Lake of the Ozarks new 250 Reverse Flow build NOOB NEEDS HELP !!!

Discussion in 'Reverse Flow' started by portside, Sep 1, 2011.

  1. portside

    portside Newbie

    OK Folks, I have the bug after borrowing a smoker trailer for my family reunion in June, 2011. We did Baby Backs that fell off the bone. I been smoking meats for a few years and ready to bring it to the next level. After reading many articles and trying my hand at mass meat smoking, I'm hooked. On August 18th, 2011 I purchased a 250 gallon propane tank. After I got it home, I found out it had been primed with the dreaded RED LEAD paint. I was in the Navy back in the early 80's and spent many hours helping to eradicate our ship from this dreaded paint. For anyone that doesn't know, Red Lead paint was a major contributor to LEAD POISONING.

    Soooo, fall back & regroup. Time to strip this baby down to the bare metal and start over. Besides, I wanted to start fresh with the 1200 degree paint knowing any under layers wouldn't fail from high heat.

    I just purchased a boat trailer that looks a little rough, but built on a 3500 lb axle with 15 inch tires in good shape. Pictures coming soon. I found some aluminum mag wheels for the trailer... gotta PIMP my Grill properly...

    Also, I found a good deal on some 1/4 inch plate steel for my fire box. I been reading a thread from Raptor that I think I might use for my basic design since he made it look so easy. Here is credit where credit is due 250 propane tank Build  THANKS SOO MUCH for sharing Raptor...

    I still have questions as to what I need to do with the open holes on the top where the fill valve and gages were. I think I need to cut them off flush and fill the hole with plate, but maybe someone can chime in.

    I have already filled the tank with water and an entire bottle of Dawn 2 times and drained getting the propane residue out. Wifey says she don't want me to go POP when its time to cut the doors open.... hmmm... good idea HUNNEY...

    Anyone that has experience here, please feel free to lend your knowledge, you wont hurt my feelings. The fire box will be 24x24x24x24 with a reverse flow plate in the bottom. Let me get through Labor Day 2011 and the progress will start again with more pictures. Ken 

    Last edited: Sep 1, 2011
  2. smokinal

    smokinal Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    Looks like it's gonna be a great build Ken.

    We'll be following it!
  3. sqwib

    sqwib Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Welcome Ken

    Cant wait to follow this build.
  4. fourthwind

    fourthwind Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Do be careful with that paint.   The last build I did with a tank, we just put the valve holes on the bottom, and just welded a plate over them.  I found a good source for rolled pipe in my parts and stopped using propane tanks..  The extra 200 bucks was worth all the labor I had to put into cleaning tanks.  

    Make sure that the leaf springs and suspension on that trailer are good.  Do a pre trial on it by setting the tank on it with it at least half full of water and see if the trailer sags. Learned that the last time I used a used trailer.  Ours had the same axle strength, but it was worn out to the point we had to replace a bunch of stuff.

    24 inch square is a bit small on the firebox.  As a general rule the firebox should be 1/3 the volume of the the cook chamber.  For a 250 this comes out to about 27 square.  I just make the width the same size of the tank width, and adjust the measurments to get the 1/3 volume. 

    VHT is great stuff, but hard to aquire sometimes in anything other than rattle can's.  Typically a special order.  The rustoleum 1200° works pretty well and is easy to get.  The satin looks good, but you have to make sure and do 3 to 4 coats with a day between coats, and at least a few day's cure before you burn.

    Make sure and burn that tank out good!
    Last edited: Sep 1, 2011
  5. portside

    portside Newbie

    Thanks for all the great advice so far. A couple of replies to suggestions above. Yes, I am using a respirator.. um,, RED LEAD PAINT... The gage holes I'm talking about,,, well, I'm a bit torn on how to do this. I completely understand your suggestions about turning it over and keeping one for the ball valve drain. My problem is now, in turning the tank over to clean up the old paint / rust, I see that the steel on the underbelly is deeply pitted and needs ALLOT of clean up work. I like the smooth quality of the steel on the top side much better and know it will look better after it gets painted and not look like pitted pock marks, so I think Ill probably just cut off the threaded fixtures for the valves smooth and fill the holes flat so I can have the better looking side up for presentation. Further more, I was thinking about using the existing feets that are already attached to the bottom to use as the welding place to attach to the trailer. It just seemed natural. Ive already purchased the Krylon BBQ / Stove 1200 degree paint in rattle cans. I suppose I could take them back if it was that much of a big deal to change paints. OK, enough for now. Thanks guys, and Ill post as progress is made. Ken
  6. fourthwind

