First Smoker... building a small patio RF "Fat Boy"

Discussion in 'Reverse Flow' started by thechuck, Oct 29, 2012.

  1. Just would like to see you go just a little higher on that reverse flow plate, Id like to see this thing flow good.

    Also, have you thought about putting a propane burner in it?  Its a nice thing to have.
  2. thechuck

    thechuck Smoke Blower

    I just based my height of the RF plate to be proportionate to the FB opening. So, when the recommended firebox to cooker opening area was 70 square inches, that made the top of the "half moon" opening at 5.5" and that's just where I had the bottom of the RF plate slope start. I have a pretty good slope from both sides down to the middle (over an inch) so there's that extra space as well. That puts the middle (lowest) part of the RF plate 4" from the rack and the sides at less than 3" at the FB end and 5" middle and 4" sides from the rack at the drain...

    Alright... I'm going to stop before I make peoples heads hurt again (including mine).

    Ribwizzard... are you suggesting making the FB opening bigger as well as raising the RF plate or just raising the RF plate higher than the FB opening?

    With the propane burner... are you talking about in the FB to help with initial fire starting or across the the top of the RF plate (just below the racks) to make it get those higher temps for other purposes? I was planning on using a weed burner to get the initial coal bed going and up to temp...

    On a side note... pretty sure I have the doors/hinges figured out, the only thing I'm still up in the air on is the handle/latch but I got some ideas for that as well.
  3. I have installed a 5ft burner pipe below my reverse flow plate. Initial thought was to use it to keep food warm after cooking cycle was completed, or to help bring cooker to temp on really cold days. So far, I have only used it when I seasoned my smoker, and after washing it out to dry it out before cook's.  But let me say, the thing works so good. I can bring the smoker up to 400 degrees in about 10 minutes. The bottom rack gets hot enough to grill a steak on.  My next build will be a 250 gallon, and I want to install 2 or 3 of these so that I actually can use the bottom rack to do steak cook outs and such.

    On the reverse flow plate, my suggestion would be to leave the top of the firebox where it is at, just cut the top long enough to stick into the cooking chamber 6 to 10 inches. Then put the reverse flow plate and inch or so above it. The ideal will be for the direct heat coming into the cooking chamberfrom the firebox not to hit the reverse flow plate directly so hard right there. I think that will even out the temp even more.

    I dont recomend installing a burner inside the firebox. Its a harsh environment and anything in there will get eat up pretty quick. As far as starting the fire, I usually just use charcoal to start my logs. But have made my firbox grate where it slides out and I have a small burner that I can hang under the grate and can use that to start the logs directly. Once it gets burning, I un hook the burner and push the sliding grate back into the firebox and close the door.

    Here the burner, also,  see how the top of my firebox extends into the cooking chamber, the reverse flow plate is a  removalble pan and sits on top of that. As you can see, that really gets hot right there,

  4. And yes, I am proud how how pretty my blue flames are. Get dizzy just looking at it.
  5. thechuck

    thechuck Smoke Blower

    I thought about extending the FB into the cooking chamber but I didn't think it'd matter that much since I'm using 3/8" as the RF plate anyways. But I was considering reinforcing (thickening with an extra 1/4) that end for a ways right at the firebox by matching the slope and plate but figured I could add that on later if necessary.

    Are you able to get a good seal with your removable RF plate? I wondered about doing a hybrid RF/tuning plate (more as a safety in case the RF didn't work like i thought) but decided to just go for a straight RF and not worry about removable solid plate and extra chimney.

    Ribwizzard... yes your blue flames are mesmerizing and impressive! That's not an easy feat either so well done. When I initially came up with the smoker idea I had all the extras that I wanted to do... firebox be a charcoal grill, propane burners (separate side burner and inside firestarter), on a trailer (I MAY still do this... depends), removable RF and tuning plates, door on the side, etc... aka what you did is similar to what I originally wanted to go all out and do. Then I decided to keep it real simple and cheap... which I didn't accomplish either. I'm happy with my middle ground... it's just definitely turning into a hefty project (design, money, and who knows yet on the fab). Like you've said before, the accessories is what costs the most, the gauges, hinges, handles, axle/tires (if I go that route)... I'm using scrap and scrounging material as much as I can to keep cost down and I know some of the accessories aren't necessary but it's part of me wanting to do it right and good lookin the first time. I'm glad I have the resources that I do tho.

