Open-Head Drums

Rain Barrel

These barrels come in a variety of different colors and sizes, but they most commonly appear in black or terra cotta. They all have a large opening at the top which is covered by a flange plate/lid. The lid is held in place by a threaded retainer band much like a Mason jar.

Open Head Barrel Assortment

The barrels previously contained brined produce such as gherkins, banana peppers, olives, etc.  Many people know them simply as “pickle barrels”, but they technically never held pickles or vinegar.  They do not smell of vinegar, but there is a light odor of produce that will dissipate once the barrels are in use.  You may want to give them a rinse before filling them for the first time.

What Did the Barrels Previously Contain?

Pickle Barrel

The barrels contained produce from France, India, and other suppliers from thousands of miles overseas.  Most of the goods are preserved in a salty brine solution.  The barrels do smell lightly of produce, but it will quickly diminish once filled with water. Gherkins, olives, peppers are very commonly seen.

Lid & Hold-Down Screen

Pickle_Barrel_Lids

To contain its contents, the barrels are fitted with an injection molded lid and retainer band.  These barrels are analogous to a Mason jar.  The lid has a rubber gasket around the perimeter that is compressed when the retainer band is screwed down tightly.  Many barrels also contain a disc-shaped screen that is used during packaging to hold down the produce inside the barrel as it’s being filled with brine solution.

Lid Plate & Filter Screens

 

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To allow water to enter the barrel, holes must be drilled in the lid. To prevent debris and insects from entering the barrel, a fine nylon screen is placed over the lid.  These screens work very well, but they are thin and flimsy.  To add strength, metal hardware cloth is placed over the screen.  The hardware cloth prevents pine cones and sticks from tearing and stretching the screen over time.  Both of these products are inexpensive and found readily at any local hardware store.

Fittings

 

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Bulkhead Fittings are best practice when making a hole in the wall of a drum or tank.  They are used in boats for bilge pumps and other applications that require penetrating the hull with a hose or wire.  They generally consist of the body, one or two gaskets and a nut that draws everything together.  There are many forms of DIY bulkhead fittings made from PVC and miscellaneous washers, but manufactured fittings will outperform and outlast them all.  Manufactured bulkheads do not require silicone and they can be maintained by tightening or replacing the gaskets as needed.

Three Quarter Close Nipple MPT to MHT Render

Close Nipple couplings are used to connect two female fittings and/or to transition between two different types of thread.  These fittings have 3/4 inch male pipe thread (MPT) on one side, and 3/4 inch male hose thread (MHT) on the other.  This helps to couple the bulkhead to the ball valve or to connect two barrels together in a series.

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Ball Valves are simple and easy to operate.  It only takes a quarter-turn from fully closed to fully open.  The valves featured on our barrels are black PVC , but they can be upgraded to brass for some added durability.

Technical Specifications

  • Capacity: 58 Gallons
  • Material Composition: High Density Polyethylene (HDPE)
  • Color: Black
  • Marine Grade Bulkhead Fittings
  • Easy-Turn Ball Valve
  • Reinforced Filter Screen
  • Insect Proof
  • Dry Weight: ~20 pounds
  • Weight Full: ~450 pounds
  • Diameter: 23 inches
  • Height: 42 inches
  • $12-$20 is typical for pricing
  • Brine residue can be cleaned out with garden hose
  • Brine is nothing but salt solution
  • Barrel Parts Include Lids, Retainer Band, and hold down screen.  The screens are HDPE and roto-molded.  The lids and bands are injection molded.
  • Barrels scratched, but in otherwise excellent condition

Safety Considerations

Children or small animals can become trapped in a large barrel full of water.  Be sure to keep the lid in place to prevent unwanted entry.  Due to the heavy weight of the barrels, tipping can be dangerous.  Be sure to place the barrels on a properly prepared area in the ground, or a well-constructed stand.  Drain barrels before re-positioning/relocating and before performing maintenance.

 

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