1939 Frigidaire Build.....Wife is pissed!

Discussion in 'Fridge/Freezer Builds' started by meatsweats86, Sep 23, 2016.

  1. Wife said I have to many smokers........So that automatically means I need one more. I decided to try building one from scratch and I told her it would be a good hobby for my 4 month old son and I. She didn't take me seriously......

    Picked up this gem for $20. Lady said it was in her family for 5 generations. 1939 Frigidaire by GM. The compressor took a sh*t and they wanted it gone.  There's only a small amount of rust  on the legs and everything else seems to be in good shape so far. I plan on gutting next week and replacing insulation with roxul as many have suggested and getting holes cut for venting.

    2 questions -

    1. What are the interior walls / door made of? A magnet sticks to both the inside walls and the doors and they sound like metal when  I clank on them with a screwdriver. Are they enamel coated metal and is it safe to use like this?

    2. I am debating on using the Pellet Pro from Smoke daddy OR purchasing a fin strip heater, PID controller ,AMNPS and building myself.

    I don't plan on cold smoking, but I like to do jerky and would like to have a range from 160-350 degrees. I am also looking to do overnight smokes for brisket and butts. I'm tired of babysitting charcoal and gas.  My gut is telling me to go with the fin strip, PID and AMNPS......???

    Any and all advice is appreciated. I will update with teardown pics and issues I have encountered next week.

  2. uzikaduzi

    uzikaduzi Meat Mopper

    I don't have any advice but this looks like it's going to be awesome
  3. dirtsailor2003

    dirtsailor2003 Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    More than likely metal interior. As for the coating I haven't a clue. If it is enamel it could be safe. Once again though I have no clue what the coating is. It will be a cool project and I will hang around to see how it goes.

    I'm a dyi'er so I vote for going the with the electric heat, PID and one of the pellet smokers from Todd. I'd mount the smoke chamber on the exterior. A well
    Insulated smoker that size will heat up pretty good with any of Todds smokers inside. Which would make cold smoking a challenge.
  4. crankybuzzard

    crankybuzzard Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I'm in for this!

    Be sure and get the 4 month old a safety pacifier, that way you're good to go!

    Should be a great build.
    fatboycoalition likes this.
  5. smokeymose

    smokeymose Master of the Pit

    Man, I envy you! I've been trying to figure out something for a dry curing chamber and that looks perfect!! Not too deep, so I could make room in the garage even with 2 cars & a motorcycle...
    I'm betting it's all metal.
    This looks interesting and I'll be watching!
    I, too, have been told "no more smokers"..:biggrin:
  6. b-one

    b-one Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    That's a nice fridge,looking forward to your build. Enjoy the dog house!:biggrin:
  7. Welp, finally got a little time to pull this thing apart and see what I am working with. Here are a few picks. More to come.

    The insulation looks great. After reading many other builds on here, everyone says to replace with Roxul. Is anybody able to convince me in using the original insulation??? Would save me a couple hours and $50.

    Inside of the door panel with insulation removed. My dog was helping with the teardown as well.

    Anybody have any recommendations on door latch mechanism. I would like to keep this and use the original handle, but I'm afraid that smoke and moisture will be able to sneak it's way through the gaps in this latch and damage the insulation.

    I'm going to bend the metal edges flat. This way I can lay sheet metal skin flat instead of having bend each edge of the skin to fit.

    I noticed a couple of wood support pieces being used. Does anybody know if these are safe to stay in there or not?

    Inside of the tub I pulled out. I think I will put a piece of sheet metal over the square hole in the back instead of using the original plate.

  8. dward51

    dward51 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Pull a little of that insulation out and set it on a fire resistant surface.  Hit it with a propane torch and see what it does.  If it melts and burns, pull it and replace with roxul.  If it just gets hot and seems to hold up, leave it (assuming it does not become a smoking mess and off gas).   If you are making a smoker and do not plan on going over say 275*, it should be fine if it passes the open flame test.
  9. Thanks for the advice dward51. The door insulation looks like it got a little damp and turn black st one point. I'd like it to reach 350* to use as an oven if needed. Considering the amount of money I'll already be spending, i think I'll just replace with roxul to be on the safe side since i plan on keeping this around for a long time.
  10. Well I took a little hiatus from this build. Almost a year later. Ripped out the old insulation and bought some roxul to replace it with. I've got lots of tar around the whole tub. Do I continue removing it or leave it be?
  11. Rings Я Us

    Rings Я Us Master of the Pit Group Lead

    Last edited: Sep 23, 2017
  12. After using a paint scrapper for 45 mins, I forgot I had an oscillating multi tool. This worked great for getting the big chunks of tar off. I used 3M adhesive remover and that turns it into butter. Only issue is when I wipe it, the tar just smears. It would take me about 10 cans at $20 a piece and   30 rolls of paper towel to remove it all. 

    I put my mini torch on the tar and it burned pretty well, but smelled horrible.  Going to Harbor Freight today for a weed burner. It has turbo blast so I'm hoping that will do the trick. Will definitely be wearing my 3M respirator as that shit can't be good to inhale. 
  13. Rings Я Us

    Rings Я Us Master of the Pit Group Lead

    I know to loosen tar from my hands I used cooking oil and then a pumas stone to scrape it.
  14. To remove the last of the black tar gasoline , toluene or any other petroleum based product on a rag will clean that right up after the bigger chunks have been removed. just be sure to air it out good
  15. . There's some bigger chunks in the corners that are difficult to get a scrapper in there. I just bought a torch that gets 3500°  Do you think that will take care of it better than cleaning it with a rag or will I still need to go over it with a rag after I burn it? 
  16. Honestly no idea - I just know that I would not be a big fan of them fumes and I would think burning all that would make a runny mess (could be wrong). If it was me I would try and scrap it out best I could and then clean it up after that. I have done this on a old refrigerator that I have sitting in the garage. Just another reminder that I need to finish that project I got it all cleaned out and insulated then lined the whole inside with stainless steel. Not sure if I want to go electric with PID or just a firebox hmmmmm decisions decisions
  17. radioguy

    radioguy Smoking Fanatic


    Use spray brake cleaner to cleanup the tar leftovers.

  18. meatsweats86, If it's not too late, see if you can find a local sheet metal shop to bend the edges of the door liner. Much easier than trying to hammer the lips flat. I marked and used the stock holes in the door flange with slightly oversize SS sheet metal screws.


    Also, I don't know where you are planning to put the exhaust. I went out the back through the plate. Much easier than trying to go through the top with a hole saw. That porcelain cuts hard! I attached a 2" floor flange to the inside and threaded a a 6" nipple into it from the back.


    As for the latch, I just left it. It works just fine. Hi-temp RTV around the edges to seal most leaks. Two seasons no problems.I thought I had a picture of the latch but I can't find it. I used my Dremel tool with cutoff wheels to cut the opening in the door liner for it.
    For the tar, I did the scrape and burn.

    We must have different 1939 models mine doesn't have the vertical ridges yours has. I found a tag riveted on the bottom saying June 6,1939. Good luck with the rest of the build. I'm sure you'll love it like I do mine.

    Last edited: Nov 16, 2017 at 6:37 AM
  19. Sorry about the duplicate info, forgot I already posted it last year. My bad.

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