisation provided by vB Optimise v2.6.0 Beta 4 (Lite) - vBulletin Mods & Addons Copyright © 2014 DragonByte Technologies Ltd.
2003 -2012 BBQ-Brethren Inc. All rights reserved. All Content and Flaming Pig Logo are registered and protected under U.S and International Copyright and Trademarks. Content Within this Website Is Property of BBQ Brethren Inc. Reproduction or alteration is strictly prohibited.