Smoker Project


Old Mossy Horns
5EF3047D-6C18-4D40-B1EC-3B434DD24248.jpegPulled this bad boy out of the woods yesterday. 485 gallon propane tank, made in 1953. It’s last use was curing tobacco before my time.

Going offset, Franklin style. It’s gonna have a smallish insulated firebox and a big stack. Airflow is gonna be the main driver of the design, I want this thing to draw some air;) Haven’t decided on 2 or 3 doors yet, but single plane slide out grates for sure.

Gonna be a slow go, working on it when I get a few minutes here and there, but it’s gonna happen(y)


Four Pointer
Walls are close to half an inch thick. Plan out your doors first, and make cuts on hinge side. Weld on your hinges and then complete your cuts. Then weld on a 1 inch strap all the way around the opening to cover cuts. You can glue gasket material for wood stoves on the flange if you want to make it tight.


Six Pointer
Nice find, QBD2! You should be able to get, what? 2 or 3 racks of back ribs in that?

And at the risk of preaching to the choir....

Propane tanks are safe to cut once they have been filled with water and drained. Adding a stiff dose of Dawn dish detergent to the water and leaving the mixture in the tank for a few days goes a long way to getting the stink out but even with that most folks light a wood fire in the tank once it is cut open to burn off the smell and any oily residue that wouldn't clean out. A good weed or roofing torch can work too.

If your design includes removing the feet from the tank at some point make sure you at least lay out the door and firebox cuts while the feet are on it and it is much easier to be sure the cuts are both correctly placed and level/plumb. You wouldn't be the first person to make things harder by removing the feet too soon....

A gas or electric demolition saw with a metal cutting wheel makes short work of the big cuts for the doors and generally leaves enough gap for the doors to not expand and bind in the opening later when the smoker heats up. A metal cutting circular saw or angle grinder with a cutting wheel work well, too.

A good trick to help keep the doors from trying to spring back into a sheet and not fit the curve of the tank is to cut the sides of the doors and just the first several inches of each end of the top and bottom door cuts. Then weld on your trim strips at the side edges of the door and weld on your hinges. Now when you cut the rest of the door top and bottom free and the side door trim will help stiffen the door and will help keep the original curve so the door fits better.

It would be worth cruising over to the smoker build page linked below and checking out the build sub-forums. The sub-forums cover just about any smoker style you can imagine and there's a wealth of info there and some really helpful folks who have collectively built thousands of good functioning smokers all over the world. There are also proven calculators for firebox to cook chamber size ratios, the amount of exhaust draft needed, minimum dimensions for air vents, firebox to cook chamber openings etc.

Good luck on the build. Where are you? I expect to be making a few propane tank smokers this fall and winter.



Old Mossy Horns
We always purged them with either nitrogen or C0-2 after a good cleaning. Just to be safe. And usually some smartass would walk by with a hammer and smack the hell out of it when you got rolling good and completely shatter your nerves.

A plasma makes quick work out of what used to be a PITA with a torch.


Button Buck
Actually a good way of inerting the inside of the tank before cutting is to put a few pounds of dry ice into it with a little water, wait about an hour and bobs your uncle. With the CO2 gas rich interior of the tank, you won't have any fuel to risk an explosion.