    Apparently I'm just a Ramblin' Man... my posts always seem way long. My bad guys... I'm just excited.
  6. The reverse flow/ drip pan just sits in there, I did my best to make it seal the best I can , but Im sure a little get through here and there. I think minor leakage is fine, and my temps are about as even as I could ask them to be.
  7. Ribwizzard,

    Tell me more about the propane burner addition. I am working on a 20"x40" RF smoker. Initially I was planning on a Side Fire Box arrangement with "Propane Assist" to help with start-up and maybe keeping an even cooking temp. I abandoned the idea when I learned more about RF. I was worried that there would not be enough oxygen left under the RF plate to keep the propane lit...then the gas would build up inside the cooking chamber and eventually explode when it got down in the firebox. Have you tried it with a fire in the box? Do you have pics of the setup/plumbing? I am still early enough to add this.
  8. Look at the pics in my profile and youll see the burner.

    I learned last week not to light the burner from the firebox end with a lighter, I have no hair on one arm, missing one eyebrow, and have a new hair style now.  I will always open the cooking chamber and light it from the other end as per the way I designed it.

    You need to leave about 3 inches between the burner pipe and the reverse flow plate if its 1/4 inch or thicker, more if you use thinner plate. You have plenty of oxygen becouse you still open firebox and cooking chamber dampner.( once again, before you light the burner)

    PM me if you need any more help on this, Im pretty proud of my burner designs!!!
  9. thechuck

    thechuck Smoke Blower

    Well I was hoping to have started by the end of the year but that didn't happen. It also turns out that while the steel yard was being cleaned up, my piece of 20" pipe somehow got scrapped...  [​IMG]    Its not that big of a deal cause we have plenty of scrap 20" pipe I can cut it out of but now its just a hassle to have to handle a 15-20 footer to cut down to size. So I'm pretty much good to go, all material is accounted for (pipe, cutting most of my plate out of an old stretch of 15" wide channel, tread plate for the FB, expanded metal for shelves, small misc. scrap steel, and an old welder cart as the base), the shop plans are all finished... now I just need to find the time, and a couple of fab/welder buddies time, to get going on it. Still need to order accessories like temp gauge and handles (which I'm open to suggestions on, Amazon preferred) but I've been itching to get going on it.

    In the meantime I've been keeping up with other posts and builds religiously... which makes me even more excited... especially when there is q-view!
  10. thechuck

    thechuck Smoke Blower

    Well it's finally time! We've been absolutely swamped at work and with a 2 year old and 6 month old at home with busy weekends, it's been hard to find a starting point but this Friday is looking awfully promising (as long as the weather doesn't get worse and nothing pops up at work). Got a great welder/fab guy to give me a hand with everything and teach me a few things. Still got things to do the rest of the weekend but we'll see how far we get on Friday...

    and yes, definitely taking pics along the way so be on the lookout for them...
  11. 05sprcrw

    05sprcrw Smoking Fanatic

    Good luck and can't wait to see some pictures.
  12. thechuck

    thechuck Smoke Blower

    Well, doesn't seem like much but we got a little bit done at least. Between finding and digging the stuff out of the yard and having to run into the office a few times to take care of some things, we have the basic 20" dia. 1/2" thick pipe cut to size, door notch cut out to frame, and reinforced for final splitting it in half.

    Cutting 40" out of a ~16'. Saw wouldn't quite cut all the way so it had to be rotated.

    Center line laid out plus door notch.

    Used some angle and fb to reinforce the pipe to hopefully prevent it from springing.

    Rotated around... you can see from the gap how much the unused and non-reinforced portion of the pipe is trying to spring just from quartering.

    As she sits now, ready to finish being split in half. Pretty sure I'm going to put another reinforcement in the middle before we do tho.

