Connect, dress, spray. Repeat

I’m not saying, just saying. I tend to do a fair amount of BBQ’n at home. I have burnt through 2 smokers in the short time that I have been smoking food. So I was currently out of a small cooker for personal use. I still had our large offset that I could use when the need for Que had to be fulfilled, but that needed a lot of wood and time for just a small amount of food. So what happens when you come across a problem? You create a solution.

My solution was building a UDS. For those of you that don’t know, a UDS is an abbreviation used for “Ugly/upright Drum Smoker”. These smokers are made from 55 gallon barrels.

55 gallon barrel 

If you aren’t lucky/rich enough to acquire an unused barrel that doesn’t have a liner in it AND has only been used for food products, then this is where the fun begins. For my project I located 2 barrels that were used for food, but had a liner in them. So the liner needed to be removed or the potential for nasty flavors would end up in the food. There are typically 3 options to go about this.

Option #1 Burn the liner out: While creating fire is a hobby I enjoy, I don’t particularly want to spend a bunch of time and wood burning out a liner. Scratch that idea.

Option #2 Grind the liner out: Sorry, say what you want but that just sounds like too much manual labor and too much time.

Option #3 Use a sand blaster: Now we are talking. Power tool, plus low physical activity, plus quick. How is this NOT the only option?

After making a call, because I have never used a sand blaster, much less own one, I borrowed one from a co-worker. He tells me that it is pretty simple and easy. Hook it up to an air compressor, turn the valves on in order, squeeze the handle and blast away. Oh yeah this is going to be so much fun. He did warn me about protective clothing.

I was getting excited. Within a day I will be creating a smoker.

Game on barrels!!! Prepared to be bare metal.

I loaded up the barrels and the sand blaster and off to work I went.

After getting everything done around the station I recruited my partner and got ready to blast the barrels. I even went and bought a hood and gloves. I surely don’t want to get hurt. Once everything was hooked up, I proceeded to get dressed with a sweatshirt, hood and leather gloves. That is pretty warm when it is in the 50s-60s.

Let’s do this. Air is flowing and I hear a brief 1/2 second sound of media hitting the barrel. Nothing.

No problem, he said it might have settled a bit. Get undressed, shake the blaster, get dressed and spray. Nothing!

OK frustration is starting to build. This is suppose to be the simple way of doing it. Maybe the hose or valve is clogged. Get undressed, disassemble the hose and unclog it. Put everything back together, get dressed again, turn it on and another 1/2 second of spray. Damn you blaster!!! DAMN YOU!!! Maybe we missed a clog somewhere, the scene of Clark Griswald standing outside with his son asking if they checked all of the bulbs came to mind.

After numerous repeats and lack of success. I finally gave in and said forget it. The picture below shows the progress that was made. Notice the barrel on the right with the silver dot next to the logo? That’s progress.


I got home the next day and took the barrels out back to have a “wienie roast”. I forgot to pick up the hot dogs. Oh well I am not going to let that little detail stop me. Let the creation of fire begin!!


Within no time  we had more progress than I had made all morning the day before.


That there is paint burning off <try using the voice of Hank Hill with that comment>.

After nearly 4 hours +/- we were nearly complete. But still had a little at the top of the can.

I called the friend that loaned me the blaster and he thought it might not have had a big enough tip. That was reassuring, so I didn’t worry about anymore burning.

With a new larger tip on the blaster, it was off to work again. This time we had a bit more success, about 2 seconds worth of progress each time.

I finally had enough progress to be satisfied with the results and move the project to the paint booth.

After about 3 coats one of the cookers was ready.


The other one could use another coat or two.

Next: The build


2 comments on “Connect, dress, spray. Repeat

  1. Leslie says:

    After seeing the pictures posted. My first though was OH MY GOD ! not for a job well done. But for what the hell did he do to the floors. Jasen doesn’t think much about anything but Smoke when Smoking is on his mind. I am not saying he is dumb by any means. But really you just paint the ambulance garage floors. What about his job? Was my mind frame. I am sure his was somewhere between hmm what other color could I add. And Damn not to bad for my first time. One things for sure I am glad he took it to work.

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