RE: Looking for pit ideas
On a 275 drum
Our earliest designs had a hinged lid with the entire top comming up
Good -- access to entire area Bad -- had to have some strength to open, extra engineering involved not to bend the lid, etc
Others I have seen had an area of about 1/2 of one side that opens (the ends stay with the main body) giving a Half-moon shape of the door.
Good--less warpage of the metal Bad -- harder to access
Best Screen material I have found -- an old lime screen from a rock crusher -- wire material with 1/4 inch gaps -- stainless steel
One more note on these pits: Look to re-enforce the edges with extra metal to prevent warping
On the distance of a block pit -- we always went with 3 feet up -- you still may need to adjust your screen up or down some if your fire is a bit hot for those who call wood grilling barbequing.
There is one person I know that had a couple of Oil drum pits and went to a block pit -- used the old lids on the pits to do a closed pit -- works great
A 55 gal barrel works for a small wood pit -- cut at one of the ridges around the barrel -- at the ridge, a standard round screen will fit in the space -- use the top for a cover -- got a screen from an old charcoal grill and put a pipe from the bottom to the top to hold the screen up -- you can set a couple of rods from side to side to do the same thing == burn down some wood , you can cook chickens slow in about 1 1/2 -1 3/4 Hrs--Place Chicken on screen, cover check in 20 min to make sure it is ok -- Turning once every 25-30 min after that