Are you replacing your water heater and getting a new water heater installation? Stop your water heater installer before you allow him to haul off your old one. No doubt, he has designs on making the very thing that you’ve thought of making, but just didn’t have the right material to do it. The core inside your old water heater is perfect for making a great DIY barbeque grill. Here are the eight easy steps you can follow:
Step 1: Remove outer shell and insulation
Water heaters have an outer shell and a layer of insulation. You don’t need any of that. What you want to get to is the metal core inside the water heater. Remove the outer shell and strip off all of the insulation. You might need a wrecking bar or hammer and chisel to strip off some of the tougher stuff.
Step 2: Sand, prime and paint
Now that you have the metal core free of the bulk of the insulation go ahead and clean it up with a sander to make sure that you have a smooth, clean surface. Though you could save the next part for later, you might as well go ahead and prime and paint the metal. Use good quality products to help prevent rust and keep your grill looking new and clean.
Step 3: Create stand for grill
You’re going to want the tank standing up where you can work on it easily, so go ahead and build a good, solid stand which will provide stability for your grill:
• Weld two angles 8” to 10” apart running 2/3 the length of the tank and centered on the center of the tank
• Bolt or weld 4 angles approximately 36” long to the ends of the two angles attached to the tank
• Bolt or weld 4 more angles as supports between the 4 legs.
Step 4: Mark and cut hole
You can make the opening for the door of your grill as large as you like.What you need to keep in mind is that you will need plenty of room to reach the back of the grill and you’ll want plenty of room for your coals under the grate. Cut your hole, at least, from top center and 2/3 the distance in each direction (right over the legs of your stand), and leave 1/3 to ½ of the bottom of the tank in place for the coals.
Step 5: Make and attach grill lid
Here is how to make and attach the lid for your grill:
• Shape a piece of ¼” to 3/8” flat iron plate to the contour of the tank, which is 1” larger than the grill opening on all sides.
• Bolt or weld 2 or 3 (depending on grade), heavy strap hinges to both the door and the tank, being careful to center the door with an inch overlap on all for sides
• Install high temperature square braid packing rope along the edges of the door.
Step 6: Cut hole for smoke stack and attach
To install the smoke stack for the grill, cut a 4” diameter hole at the top of one end or the other of the tank. Weld a single piece of 4 ½” O.D. steel pipe (at least 12” long) over the hole. For a nice finishing touch, you can add a stove pipe cap that turns the smoke away from whoever is using the grill.
Step 7: Place grate inside the grill
To place the cooking grate inside the grill, weld two small angles parallel to each other on opposite sides inside the tank and even or slightly below the grill opening. Place your removable grate, cut from a sheet of expanded steel grating or other steel grating that will make a nice, even, grilling surface.
Step 8: Finishing Touches
The finishing touches on your DIY grill should include the following:
• The installation of a heat resistant door handle (if you didn’t already attach one earlier).
• Cutting a 4” hole in the bottom of the tank at the opposite end from the smoke stack and installing a sliding damper system.
• To make sure that you have the perfect temperature before you start grilling, go ahead and install a thermometer in the door of your grill.
• Finally, prime and paint all of the remaining surfaces of your grill lid, stand and smoke stack to give your grill a clean, fresh finish.
Though your water heater installer might want to haul your old water heater away, don’t let him. You can make your own DIY barbeque grill from the metal core of that old water heater, just like I’ve shown you.