To paint or season....

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smoking falcon

Fire Starter
Original poster
Jan 19, 2006
So heres the thing, I'm making a smoker out of a clean tank, PLEASE NOTE THIS BEFORE YOU CHASTISE ME, the tank I have is clean, it is from a company that engineers and fabricates plastic parts. The plastic comes into the plant in a heavy duty plastic bag which is then placed inside a 55gal or so drum. The bag comes out and the tank is still practically brand new. So believe me when I say that it is not contaminated whatsoever.

but when I started cleaning the paint off the outside I realized that it would rust unless I did something because for right now I don't have anywhere in my garage available to keep my project dry, and it is outside and exposed to the elements. I also don't want to paint it now because I am going to be doing welding and cutting and I think it's rediculous to paint metal that I'm going to cut away.

So here's what I did and I want opinions on what I should do when my project is complete (or at least out of the elements)

I cleaned the paint off of the outside and instead of repainting it with high heat paint, I simply brushed it with veg oil and then lit a fire in the tank to set it...

I figure that when I'm totally complete with the project I have two or three options depending on how you look at it.

1. Reseason the whole smoker, inside and out and let it be. If I keep seasoning it I believe that no matter how much it stays outside, If I take care of it and keep using it and reseasong it I'll have less problems with rust than if I had painted it.

2. When I'm done with my project I can take the smoker in a trailer to a carwash and powerwash it etc... and then I can proceed with painting it after it is dry

3. I can Clean it as described in #2, and then Season it as described in #1

So what does everyone think? Has anyone else simply seasoned the outside of their smoker instead of painting it, or is that something that sounds good in theory, but really won't work?

falcon-I season castiron on a regular basis with vegetable or canola oil and as well seasoned as my castiron camp ovens are, if they are exposed to a lot of moisture the still rust.

I would have left the paint on that drum, next to that I would stripped the paint then give it a coat of gray auto primer. The primer dries to a dull finish and any lay out lines for cutting etc. will be more visible.

But in you case with what you have already done I would trailer it down to a car wash and use the degreaser cycle to clean the outside of the drum. When dry give it a good primer coat then paint it with a high temp. paint. My son likes to use a high heat (1500 + degree) automotive engine block paint on his grill just to get away from the basic black that you con find on the paint asile at places like Homers Depot.

FWIW: A vegetable oil seasoning that has been applied to metal will burn off when exposed to temps above 600 degrees, then you're back to the potential rust problem.

So paint the outside and season the inside.
That all makes a lot of sense, I was just too eager to get rolling on my project and get things going. But I have another question for you Earl.

Won't the primer burn off? That was the reason I didn't just prime the doggone thing in the first place. If I had thought that it wouldn't be a problem I would have just gone out and bought a couple cans and had my rust protection problem done and over with.

Also, would adding a rubdown of oil to the outside help prevent rust after it gets painted? or should I just continue to touch up the paint and keep an eye out for rust?

DOH!! My bad- Any time you use a high temp paint, you should also prep your work with the corresponding high temp primer. Check with your local Auto Parts store. There are high temp primers available in different colors.

At least once a year when you do your maintenance, scrap off the flaking paint and repaint. Of course doing a top notch job before hand and keeping the smoker covered and/or out of the weather when not in use will help too.
Falcon,have you ever heard of Naval Jelly.Its a rust inhibitor for just the purpose you are talking about.You can paint over it later.
Dadcots, Never heard of naval jelly, the first time I read your post I thought of toe jam... but I digress... what store would one find naval jelly? Auto store, Walmrat, cosmetics counter at JC Penny? :) and would I still be able to paint high temp paint over it?

Dutch, of course you make sense again! I guess I didn't think of that because at Lowes all I saw was their spray can of 1700* or whatever high heat paint.

So this ushers in a new question. Since there are so many degrees of high temp paints available, what "grade" should I get, or what temp range? Also, do the color paints turn with age and heat exposure, or would I just be best off to go black all the way? I don't want to look average, but I don't want my smoker to look like crap in a couple months either... oh what to do :?: :?: :!: :?:

Thanks for all the advice all, it's superlicious!
You should be able to find it at a auto parts store or a paint shop and yes you can paint over it.Its an anti oxidation treatment.
very good, very good indeed! I guess I know what I'm going shopping for tomorrow!

So, I never did find that naval jelly, the kid at the counter just looked at me blankly and said "huh". I knew he wasn't going to be much help, so I checked out the engine paints instead. The problem I ran into there was that I could only find primer for 500*F but none for the higher rated temp that was something like 1200*F. Should I just go for the 500* primer and paint, or take a look somewhere else to see if I can find the 1200* primer? is reader supported and as an Amazon Associate, we may earn commissions from qualifying purchases.

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