Operation: Turkey Gobble. Now with bonus Q-vue!

Discussion in 'Reverse Flow' started by jweller, Nov 20, 2013.

  1. jweller

    jweller Fire Starter

    So the side firebox fell off my CharGriller, a victim of rust. Thanksgiving is coming and there's turkey to be smoked. I've had a propane tank hiding behind my shed, just waiting for a build. My next door neighbor has helped out and let me use his plasma cutter, along with providing some technical assistance, since he welds professionally. The tank is 57 gallons, and I'm not putting it on a trailer, at least for now. Just some wheels to roll it about. I'm putting the FB door on the front so that it will take up less room on my patio.

    cutting the door

    Door cut

    firebox cutout as well

    firebox started

    and welded on

    wheels ready

    and it's rolling

    Finally. Burning that gawdawful smell out.

    and the door is on

    So thats where she sits. I've got to figure out exactly what I'm doing with the door for the firebox. I've got some ideas, but nothing in stone. Probably going to depend on what I can get from the scrap dealer. one of the big questions I've got is how high to put the vent for the firebox. I've read that it's not recommended to put it below the fire grate, to keep ash from blowing through, but should I put it at the same level of the fire grate, or just above it. The other plan is to put the RF plate at the same level as the top of the firebox, but I'm not sure if thats quite correct. I've got 10 inches from the bottom of the tank to the bottom of the door opening. and the FB is about 6 inches up, so that leaves me 4 inches from the RF plate to the cooking grate. Any thoughts on that?
  2. bmudd14474

    bmudd14474 Guest

    Get that thing done and the turkey doesn't stand a chance.
  3. jweller

    jweller Fire Starter

    OK I'm trying to figure out how to make the cut in the tank for the smoke stack, and I'm not sure how to do it. does anyone have a good way to layout the cut other than trial and error?
  4. radioguy

    radioguy Smoking Fanatic


    Welcome aboard, you'll get some great advice here. For my smokestack cut out I built a template out of some plywood and 2x4s. Haven't posted a picture. I traced the diameter on the plywood, 1/2 the circle. Cut that out and then in half. I tacked the two 1/4 circles to the 2x4s so they are separated by 6 or so inches. My stack is 3 inches round. I then stapled cardboard to the wood frame. The cardboard is the outer skin of the cook chamber. I then played with the cut out on the cardboard. Remove staples and the trace the opening on your tank. Hope this makes sense. Cardboard is cheaper and you'll save a lot of time in the long run. I'll try to post a picture in the next few days.

    Good luck with your build.

  5. jweller

    jweller Fire Starter

    Hmmm...not sure I completely understand, but it did give me an idea. off to the garage!
  6. jweller

    jweller Fire Starter

    I spent all weekend working on it, but only took a few pics. I didn't take one at the end of the night last night either, so I'll have to get that tonight. I got pretty far though, so I think I'm on target to be done in time.

     here is the hole for the smoke stack. I fiddled around for a while figuring this out until I hit on an idea. I gut myself a piece off the end of the stack about 1 1/2 inches tall. I had to cut something off of it anyway to clean up the cut the steel yard made. then I positioned it on the top of the CC using a welding magnet. I just used a ruler then to drop it down to the side of the tank and marked it. Then I cut the hole, ground it clean, stood the stack up in the hole and marked the cut for it to follow the angle. It was a real pita to get it square and tacked in place, mostly because I was working solo. Overall I'm real happy with how it came out.

    This is the start of the RF plate. Drilling the hole in the bottom of the CC and the piece of angle took 11 forevers. Go slow and lots of cutting fluid is the only way to not trash the hole saw.

    Anyway, I've got the RF plate in, the slides for the cook rack in, the rack started, the fire grate in, and the FB door moved along pretty far.

    So close to thin blue smoke
  7. radioguy

    radioguy Smoking Fanatic

    This is a bit late. Build is looking hook good!!


  8. jweller

    jweller Fire Starter

    @RadioGuy Ohhhhhhh. <smacks forehead>

    I'm visual. Can not go from words to a picture to save my life, but show me one pic, and I'm set.  Thanks.

    One more picture.

    Parents are coming in from out of town tonight, and that means that I have baby sitting! Hooray for extra work time.

    Still left for a functional smoker: put the expanded sheet onto the cook rack frame, build the FB door hinges and latch, finish the vents, weld a door handle on. The vents are killing me, 3 inch holes into 3/16 plate. I was using a hole saw but when the drill started to smoke, I decided to take a break and reassess rather than burn it up. Wish I still had access to a plasma cutter.
  9. jweller

    jweller Fire Starter

    Made it! Is 10:20 pm on wed night too late for a first burn?

    and working this morning. I didn't a real door latch built, but this piece of angle iron will get the job done.

    and bonus Q-vue

    Overall I'm pretty happy. Gotta trim the stack down, but I knew that. I'm gonna add the small vent up high on the end of the fire box to help with air flow through it. It used a ton of fuel, but burned hot. I can get the CC to 300 deg no problem. I'm going to build a log lighter to get it started too. lt's a lot of little details, but now I've got more time.
  10. Great build, good looking turkey,  In the picture your stack looks awfully tall, did you check measurements with the pit calculator? Just wondering

  11. I am thinking with your CC size your stack if 3" should be about 36"  if 4" about 20"   Dave can chime in and check it for sure I do know too long or too short effects your air flow, draw, heat and fuel

  12. Sorry, I jumped in to quick, for some reason I missed or did not read where you said you needed to trim you stack, again my apologies.

