Our old chiminea that I built a couple of years ago has given us great service. On cool mornings I would get up and light it and we would enjoy our morning tea in comfort. The only problem we had with it was that we had to cut the firewood in half because of the diameter of the tank.

The old chiminea. Needs a new coat of paint.

I vowed to built a better one from a 30 lb tank laying on its side. So we went to our local refurbishing propane tank guys and I saw a 50 lb tank and fell in love. It was perfect, this would make an awesome fireplace. The problem was that they refurbish this particular size of tank and had no used ones. I could buy a new one for $78 but I’m way too cheap to do that. I pleaded with the guy and asked him to turn his back so I could steal one, but he wouldn’t budge.

I was thinking of all ways I could get a 50 lb tank. I even looked it up on Kijiji but only came away disappointed.

As I often do, I put it out to the universe and waited to see what would turn up. One morning we went into the ‘big city’ of Bowser for some groceries. As we were leaving I remembered that the local gas station served propane and just might have a used tank.

We pulled in and spoke to a young guy serving there. He took us to the back of the lot and low and behold we saw a veritable field of used propane tanks. They didn’t have a 50 lb but he showed me a very nice 40 lb tank that I was sure I could work with.

He had to clear it with his boss and after the usual warnings that I could blow myself up, (as if!) he gave me the tank for my favourite price of Free.

I’m very cautious around used propane tanks as even the smallest amount of gas can be dangerous. The first thing I needed to do was remove the valve so I could fill the tank with water to force out all the old propane.

Well, I hammered and smashed that darn valve but it wouldn’t budge. Plan two: open the valve to release any left over gas; turn the tank upside down to let any more gas escape. Then, very carefully drill two half-inch holes in the top, then fill the tank with water.

In the meantime there was a smell of propane in the air with our neighbor Bruce running around trying to find out where the leak was coming from. He had just got a new tank and thought it was leaking. I explained that it was only me making that smell (well not actually me) and he went home happy.

My next challenge was to cut a door in the tank. The neighbours must love me because I used a cut-off disc on my hand-held grinder so it was some noisy.  What the hell, I have rights too. Besides, I’m sure they have fun referring to me as that mad English bastard doing something stupid again.

The new tank with the door cut out.

I had a bit more grinding to do but had to put it off  because of the extreme fire hazard condition. The grinder kicks up a lot of sparks.

Well, the door’s cut out so we will have to see how it goes from here.

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