Newbie with questions...

Discussion in 'Other Builds' started by bbq bill, Nov 16, 2012.

  1. bbq bill

    bbq bill Smoke Blower

    I am new to the site.  Been smoking meat in store bought smokers for several years.  I was walking in the woods near my house, looking for a hickory tree and found a tank that I thought would make a nice fire box just laying in the middle of the woods. (funny story about this tank to follow!!)...   Anyhow, my store bought smoker has seen better days, holes rusted through the fire box makes it hard to control the temp.... So I decided to build my own smoker.

    I looked into it and have a few ideas as to what I want... (or THINK I want).  I don't know what the type of smoker is called, I'm sure you seasoned SMF vets have a name for this style.  

    I want my fire box on the back and in the middle of the cooking chamber. It will have 2 smoke stacks (one one each end of the chamber)

    Since I decided to build a smoker I started looking for the rest of the things I would need... I come across an old military trailer for next to nothing. It is VERY sturdy and constructed, for the most part, of 2" angle iron.  I located several large tanks at a local salvage yard.  All I needed to do was get that "firebox" out of the woods and back to my shop to work on it. When I went to retrieve the tank I discovered it was about half full of a thick sludge...  I was able to drag/roll it out of the woods and back to my house.  I unscrewed the lid with a pair of channel locks (about 3" diameter and course threaded).  It smelled VERY flammable inside!  I placed the tank on 2 cinder blocks, with the spout facing down for the sludge to ooze out.  After about 2-3 weeks I scooped up alittle bit of the dirt and tested to see if it was flammable, as it still smelled like it would burn.  I tried to burn it and it wouldn't  light or even smoke.  Soooo..... I raked a bunch of leaves and sticks into a large pile around the tank and set it ablaze! (figured it would be a good start to making sure the tank was empty and not flammable when I go to cutting on it)  I was worried at first, but after about an hour of sticks and leaves burning directly under and around the tank I relaxed.  I have to say, the area around my shop was clear and looked pretty good raked up!!  The fire had pretty much out and was just smoldering... I was in my garage (150-200 ft away) putting my rake and stuff away..... BOOOM!!!!   The tank blew up!!  (not really "blew up" more like a HUGE release of pressure)  It broke the cinder blocks into pieces.  The tank wasn't damaged, but blew a glob of crap out onto the ground and there was now a large fire ball surrounding the tank. The stuff inside the tank was dripping out and burning and 2 days later it was still smoking!!!

    I have since cut into the tank (creating the hole that will open into the cooking chamber)  I will post pictures as I go along, but I would like some input on this particular design, any feedback is welcome!  Thanks in advance!  

  2. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

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  3. bbq bill

    bbq bill Smoke Blower

    Well, "Lucky" suits me good I guess. I just plugged in the dimensions  for that fire box to check the hole I already cut... My hole is 8.5 X 11.5 ... The calculator suggested 8.3 X 11.8.   Thank you for the information it will help alot when I am laying it all out.
  4. bbq bill

    bbq bill Smoke Blower

    Well I took a few pictures of my progress with the fire box so far.

    This is the trailer and the firebox sitting on the back. This isn't where I will mount it.  I will have a better idea as to where everything will be once I get the cooking chamber here and can decide then.

    Inside looks more like a tool box for now... but I am making some progress.

    This is a close up of the hinge. I made it out of some old rebar.

  5. bbq bill

    bbq bill Smoke Blower

    Wow, 64 views and only 1 reply. haha
  6. fpnmf

    fpnmf Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Hey neighbor...

    I live just down the road in PDL...
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  7. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Bill, evening..... I see you are steadily making progress.... She's gonna be a dandy.....  Dave
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  8. Good start Lucky. I'm glad to here you weren't anywhere near when it went off.

      Keep the pictures coming. I like to watch a build in progress.
  9. bbq bill

    bbq bill Smoke Blower

    I got a few more pictures. I am not a welder, but it's nothing a buffing wheel and 4" angle grinder won't clean up. [​IMG]   

    I have been busy lately so I haven't done much more to it.  I found a really nice tank for the cooking chamber, it was the same size the calculator suggested and everything... The guy sold it out from under me.  I'll post more pictures as it comes along. Thanks for the encouragement! 
  10. bbq bill

    bbq bill Smoke Blower

    OK, as promised... more pics of my smoker build. (again, I am NOT a welder)  

    This is the finished door to the firebox.

    I had to do some "3 lb. sledge adjustments" to it   [​IMG]   , but I got a fairly tight fit around the whole door.  Also made a handle that will stay cool to the touch while it's going.

    I made a door stop out of some more rebar.  I found a ton of rebar behind my shop in all sorts of diameters and lengths... (may as well put it to use huh?)

    Inside... I am still trying to come up with an adjustable vent.  any ideas????

  11. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Bill, evening...... How about contouring 2 pieces of metal to the tank and door.... Have it slide to open the vents....  The holes in the door and slide and the holes in the firebox and slide need to be equally spaced for each application.... and if you have 1" holes in the door and slide, the spacing between those holes should be 1 1/8"..... Same routine on the firebox.....If you have 2" wide slots in the firebox and slide, there needs to be 2 1/8" spacing between them....  That will allow for complete opening or closing of the vents.....   Dave

                            Click on pic to enlarge

    PS..... At times I know what I'm talking about but don't come across too clear....  If I need to clarify anything, I'm here or PM me..... or tell me to BUZZ OFF...[​IMG]
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2012
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  12. bbq bill

    bbq bill Smoke Blower

    Dave that's a great idea! I will post pics as I go along. By the way... The drawing was great and cleared it up good.  THANKS! 
  13. Evening Lucky,  Glad to hear you where far away when it blew.  Below is a pic of my firebox with a slide that will be on the bottom for the airvent. I am currently working on this reverse flow build.   It is an wxample of what Dave was talking about in his drawings.  The piece you cut out for the opening between the firebox and smoke chamber will already have roughly the curve you need if the size will work for what you need. good luck with the build,  Joe

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  14. bbq bill

    bbq bill Smoke Blower

    Thanks WeedEater!  That's about what I was figuring... I got my cooking chamber FINALLY!!    (Not sure why the picture is sideways...)  I looked on the web and it said to fill it with water and some dish washing soap to remove any leftover propane smell or residue.  LOL I think I used too much soap!

  15. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    That picture reminds me of high school...... just a little bit.... [​IMG]  ...
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  16. rabbithutch

    rabbithutch Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Well, Lucky, did you throw that pair of pants away?

    If that had happened to me, they could have buried me in a matchbox.

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  17. bbq bill

    bbq bill Smoke Blower

    Haha....  no I kept my britches..... Pee washes out.  [​IMG]   
  18. bbq bill

    bbq bill Smoke Blower

    OK new question.....   The tank I have for the cooking chamber is about 120 gallons.  Would it be better to make 1 big door or 2 smaller doors?  If I go with 1 door will I need to reinforce the tank in any way?  (Side note: I don't know if I will ever smoke a whole pig.... But I recently got an invite to go hog hunting!!   [​IMG]   )
  19. bbq bill

    bbq bill Smoke Blower

    OK, this is the vent I fabricated... 



  20. bbq bill

    bbq bill Smoke Blower

    Well.... No input on the door, or vent?  I went ahead and cut one big door.  I'd still like to know if I need to reinforce the tank at all, if anyone sees this... Thanks.

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