    fourthwind Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Most of the rattle can stuff works, but you will not get the finish you are looking for on large surface area's.   I understand the roughness and not wanting to do the prep work.  It's some serious labor when using an old tank LOL   We have experimented with using JB weld on the tanks as a "Smoker bondo"  It has a pretty high temp rating and is sandable.  Wouldnt use it on the firebox though.  So far it has made getting out sever pits or small divits really easy. 
  7. portside

    portside Newbie

    Thought I would post a couple of pictures of the trailer I chose for this build. It looks a little ratty, but honest, its built like a brick [email protected]# HOUSE. I'm gonna start taking off the boat rollers and getting it down to the frame. Every light on the trailer was busted out, so I'm gonna need to get a complete replacement light kit for about $30. Who ever said my hobbies would be cheap. Everything starts adding up fast, but HEY, are we having fun yet? Keep the faith, its gonna be a DANDY. Oh, by the way, I did some measurements last night. Looks like my fire box will be changing a bit so it will fit the trailer better. Instead of the 24 inch square I was going to fabricate, its gonna now be 30 inches wide (fits between the trailer mounts this way) and 27 inches high (works for the size of the steel plates I have already purchased) I had a few comments about the 24 inch square fire box being a little too small for this build, so this should make everyone a little happier... HAHA. Have a great holiday everyone, and keep the faith.. If you do, you ll have nothing but good thoughts.. Ken [​IMG][​IMG]  [​IMG]
    Last edited: Sep 2, 2011
  8. roller

    roller Smoking Guru SMF Premier Member

    Looks like you got your work cut out for you...Good luck...
  9. sunman76

    sunman76 Master of the Pit

    [​IMG]  Oh yea I love me some build threads...  if you need any bad advise just let me

    looks like you got alot gathered up, and ready to go[​IMG]
  10. michael ark

    michael ark Master of the Pit

    Looks good so far.[​IMG]
  11. raptor700

    raptor700 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Looks like your'e off to a good start,

    As for the wholes in the top, I cut them out and welded some ¼" plugs in to seal them.

    I used the legs on the tank to weld it to the trailer.

    Just another tip............If you notice in my build I leveled the tank using the legs.And leveled the FB where I wanted it to be welded to the cook chamber.

    After they were welded together I placed them on the trailer.

    Then I cut my doors, this way the smoker was level and the doors came out the same on either side.

    Which is important if you want to have access and slide out racks on both sides.

    Hope this helps
  12. smokinal

    smokinal Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    Moving right along!

  13. portside

    portside Newbie

    OK FOLKS.. I'm on the fence about an idea I been dreaming about and wanted to ask anyone following this before I make my initial cuts into the tank. Since I have a 250 propane, I had this wild idea to make one side a 5 rack rotisserie and the other side 2 plain over & under racks. This might be the best of both worlds and afford some versatility without being stuck with one method. Ive had good luck with rotisserie methods in the past using a chicken wing tumble basket, and a plain spit rod for doing Thanksgiving Turkeys and chickens, so I do LOVE my rotisserie stuff too. Am I dreaming here, or could this be ground breaking??? The rotisserie could be very simple with a steel pole in the middle attached to a motor with fabrication to hang 5 racks on. Something like the big Carousel Wheel we see at the State Fair. I have a standard rotisserie motor, but ME thinks it might be too weak to turn this monster after I'm finished. I'm thinking something chain driven.. hmmmm... HOLY CRAP, did I just spend another $500...
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2011
  14. raptor700

    raptor700 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Anything is possible and I love the rotisserie idea.

