Rookie in the planning stages... Any guidance?

Discussion in 'Reverse Flow' started by rowsdower, Jul 21, 2014.

  1. rowsdower

    rowsdower Fire Starter

    Gents, I have been scouring the forums for weeks now looking for info, tips, insight, whatever I can find regarding designing my smoker. I figured I might as well post up my specs here and let you guys shoot holes in my design so I can make it bulletproof.

    For background, my brother-in-law advised me that he has connections through which he can get me sheet steel, and we can weld it up in his garage. So I did the design up from scratch using Feldon's calculator and a bunch of ideas from here and elsewhere on the internet. I want to keep the thing small, as a roll-around backyard unit only. I had it at a 48" cook chamber, but downsized it. I want to use 1/4" steel throughout for heat retention. I want two levels of cooking surface, both slide-out. I designed it as a direct-flow, but I have been toying with making it reverse flow. Jury's still out on that; opinions on doing so in a cooker of this size?

    Anyway, here's my drawing. It's rough, mainly to show dimensions and to allow me to calculate volume for the Feldon's worksheet. The front view doesn't have a CC door drawn in, it will fit in the opening with a flange around the edges. I'll figure out a firebox door and all that stuff in time.

    And here's the link to my Feldon's worksheet:,5,0,25.92,0.86&fc=9.38,13.27,69.12

    Any critiques or suggestions will be most welcome!
  2. rowsdower

    rowsdower Fire Starter

    Anyone have a thought? Heck, if my design sucks, tell me why and how to fix it! lol
  3. lendecatural

    lendecatural Smoking Fanatic

    It will have a hot end by the firebox but you could use that to your advantage, reverse flow will greatly lessen that effect. If you decide to go with reverse flow, make sure you use a factor of 1.5 larger for the firebox to cook chamber opening and area under the plate. You will likely want a counter weight for the door, but that will be an easy fix.
  4. rowsdower

    rowsdower Fire Starter

    Good to know, thanks. Will I need to enlarge the firebox itself at all, or just the opening?

    Also, do I have a minimum clearance I need to keep in mind for the area under the reverse flow plate?

    For the door, I was planning to do a counterweight of some sort. Not sure on specifics, but I used a hog cooker a couple weeks ago with a ridiculously heavy door and I swore mine wouldn't be a wrestling match like that!
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2014
  5. lendecatural

    lendecatural Smoking Fanatic

    Take a careful look at this thread.

    You will see that Feldon's is based on the firebox so you have to enter your CC size then put in a 100% firebox for your required areas for exhaust, intake, and area of opening to the CC, under RF plate, and where it turns towards the grates, then build the real firebox how ever big you want. Usually most guys put the lower grate about 6" above the RF plate. Your firebox shows 106% so you are good and the area you are looking for under an RF plate and CC opening will be ~38 sq-in (1.5 x Feldon's recommend area for reverse flow). Since your planned firebox is bigger than 100%, all of your numbers are already slightly high so you have some margin. The other consideration is the weather in which you are smoking, you may want to consider insulating the firebox and making it a bit bigger if you think you will be smoking in the cold up there.

    Doors get heavy fast, and something about adding fire makes them hot too!!

    Keep us posted on what you decide, I love watching builds come together, and your's looks like it will be unique.

  6. rowsdower

    rowsdower Fire Starter

    Excellent advice, thanks very much. I do like to smoke in the winter, which is a real chore with my char-griller. So I will definitely look at doing some insulation of the FB.

    I really can't wait to see this concept become a reality, hopefully in a few months I'll be posting Q-view from it!
  7. rowsdower

    rowsdower Fire Starter

    That thread you linked is very informative, by the way. So much for me to digest... And I for sure don't want to skip the 'sit back and ponder' phase.

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