Monthly Archives: August 2013

Sanding and painting the barrel for the UDS smoker project


Got a little more work done on the UDS smoker project this weekend.  After the recent burnout, the next step was to give the barrel a quick sanding and painting.  To give it the quick sanding / stripping I used one of my favorite things from 3M, their paint / rust remover attached to an air powered die grinder.  Considering that most of the paint was actually burnt off from the fire, it really just took a few minutes to get it down to bare steel.

Many years ago I bought a can of high temp paint with the plans of refurbing a grill I had at the time.  I ended up replacing that grill but still had that can of high temp enamel on the shelf, imagine my surprised when it turned out being white paint instead of the black that I was expecting.  Still, I wanted to give the barrel 3 coats of paint so the first coat ended up being the white.


I ended up finishing the task up with 2 coats of high temp black enamel.


It’s time to start adding some of the hardware needed for the cooking racks and handles.  I am planning on going with stainless steel hardware and will update the blog here as I get to that.  I will be out of town this coming weekend so things might be sitting in this state for a couple weeks.

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Burning out the barrel for my pellet UDS Smoker project

UDS Burnout

Burning out the barrel for my current smoker project

Mother nature brought us a good amount of rain over the last 24 hours, it has been very dry for at least 6 weeks, and according to internets the local burn bans had been lifted.  This gave me the opportunity to do the next step in my UDS project which was burning out the barrel, so I filled it up with some scrap cedar, which burns very hot, and lit it up.

Burning out the barrel accomplishes 2 things.  First, and most important, it cleans out the inside of the barrel and does away with any chemicals or residue that might still be there.  The 2nd thing it does is help remove all the paint on the outside of the barrel allowing me to more easily paint it with a high temp paint in the color I decide I want to go with.

Stay tuned as more updates will be coming soon.


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Resurrection of the Sancha rebuild project

Sancha on the Apache Trail

My 1968 FJ40 Toyota Land Cruiser

Long time readers of this blog, long before I broke off the photoblog and then messed up my database and reset things here, will remember that I used to post updates here about the rebuild project I had going on with my 1968 FJ40 Toyota Land Cruiser, Sancha.

Sadly that project got put on hold for a lot longer than I really wanted it to, pretty much 2 years, part of that was due to our move to Washington state from Arizona, but an even bigger part was simply not having the extra money to dedicate to her.

Sadly the budget side of things has not changed, but I am feeling the need to get back to work on her.  Fortunately there are a lot of things I can do that won’t require a lot of money, a big part of that is simply breaking things down again after I bolted everything back together for the move.  Sadly those blog posts no longer exist here, but I do have an online archive of the rebuild project on a Land Cruiser forum and over the next few weeks I will be re-creating a lot of those posts here to get everyone up to date on where I am at with the build.

Stay tuned and if the planets align, maybe I can get the old girl back on the road before another year or two passes me by.


Posted in Toyota Land Cruisers

Pellet Ugly Drum Smoker – a new project

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Starting the project with some rusty old barrels


I suspect that you might be wondering why I am starting a blog post here on my personal blog by showing an iphone image of 3 old and rusty 55 gallon drums.  Well, the answer is quite simple, I am starting a project to build a pellet fired “Ugly Drum Smoker” for UDS for short.

For those that know me, you know that real BBQ is somewhat important to me.  I have had meat smokers of one style or another for many years and IMO there are few things better to eat that BBQ that is cooked low and slow over a long period of time.  I have also come to the conclusion that there is no such thing as a one size fits all, or does all, when it comes to smokers.

I have been wanting to get something that I can put a huge brisket in, set it and forget it, and have BBQ 12 to 14 hours later.  None of my current setups will allow me to do that and I have to set my alarm clock for every 2 to 3 hours to check the smoker temp, needless to say that doesn’t really let me get a lot of sleep on smoke nights.

Obviously the first thing I needed to start this project was a 55 gallon barrel, I debated for a long time as to what sort of barrel I wanted to get, I would have loved to find an unlined, food grade barrel but I simply could not find one.  I ended up finding these, which are unlined and held an alcohol based solvent, I did read the MSDS for the solvent and I am very confident that these barrels are a safe choice, especially after I give them a good burn out.  More to come on that later.

The first thing I needed to do was cut the top out of one of them.  I really thought I had the perfect tool for that in my trusty jigsaw, the problem was something broke in my saw and after about half way through the cut the blades simply would not stay in the saw.  I am a firm believer that when all other tools let you down, a reciprocating saw will always come to the rescue.

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After a lot of cursing at the broken jigsaw and grabbing the reciprocating saw to finish things off, I should have just used it in the first place, I have a barrel that is ready for a burn out.

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As I said, the next step will be burning out the barrel with a very hot fire.  I will have to wait some time for that as we are currently under a burn ban here in western Washington, but that is ok, it gives me time to assemble some of the other parts that I will need.

Stay tuned, I plan on posting the progress of my pellet fired USD build here on the blog.  I promise to have better pictures going forward also. 🙂


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