    I just scored 2-500 gallon tanks and would love to make rotisserie's with them.

    But for a 250 you will have to do some math to see if it's feasible.

    I have 24 sq ft of cooking area in my smoker, If I could get more than that with a rotisserie I would do it.
  15. portside

    portside Newbie

    OK, about a week has gone by and I been collecting more materials for the next phase and beginning of the build. I have my trailer nearly stripped down and ready for fresh paint. I have the new trailer light kit purchased and ready to install after the paint goes on. [​IMG]

    I found a GOLDEN discovery on Craigslist. I was looking for my materials for making meat racks, etc. I found... on the same day I started looking a local gentleman that made a post THAT SAME DAY for 99% of the stuff I needed, everything short of my expanded metal. $80 bought the entire list of supplies with the exception of the following. 1) Plate steel, which I already had. 2) my hinges, which are on order and 3) the expanded metal, which I just got a line on for $48 per sheet of #9, half inch. Plus... wait for it.... well, a picture will tell the story. I been trying to get the fire box door design settled in my brain. This guy had something that solved all of my problems that I bought in the REAL CHEAP.. see below...


    These are cast iron doors from an antique wood stove with built in vents at the bottom. I took out the tempered glass to soak in vinegar, but the glass ..has etched pictures on it. The vents are shown here where it says GRIZZLY  [​IMG]



    I think I will probably need more venting as the wood stove probably was not near as large as the firebox I'm making. but heck, this is gonna add a small touch of interesting conversation to the build and... since there is tempered glass in the door, I wont need to open the door every time I want to see the status if the fire inside.

    Also, I found a local young man that is willing to do my cuts with his plasma cutter and make the welds on the cheap. I think he's more interested in learning the design. Now I'm just waiting on the hinges to arrive as Ive been told to weld the hinges on before the doors get completely cut to help avoid some warping, and so they just dont fall inside the smoker when complete. More coming SOON.. Ken
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2011
  16. raptor700

    raptor700 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Man...................I love the FB doors.

    That is gonna be cool [​IMG]
  17. fourthwind

    fourthwind Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Nice score on the metal and doors!   It's pretty easy to figure out your air inlet size.  You will need 1.5 to 2.0 times the area of your exhaust stack.  So for example if you have a 6 inch diameter stack you use the formula "radius squared X Pie (3.14)    for a 6 inch outflow it would look like this  3 x 3 x 3.14 = 28.26   so your air inlet to the firebox should start at about 42 square inches and go up to 56.     
  18. michael ark

    michael ark Master of the Pit

    Great find.
  19. portside

    portside Newbie

    OK, we had a very productive day yesterday, 9-14-11. Got all of the materials to the work shop and realized that we did not yet have the hinges that have been on back order. Time to improvise as we need hinges welded on before the final door cuts are made. I had some fancy hinges ordered, 4 inch with grease zerk. Well, they never came and never were mailed so I canceled the order and had to go with a bolt & barrel design. I think they turned out fine. This guy made handy work of cutting the doors with a plasma cutter. Nice & clean cuts will grind down very nicely.



    Now working on the handles. Again credit to Raptor for the idea of the chipping hammers for spring / heat proof handles.


    Seems like the more we worked, the more people started stopping by to see what on earth we were doing. We picked up a couple of helpers along the way. :))



    Plasma cutters RULE !!!!!!!

    At last, 4 PM came and my help needed to go for the day. I wanted to at lease get a good burn going to get rid of any propane FUNK inside the tank. Turns out, the place where the work is taking place had a bunch of downed HICKORY TREES out back. Is this KARMA or what? Wifey suggested that I should have bought a lottery ticket. It was a great day for building. Tomorrow is going to be an OFF day due to Bow Season opening day in Missouri. I don't bow hunt, but the important people in this equation do, so maybe Ill come back and put a second burn on this tank, drink a beer & dream about the next phase... More later, Ken
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2011
  20. michael ark

    michael ark Master of the Pit

    Look like your well on your way.Can't blame you for trying to get some meat to smoke on that bad boy.[​IMG]

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