    Plan is to next week (hopefully) have her split and extended the 14" for the basic shell, and have all the other parts/plates (door frame, RF, endcaps, FB, etc..) all cut out and ready to fab.
  13. Now the fun begins...hope having the pieces and parts out there waiting for you helps keep things moving & ready to cook for summer! (I understand all too well the running back in the office part...but it is nice to have a nice roomy shop instead of trashing your garage...this isn't exactly "clean work, right?
  14. thechuck

    thechuck Smoke Blower

    Definitely DoodleQ... My neighbor has a small shop with the capabilities but it is a lot easier when you have an actual steel shop machinery to use... as long as you don't mind working around schedules and randomly being pulled back into work.
  15. thechuck

    thechuck Smoke Blower

    Looks like Fridays are going to be work days... slow going but at least its moving. So plan for tomorrow is to get it split in half and extended, endcaps on, and then start on the RF plate of FB... just depends on how many interruptions there are...

    Apparently me working on my smoker build inspired another guy in the shop to continue with his. When I had designed mine months ago we had discussed applications that he could use. He liked my idea of splitting the 20"dia. pipe and extending it (he only went 9" tho) but he wanted a bigger smoker so he made it 5' wide and he wanted a straight side box design, not an RF. He's had the split and extension done for a couple months now and things got busy so it's just been sitting.

    This is where he sits now. Doors almost completed and then he'll just need to make the rack. I'm not a fan of what he decided to do on the doors placement/size (besides using my suggestion of tread plate) and firebox but its his build. My biggest complaint... I mean suggestion... was his FB opening into the cooking chamber, it's just a 4" circle.

    He's only putting one rack in because he plans on having a bar across the top on the inside so he can hang things. I personally think the doors are too small.

    You can barely see the 4" opening. He plans on putting on a 4" stack as well. I guess if it doesn't work he can always cut out a bigger opening...

    The FB was actually a wood stove a shop guy had made that he changed his mind on.

    Sorry for the distraction of another guys build but like most of you... I like to see what other people are doing, especially when I can see it first hand.

    More pics of MY build coming tomorrow!
  16. radioguy

    radioguy Smoking Fanatic

    I'm in.  This one will be heavy.  FYI I am considering putting a hitch on mine so I can pull it with my lawn tractor. 
  17. thechuck

    thechuck Smoke Blower

    Yep... even though mine is only 40" wide, 1/2 pipe plus 7/16 plate for vertical extension and RF plate adds up... and that's not even taking the at least 3/8 thick FB into consideration. The old welding cart I'm putting this on has a good tilting handle on it so I figured connecting it with a chain to the atv would get it a ways if need be. Still hoping I'll be able to move it in and out of the garage on its own easily enough though. My buddies pictured above is a 5' wide beast on its own and he doesn't have a trailer figured out yet so for the time being they are just putting it on a frame with a couple loops welded on top to be able to fork it in place.

    Hoping to get some good work done tomorrow...
  18. thechuck

    thechuck Smoke Blower

    Well... not so sure about "Good" Friday. Just started getting into it, had the pipe split and was working on layout for the tread plate and bam... had to get back into the office to put out some fires and the guy helping me had to hop onto building some stairs for a job that got pushed up in the schedule. This is going to be a slow process... but I'm going wild hog hunting down in Oklahoma in a little over a week so at least I'll have some meat stocked up to smoke!
  19. thechuck

    thechuck Smoke Blower

    Well I was able to make it back into the shop for a couple of hours Friday afternoon and feel like I made some headway... looking forward to getting it shaped up later this week. Hope everybody had a good Easter weekend and enjoyed some good Q... I know I did!

    Finally split... and as you can see we reinforced it quite a bit so no spring at all.

    Track torch comes in handy... made my 14" extension (back and two ends) and the sides of my FB out of this sheet of 3/8 tread plate. Plan on making the top of the FB out of 7/16.

    As everything sits now just waiting to be put together...

  20. Morning chuck, you're idea looks great. I've been looking for old oil tank to set up just like that for a competition and catering rig. Since i can get just about any kind of pipe i want at work i may have to"borrow" you're design, although it would have to be about double the size. Please let me know how it turned out add i will probably start collecting most of my materials today. Thanks from smokinjoker!!!

Share This Page