First Smoker, First Timer

Horizontal smokers with a side firebox and tuning plates.
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alex_74
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First Smoker, First Timer

Post by alex_74 » April 27th, 2020, 4:03 pm

This is my first smoker and smoker build. I love metal works stuff and love good BBQ. So, I decided to build my own backyard smoker. I didn't want anything too big and it already bigger then i had imagined. My destinations are 20"x1/4" round pipe for CC and FB. CC is 40" and FB is tentatively 14". I have a question on the FB size. I know the rule of thumb for FB size is 1/3 the size of the CC. But at what size does that rule no longer work. For example, if you have a 30" cc i'm assuming a 10" FB is too small. I haven't been able to find an answer to this question. So is my 14" fire box going to be to small?
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Re: First Smoker, First Timer

Post by Big T » April 27th, 2020, 5:45 pm

I think the biggest issue that you'll have is just how tight the FB gets when you add a fire basket/ log rack and an ash pan if you choose to have one. You're wood splits will be pretty small so you'll probably end up cutting your own logs to size. As for just when a FB gets too small, I can't say for sure but I know that there's certainly a point where the math doesn't work out.


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Re: First Smoker, First Timer

Post by alex_74 » April 27th, 2020, 9:09 pm

Thanks for the input, after I cut the pipe it seemed small and that was my fear. I have enough left over to cut it whatever length I need to though. All I was going off of originally was the 1/3 rule and reading that too big of a FB can easily to burn to hot. So, at this point i'm not sure if I should just role with it of cut a bigger one, and if I do that what size?



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Re: First Smoker, First Timer

Post by Dirtytires » April 27th, 2020, 11:28 pm

You are right at the 14-15 inch length. Wouldn’t go any/much bigger. You could always put a false top/bottom in To cut the cubic inches down if you wanted to go longer but then you get a smoker that just looks funny as the firebox is bigger than the cook chamber.



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Re: First Smoker, First Timer

Post by alex_74 » April 28th, 2020, 10:59 am

Thanks for the info. 14" seems small to me and maybe more of a hassle to get wood in there. I just haven't seen many FB's under 20". Can I go bigger and stay under a certain size differential % or is going bigger not a good idea?



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Re: First Smoker, First Timer

Post by Dirtytires » April 28th, 2020, 1:38 pm

Too big is bad.

Your firebox is based off the size of the cook chamber and, if you want to use a 20” diameter pipe for yours, then 14 inches long it should be.



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Re: First Smoker, First Timer

Post by alex_74 » May 4th, 2020, 10:14 am

Thanks for the response and input. Here are a few progress pictures from the other night.
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Re: First Smoker, First Timer

Post by Big T » May 4th, 2020, 5:33 pm

:LG:


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Re: First Smoker, First Timer

Post by Pete Mazz » May 5th, 2020, 4:15 am

:yth:


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Re: First Smoker, First Timer

Post by ajfoxy » May 5th, 2020, 4:41 pm

Coming along nicely. :kewl:


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Re: First Smoker, First Timer

Post by alex_74 » May 21st, 2020, 11:48 am

Thank you guys i appreciate it!
The CC door flanges didn't come out as good as I wanted. They have a tight fit on the sides but they are holding the door up a from closing all the way. I dont think its going to be a huge deal ill just have to use some lavalock gasket. Ive tried to reshape the flanges a little to drop the door down more but despite my efforts it didnt help. All i did was heat the flanges up and tried slamming the door. Im not sure what else i could do and keep a uniform shape. Any advise on that would be helpful.
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Re: First Smoker, First Timer

Post by Dirtytires » May 21st, 2020, 11:59 am

If it is just the flanges catching then you just need to adjust them. You can grind out from behind or bend the edge by fitting g a big crescent wrench on it.

Other possibility is that hinges need adjusted. Pretty common that builders forget to leave proper clearance and need to cut them off and redo.



