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Q-talk *ON TOPIC ONLY* QUALITY ON TOPIC discussion of Backyard BBQ, grilling, Equipment and just outdoor cookin' in general, hints, tips, tricks & techniques, success, failures... but stay on topic. And watch for that hijacking.


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Unread 03-25-2011, 11:29 PM   #1
Guitar-B-Que
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Default HELP!!! I need a tank for a project smoker, and some tips. KC area.

I'm looking to build a large smoker for the first time. Probably 250 gallon or so. Not sure exactly cause I haven't been able to find a tank. I live in the Kansas City area and am willing to travel somewhat. Any tips on where to look? I've got some eyes out in scrap yards and Craigslist hasn't provided anything yet. So far I have a couple of axles for a trailer and a possible smoke box. I just need the tank and then I feel everything else will come along easier.

Really having a hard time trying to find one. Any tips on/and what what kind of price I should be paying for the tank? Also anyone have links to their own home built smokers with pics of the project and maybe a little info. Trying to get as much info going into this as I can.

Thanks in advance for your help!
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Unread 03-26-2011, 12:06 AM   #2
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I was having the same problem. I ended up going to several places that recycle old tanks and reclaim the leftover propane and after explaining my plans an assuring them I wouldn't blow myself up I got a 100 and a 200 gallon as well as a couple of forklift tanks and an invite to come back for more if I needed them. Might be worth checking places like this out.
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Unread 03-26-2011, 02:05 AM   #3
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This might sound dumb, but, what kind of places do that? What type of business? I've been to scrap yards and they say they don't see stuff like that often.
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Unread 03-26-2011, 01:14 PM   #4
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I looked up propane in the yellow pages and it had propane recycling centers listed and just drove down and talked to them. I figured it would be better to do it in person than over the phone. He was a little hesitant at first but after I explained that I would open the valves to drain the tank, purge it with auto exhaust then fill it with water for a week before I took a torch to it he was ok with it.
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Unread 03-26-2011, 01:19 PM   #5
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Too bad your 1400 miles away. I have a 250 gallon that was taken out of service because of a small pin hole that is less than a year old. I put it on CL this week and a guy from Miami is coming tom to buy it. I got a hook up at a local scrap yard on em here in Central Fl.
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Unread 03-26-2011, 02:02 PM   #6
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I used a 250 gallon water bowser (don't know what you would call them there) to make the meat beast.
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Unread 03-26-2011, 02:04 PM   #7
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Call a couple propane places and ask em?
that's where I'd start after c-list and stuff.
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Unread 03-26-2011, 04:13 PM   #8
Juggy D Beerman
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Default Do NOT cut open a tank with a torch!

Quote:
Originally Posted by firemedic View Post
I was having the same problem. I ended up going to several places that recycle old tanks and reclaim the leftover propane and after explaining my plans an assuring them I wouldn't blow myself up I got a 100 and a 200 gallon as well as a couple of forklift tanks and an invite to come back for more if I needed them. Might be worth checking places like this out.
I am amazed that these people would give you a tank after you told them what you had planned. If you had unsuccessfully cut those tanks open, your widow could have sued them.

Now what I am about to say is going to rub some people the wrong way, but so be it. Cutting open a used propane tank with a torch is the same thing as disabling a BOMB! Yes everyone has a tried and true method that worked for them or their third cousin Bubba's ex-brother in law. Why anyone would use information they found on the internet from a stranger on how to safely diffuse a bomb is beyond me.

People posting advice on how to safely do this are not doing anyone any favors. I have done a LOT of research on this subject over the years and here is what I have found. There are no written instructions on how to safely cut open a used propane tank. I have spoken to the American Welding Society and the National Propane Gas Association on this subject. Neither organization has a written standard procedure on how to safely cut open a tank with a cutting torch.

Why is this? The main reason is liability. A written manual makes the writer or the organization responsible for the information liable if someone is injured following those written instructions. In my discussion with the propane association, I was told that they do have certain recommended procedures they follow when disarming tanks and even then, tanks still blow up.

The number one cause of injury or death to welders and blacksmiths is cutting open a tank with a cutting torch. This includes new tanks as well as old tanks. If your torch is not running properly the acetylene can accumulate in the tank and ignite when more oxygen is introduced. The same thing applies when using vehicle exhaust. If the car happens to be running a little rich or has not burned all the gas before getting into the exhaust, it too can accumulate and ignite, and explode.

Filling a tank full of water provides another false sense of security. Once the initial cut is made, you will be introducing air into the tank as well as gas from the torch. Two hundred-fifty gallons of water that stinks is going to leave a mess too. Propane gas has been known to penetrate inside the top layer of the steel and explode when heated with a cutting torch.

There are just too many things that can wrong when cutting a used propane tank with a torch. Are they worth your life? The reason I am so opinionated on this subject is I lost a good friend who was a blacksmith. It wasn't a propane tank that exploded on him, just a 55 gallon drum. It was a procedure he had done a hundred times.

So my final words are these. If you find a tank, take it to a professional and have them cut it open for you. They will do a lot better job than you can do on your first try. There will be plenty of other cutting and welding to do once this is done. And don't listen to anyone's so called advice on how to safely do this at home by yourself. These people aren't doing you any favors and their "advice" may get you killed.

Beers for thought,

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Unread 03-29-2011, 02:32 PM   #9
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So there are places that will do the initial cut for you? That's good news to me. My friends and I that are planning on working this project can weld, but have no background doing things like this.

DR KY, have any other pictures of that thing?
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Unread 03-29-2011, 02:35 PM   #10
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Tank = Located!!

Now, any thoughts on possibly doing a 250 gallon tank upright instead of on it's side? We were just wondering if there are any examples out there?
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Unread 03-29-2011, 04:59 PM   #11
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I agree that cutting these tanks is VERY dangerous. In my case the company pulled the valves, purged the tanks and made the serial number and date on the tank illegible so I couldn't refill it either. I had a buddy that is a professional welder & pipefitter cut the tank and he used a die grinder while the tank was full of water. Yes it still introduces sparks but does not introduced any heavier-than-air gasses into a confined space. I am not an expert so my experience is just what worked for us, not advice.
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