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I have a 55 gal metal drum that I want to burn in. Does anyone know how to set this up? Answered

I have a 55 gal metal drum that I want to burn in.  Does anyone know how to set this up?  I think I want to bury it a little so we don't have to stand up all the time.  Someone said to set on something in the ground for ventilation.  Everyone says something but I can't find anyone that just knows how.  Thanks for your help.

I want to use the drum for outdoor fun.  Bon fire type of thing with an occasional marshmellow roasting. 


If you want to burn in it, just throw in some wood, paper and lighter fluid, get a nice fire going, and jump in!

Of course, if you want to burn something in it, that's a whole other story.

Get an old washer tub. Set it on a tire rim. They work great!


" Everyone says something but I can't find anyone that just knows how."

Perhaps if you could provide a little bit of information about what you intend to use this for, people would be able to give you more detailed answers. Are you burning trash, making an outdoor fireplace, campfire ring, or barbeque grill? All I get from your question is that you want it to be shorter than it is. Why?

For the record, I do "just know how" to burn stuff in a drum. You put flammable stuff in a drum and set it on fire. Everything after that is details, which is where the devil is, I'm told.

Thank you for your reply.  I want to use the drum as outside fun.  Bon fire type with the occasional marshmellow roasting.

In that case, I would consider cutting the drum in half, rather than burying it in the ground. Burf's point about rust is 100% right. It would last longer above ground. Use a jig saw with a metal-cutting blade to saw the drum in half. Set it up on a few bricks around the edge to allow a little airflow underneath, poke 3-4 large vent holes in the sides near the bottom, plus a few small holes in the bottom itself to let any rainwater drain out, and you're good to go.
You can even get a grill to go on top and use it with charcoal to cook burgers, if you want. Either a real grill from the hardware store, or the side panel from a metal shopping cart, or a hunk of expanded steel. Any of them will work.
Consider orksecurity's comment regarding residue of the previous contents before breathing or eating anything that comes out of the drum, though.


8 years ago

Burying it in the ground is not a good idea. It will rust out in a year or two. And, you will need to punch a series of holes near the bottom rim of the barrel for air circulation.
Mainly though, have you considered the pollution factor?
Will the local government permit outdoor burning?
Will the neighbors complain about the smoke and odor?
Think about buying a trash compactor, they work well and are much more environment friendly.

Agree strongly with all the above.


Think about what was in the drum before. Are you sure you want to be breathing it?

If you must do this, consider putting some metal screening over the top after you light it, to keep embers from flying off on the updraft and possibly igniting other things (like your house).

Paper can also be composted.

I have friends who live out in the middle of nowhere and must take their own trash to the dump. I can't entirely blame them for burning some of their trash. But I suspect that anyone who has a legiimate need to do this also has a neighbor who is already doing it -- so I'd suggest you look for smoke and then ask for advice there.

Burf answers most of the important stuff (and things you should consider).

If you just want a fire-pit/liner, you could bury it in the ground, but it will rust unless you get it coated with temperature-proof (bbq) paint...

If you want to bury it, make a drainage bed of sand (a few inches) then gravel (6 inches) to rest it on, at an appropriate depth.  Trouble with this approach:  Burn barrels are terrible at getting enough air down to the fuel; you want to use a picaxe or similar 'big' instrument (We used a dull axe) to punch holes at the bottom-most that you can to allow air in, flow past the fuel, burn, then exit the top.  If its buried in the ground, then you're s.o.l. for air intake unless you add a blower and plumbing.