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Re: First Smoker, First Timer

Post by hogaboomer » May 21st, 2020, 12:14 pm

You can try bending them with the crescent wrench deal, it works good. Check them with a straight edge as you go, so you can see how they're doing. k.a.m. told me that the actual hinge mechanism has to be on the CC side of the cut, or the door will pinch.



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Re: First Smoker, First Timer

Post by alex_74 » May 22nd, 2020, 12:30 pm

I'm going to try a few things before I cut the side flanges off. The problem i see with the crescent wrench idea is the flanges that are causing the issue are the rounded ones. So its going to be hard to keep the curve uniform bending then with a wrench...



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Re: First Smoker, First Timer

Post by hogaboomer » May 22nd, 2020, 2:14 pm

It looks like your hinge bolt is directly over the cut. According to k.a.m. who is an expert builder, the bolt needs to be placed over to the cooking chamber side a bit.



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Re: First Smoker, First Timer

Post by hogaboomer » May 22nd, 2020, 2:17 pm

Do those flanges ever fit tight enough to not leak without some kind of gasket or high temp sealant? I've only built one, and it leaks like crazy, I need to put the sealant on it. It still does a nice job cooking, even with the leaks, but I guess Im losing heat. It doesn't hold heat too good on a windy day.



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Re: First Smoker, First Timer

Post by Dirtytires » May 23rd, 2020, 10:56 am

My door fits pretty tight and I have only 0.25 inch flat gaskets on mine. Absolutely no air leaks.

You will be better off with a gasket but the goal is to have the best fitting door you can without it.



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Re: First Smoker, First Timer

Post by alex_74 » May 23rd, 2020, 11:35 am

Ya the hinge is directly over the kerf. I didn't know any better at the time. It has a decent seal everywhere but it's not tight on the top or bottom. I think I'm just going to role with it and use a gasket and or silicone. Here is a picture of the door gap and the fire box mounted.
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Re: First Smoker, First Timer

Post by dacolson » May 23rd, 2020, 12:25 pm

Man that looks great. The gap isn’t too bad. Along with the gasket, you could put a toggle clamp on either side of the door as well to improve the seal.


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Re: First Smoker, First Timer

Post by hogaboomer » May 23rd, 2020, 2:12 pm

That's looking pretty sweet!



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Re: First Smoker, First Timer

Post by Big T » May 23rd, 2020, 11:21 pm

Don't beat yourself up over the location of the hinges. I cut the hinges off about 6 or 7 times on the first cooker that I ever built before I realized why they weren't working right.
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Re: First Smoker, First Timer

Post by towtruck » May 23rd, 2020, 11:32 pm

Get that door laying flat first, and then set your hinges.....I used 1/4" thick gasket and set a 1/8" shim under the door, all the way around, when I set my hinges to get that perfect 50% crush on the gasket. Once the hinges are on put the gasket on and it should fit just right.



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Re: First Smoker, First Timer

Post by Dirtytires » May 24th, 2020, 11:20 am

If you don’t want to cut hinges off, you may be able to drill out the hinge bolt holeand then slide a bushing in to relocate the pivot point. Might work but not necessarily easier than just cutting off the brackets.

Understand if you want to leave it but keep in mind it will never be easier to fix than right now.



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Re: First Smoker, First Timer

Post by alex_74 » May 25th, 2020, 12:38 pm

So I have a few questions, and thank y'all for the encouragement. My OCD is killing me with this door haha.

Im not really wrapping my head around how hinge placement will make a difference...

What thickness and width flat staple is best for the flanges?

Do you gap the flat staple off the door when mounting it?
If so with what?



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Re: First Smoker, First Timer

Post by hogaboomer » May 25th, 2020, 12:52 pm

With the bolt directly over the cut, the flanges can pinch at the top when you try to close it. If it's not pinching, I wouldn't worry about it. What does it do when you take the bolts out? You can rub soapstone inside the flanges to see where they're hitting, where the soapstone transfers when you close the door. Might have to put down some painter's tape for it to work. You can also grind down high spots on the cook chamber.



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