Step 5: The barrels

Picture of The barrels
Once the frame was ready, I began working on the barrels which are made from 55 gallon drums.

I decided to use blue since they get warm and will heat the compost inside. The barrels need to be a dark color since light colors will reflect the sun and heat is important when composting.

Using a 2 inch hole saw, I cut holes exactly in the center of the bottom and top of the barrels. This is what the pole will go through.

Then, using a rotary saw, I cut a rectangular door into each barrel. Take care that the door is big enough to allow comfortable access to the inside of the barrel.

After that, I used a drill to drill several hundred holes all over the barrels to allow for air to circulate inside the barrel. Air is also important when composting.

leander374 years ago
The number of holes seems excessive IMHO. I would be worried about compost drying out. When I build this, I'd think about cutting the number of holes in half. Any thoughts?
iPodGuy (author)  leander374 years ago
Definitely go with less. You can always drill more later if the compost is not breaking down properly.

Half of them clog anyway.
0087adam6 years ago
would it be a good idea to paint the inside white, since white reflects light and heat, and the outside black so it absorbs it but keeps it inside?
SeaMonkey316 years ago
My coworkers and I are starting a "depression" garden, and would like to make a composter. My question is where did you get the barrels that you used?
Check Craig's List online. I found there or four sources for barrels there. Make sure you check to see what the contents were originally. Pretty much anything that says Ortho would be a no-no. The one I bought recenty for $20 had strawberry/kiwi juice. mmmmm nice smell!!
iPodGuy (author)  SeaMonkey316 years ago
I get mine at work.
metallives6 years ago
I have no idea where to start looking or asking for barrels - any tips?
iPodGuy (author)  metallives6 years ago
There are a lot of tips in the comments section of this instructable. I get them from work because we buy our chemicals in bulk. Maybe speak to the maintenance department of a school, hospital or other type of building that might do the same.
bosenbaugh6 years ago
I love this design and have decided to copy it exactly. Have you been pleased with it? Any problems or things you would change?
EDDoc616 years ago
Great job with those vent holes. That's one steady drilling hand!