Long Time Smoker, First Time Welder (250 gal RF)

Discussion in 'Reverse Flow' started by crawfishslayer, Oct 11, 2010.

  1. As my title for this thread states, I have enjoyed the art of smoking for several years. Living in Texas most of my life has given me a love for brisket. Moving to Mooresville NC 4 years ago sent me into a BBQ culture shock. I have grown to like pork but will continue to force brisket onto my neighbors at every possible opportunity. I have outgrown my Brinkmann Smoke-N-Pit and have decided to build my next smoker. BTW...I have some woodworking skills but have never made anything out of metal and have never welded. I have followed several builds on this forum and with everyone's help I am ready.

    I found a guy selling an old propane tank that was manufactured in 1950. Still in great shape and the walls are 5/16" thick. I cut the doors out about 2 months ago with a circular saw and a $3 metal cutting blade. Found an old boat trailer on Craig's List. Perfect size for this project.

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    Burned out the tank because it was starting to stink up the garage.

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    The kid across the street gave me a 10 minute lesson on how to weld. Too impatient to practice so started right in on the firebox. Glad I bought a grinder. The welder I bought is a small import model from Harbor Freight. It has worked really well for me. These cuts were made with the grinder and a cutting wheel. Much easier than the circular saw.

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    Trimmed out the door with 1/4" flat bar and made a handle with a simple closer. My welds are getting better. These don't need to be ground down.There have been several posts lately discussing the price of a 4x8 sheet of 1/4 steel. The guy I have bought all of mine from sold me the sheet for $175. That was about $75 less than anybody else around. I have yet to find anyone around here selling scrap.

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    Mounted the firebox. You can see that I actually cut 2 doors out of the 1 large opening. The left one overlaps the right one.

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    Borrowed an engine hoist so I could make brackets to mount the tank to the trailer. This thing is heavy!

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    Got it mounted back on the trailer. It took me about 8 weeks to get to this point. Now I need to be done in 3 weeks so I can cook for a party. Almost all of my spare time will go into finishing this up over the next few weeks. Thanks again to all that have posted before me. I learned a lot and appreciate your info.
     
    rabbithutch likes this.
  2. tom37

    tom37 Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Congrats on the build. From what I can see, you are doing a fine job. The flange is probably the hardest part to make look good. I have not yet had to mark and cut out a helical tank end and I dread the day I do. As far as the welding goes, if you are not a professional welder then you can settle to be a professional grinder. Thats what I have done. Every now and then I lay down a purdy bead.

    Good luck on a speedy finish and keep us posted.
     
  3. raptor700

    raptor700 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Lookin' Good, I'm following this one! and you seam to have picked up on the welding aspect pretty quick!!  [​IMG]
     
  4. Had a little time today. Got half of the RF plate in. Ran out of 1/4" plate so I couldn't finish. I already had the pieces cut, just had to stick them in place.

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    I'm pretty happy with my welds up to this point. By the time I am done with this project I might be kinda sorta ok at this.

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  5. raptor700

    raptor700 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

      Oh Yeah, You will be a Master after all the welding is done on this rig!    [​IMG]    Lokin good, Keep the pics comin!
     
  6. adiochiro3

    adiochiro3 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Looking great!  That "stack of dimes" skill is coming along nicely!  [​IMG]Keep up the good work and the updates.  I'm a woodworker, too; but , ain't it great working with metal sometimes? 
     
  7. ryanhoelzer

    ryanhoelzer Smoking Fanatic

    That looks great.  I was in Mooresville for a couple days a couple weekends ago.  Pretty much only to give my 30 days notice to the landlord and start packing stuff.  Moving to TN.  I will be in a house though and might actually be able to start a small build of my own.  I'll definitely be watching yours.
     
  8. deannc

    deannc Master of the Pit

    You guys and these builds are going to make me go take a welding class!! LOL  

    Great looking build!  Thanks for sharing the build...looking forward to following you through to the Qview on this one.  [​IMG]
     
  9. raptor700

    raptor700 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Love the Chipin' Hammer     [​IMG]
     
  10. Had a few hours to work today. Got all 4 shelves built. Instead of welding the center support for the upper shelves, I bolted it. If I remove the 3 bolts the entire bracket can be removed to accommodate a large animal on the bottom shelves. I have a 125 pig to smoke next month and it would not fit had I not made this bracket removable.

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    Top shelves are 20" x 36" bottom shelves are 28"x 36". That gives me 3400 sq inches of cooking surface. I could have made the top shelves larger but these measurements were the best use of the 4x8 sheet of expanded.

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    Raptor,

    I have a question for you. How tall is your smoke stack? The calculator says mine should me 29" tall. It is 6" pipe. The piece I bought is 3' long and I don't want to waste any. Did you lower yours to the cooking surface or is it flush with the top? I was also wondering if I should cut the bottom at an angle to provide a larger opening to help with the draw. What do you think? Anyone?
     
  11. tom37

    tom37 Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    looking good slayer,

    I like the idea of having the bracket removable. Very nice.
     
  12. raptor700

    raptor700 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

     My stack is 40" I lowered it into the cookin chamber near the top grate. I didn't need it that long, but I wanted all the draw I could get! I can use the stack damper to slow down the draw if needed. Just a side note.......From what I have read here is if the calc. calls for 29" that means 29" from the top of the cookin chamber, What extends into the chamber doesn't matter! It just holds more smoke at the cookin surface longer!  Can't wait to see it smokin'   Good Luck.........(OH) That's Right!!!  You don't need luck you have SMF   [​IMG]
     
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    Raptor,

    How did you make this handle? Did you make it from a chipping hammer or did you buy the coil and bend a piece of rod to put it on? How much clearance do you have from the handle to the tank? In other words, when you grab the handle how close are your knuckles to the tank?

    I might have to borrow this idea from you. A friend of mine made me 2 mahogany handles on his lathe but I think they are going to be too big to work well. I think my tank is mounted higher than yours and I am concerned that if I use the wood handles they might be a stretch to grab when the lid is up.
     
  14. mballi3011

    mballi3011 Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

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    I agree with everyone here you have made one fine looking smoker there Crawfish. I would also like to see it smoking something but I know  thats will be soon enough.
     
  15. raptor700

    raptor700 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I ground the handle off the chipping hammer, then slid it over some 3/8 round stock and bent it to the shape I needed. I drilled two 3/8 in holes in the tank and welded the handle from the inside. When I grab the handle my knuckles are about an inch from the tank. It doesn't sound like much but it works great, because it doesn't get hot and you can still reach it to close the door
     
  16. Thats  a pretty sweet looking smoker you got going there Crawfish.   I like how you built your cooking grates, I just may do something like what you did in mine.  I knew I wanted two sets of grates just was unsure of the top set. 

    Hey Raptor    thanks for your advise on the smoke stack I was going to ask the same question as Crawfish did. Don't mean to hi-jack  
     
  17. burksmoke

    burksmoke Smoke Blower OTBS Member

    Great Job!  Where can I find this formula to calc. the size of the stack?
     
  18. coacher72

    coacher72 Smoking Fanatic

    Great job on the build. Keep the pics coming. It looks like you're getting quite a following. Lots of good ideas.
     
  19. Just wondering if u have more photos of the fabrication of your smoker. I am currently turning a 1000 gal tank into a reverse flow smoker that will be used for large events I like a lot of what you did with the smoker. Any suggestions of does and don'ts would be great.
     
  20. raptor700

    raptor700 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

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