I got my barrels the other day. I'm using 2 55 gallon barrels. I cut the lid & bottom out of one to use as the center section. The 2nd barrel, I cut on the top of each center rib to use as a base & a lid.
The 3 sections fit pretty tightly...should seal up nicely.
From left to right: Top, center, lid.
Here they are stacked.
I cut everything with a cutoff wheel on my angle-grinder. I left about 3/4" lip on the inside top & bottom, so that the center section will keep some structure. I may have to grind away some once I get the grills.
Note: They were both a seafoam green color w/ a bit of rust until I burned them out.
Well, other than paint & some sort of damper on the intake & chimney, it's done.
I picked up 2 replacement Weber grates & a Weber bottom grate at Lowes, along with several nuts & bolts. I then stopped at a metal supply place & bought a 12 3/4" x 50" piece of heavy guage expanded metal. Then I finally stopped by Walmart & got 2 thermometers for the smoker, and then 2 remote digital meat thermometers (all on closeout).
On the way home, I stopped at a buddy's house & picked up an old post jack (3" od) to use for intake & chimney (black iron pipe was going to cost over $25 for enough and this was free).
After several hours with the torches, welder, hole saws, etc., we have smoke.
I ended up with the first grate at 24" above the bottom of the charcoal basket, and the top grate about 14" above that. The thermometers are within 1/2" of the grates.
here's some more pics from today:
I put it through it's paces again tonight. I had it up to 800* for about 15 minutes 4 times & then let it sit at 500 for another 1hr. It's been holding 250* with the coals from that for the past 2 hrs w/ using foil as a damper on the intake & exhaust.
I still want to put some handles on it, paint it, and build dampers, but it's at least ready for meat now.