  13. jweller

    jweller Fire Starter

    No worries, I get that you were trying to be helpful.

    It is close to 4 ft tall, so it's over a foot taller than feldons calculator suggests. I'm concerned that the FB->CC opening is too small, and I figured that a tall stack would make it draw better. The plan is to do a series of cooks cutting the stack down each time to tune it. I was right, it draws great. too great. I had to keep feeding it because it burns right through everything.

    It's actually a real funny story. It's almost finished, when my wife walks out into the garage, and sort of casually muses "so, how you gonna get it out of here?"  awkward silence. an eye to the stack, an eye to the top of the garage door, and an eye back to the stack. "um, yeah, I was planning on cutting that." Wife returns to the house, and I drag that ladder over and start to measure it when my neighbor says, why don't we just tilt it? Fueled with beer and enthusiasm, thats what we did.
  14. Funny how Beer does that, I've been there a time or two

  15. radioguy

    radioguy Smoking Fanatic


    I'm glad you made the deadline.  That bird looks good.  Hope you had a great Thanksgiving.   Now you have to time to concentrate on the details and add those finishing touches. 

    TBS to you!

  16. jweller

    jweller Fire Starter

    I spent some time working on details last night, and decided to stop and take some build pics

    I noticed a lot of people ask questions about hinges, but there don't seem to be a lot of pics of them, so I decided to snap a few showing what I did.

    that is just some 3/8 round bar and pipe. The pipe I threw on the lathe to square the ends and to clean up the inside seam, but I could have just as easily done it with a rat tail file by hand. The round bar I bent using a vice and a MAPP gas torch. I have a propane heater that I use in the garage, and I preheated it by setting it in the flame, but I have done it with just the torch. The key is to be patient enough to let it glow orange, then it bends real easy. The secondary bend I started the same way, and then adjusted once I had the door on. I heated it til it was red, then just opened the door, set a piece of rebar under the hinge, closed it to bend it, checked the fit, and repeated til I was happy, when I went too far, I just beat it with a hammer. more time consuming than anything. This one bent the flat stock I used for a door flange, so I'm considering cutting it loose and readjusting it. I'll have to see how bad it leaks when I fire it up again.

    Here is the firebox door. same procedure, but a bit more fiddly due to the second bend. You have to get the middle section of the bend the same length on both hinges, or else the door won't open quite straight and will bind. Please excuse the flux core splatter, I still have to go back and clean this up, and get the barrel more than just tacked. I have a little bit of binding that I think is going to work itself out the more I open and close the door, and I still have a lot of work on the door, but I think this illustrates what I did pretty well.

    Heres a pic of what I did for the vent slider. Somebody asked about them the other day and I didn't have a pic, so I took one. 1/2in angle and 4x1/4 plate. a little bit of slop, but not much. I might run a bead on the face of the slide where it touches the angle to take up some of the slop, or I might not. It seems ok, and I don't really need it to be perfectly leak free, except for when I am shutting it down at the end of a cook.

    A pic of the cook rack, I made a 3/4in square tube frame, and put expanded sheet on top. Planning on adding a second rack above it, just not sure at what height yet, and I need to order a second set of thermometers for it.

    and the tabs I put in so I can slide it out. You can't see it, but on the underside, I beveled the ends of the tabs so they would be less likely to catch on the grating. I was considering putting a stop on the end of the rack so that you really had to be a dummy to slide it out too far, but it seems OK for now, and there isn't quite enough room for them to work the way I was envisioning them.

  17. frosty

    frosty Master of the Pit

    Man that looks pretty special to me!  Good job, and I'll bet the turkey will be only the first victim to that rascal!  Overall, a total victory.

  18. radioguy

    radioguy Smoking Fanatic


    Looking good! Nice place your initials. I might just do the same.

  19. Beautiful Job.  I did the same door hinge and same idea to keep rack from falling out.  I don't think you want a stop on rack cause it allows you to take it out to clean....just my own experiences with this.
  20. jweller

    jweller Fire Starter

    Thanks for all the kind words everyone!

    No pics, because I'm a slug, but I'll get some more here in the next couple of days. I built what looks like a burner grate on top of the FB, should keep it from warping and also serve as a nice spot to put a cast iron skillet for maybe frying up some peppers and onions to go with sausages. We'll see how much it gets used, but it was an easy add. I trimmed the stack down to a reasonable height too.

    My FB door warped the first time I cooked with it, so I reenforced it with some 1/2in angle, which warped when I welded it, but I got it back flat. Then as soon as I fired it up yesterday, it warped again. I know it's too thin, but I was using what I had available. I need to see if it comes back to flat now that it's cool. I also need to figure out what to do about it. I think that the latches I'm going to build will work fine to keep it closed tight, but I'm now worried that it will get hot, warp against the latches, and jam them shut. I'm hoping that when I add ribwizzards high vent to get more air moving in the right direction, that will bring the overall temp down in the FB and make it less of an issue.

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