Cool Hand

Finishes that work for aluminum - High Heat

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Been a while since I posted here so forgive if I have this in the wrong spot. I currently am knee deep into a smoker project and I really want to use a 120 gal tank I was given by my uncle.

Just one caveat though. After removing some of the paint in transport I quickly realized after draggin this thing 100 miles that it is made of aluminum. It is a nice thick tank so I can imagine why I shouldn't use it anyway.

I am building this thing from the ground up. All the steel parts that are showing I am putting a gunmetal finish on. Wood will be stained a dark red.

WHat I am hoping you guys can give me is some insight on refinishing this old aluminum tank.

Short of using some exotic acid, is there anything I can use to make this thing look good, not peal when heated and not poison those I deem worthy of eating my smoked pork and chili?

I am also having a challenge with mounting the silly thing, but I think I am going to learn the job of cooper and use a wagon wheel band around either end.

I appreciate any input you can provide. Pics will be a coming soon.

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You could have it anodized any color that you wished, or just give it a good polish, or "brushed" finish. When I had my shop I found an auto body DA sander gave aluminum a nice satin finish. With smoking the heat isn't that great, so a good stove/bbq paint would also be ok on the outside. With old paint on the inside you could use an aluminum safe stripper, or just get a fire built in it to soften the paint enough to scrape it.

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What about jeweling it like the old airplane cowlings?

Isn't that brushed creating overlapping spots with a full cup on a lower speed drill? That would be sharp looking!

Painting may be problematic as aluminum does not accept paint very well. You would need a high temp aluminum primer compatible with your high temp paint. However isn't a smoker typically operated below 350F? Is your firebox integral or separate?

Many propane BBQ's are die cast aluminum, so taking the heat isn't a problem. Keeping it nice looking for the long haul is another story.


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