If there is anything you want to know as we go along with this please ask. I try to remember details but, well, I'm getting older. I don't always remember.
Ok, the firebox door is 21x21. It was built out of 3in. angle iron. Being that big, I can use it as a lentil to lay brick across the top of door. When setting the door it must be level. If it was built square, it will be plum. Something to keep in mind is the door should be built on brick work. The brick I was using was odd sized being they were hand made. I layed them on 3inches. At 7 runs I was even with the top of the door frame. No cutting a half run to get over the door. My brother welded metal flanges to the side of the frame on my brick work to make it more solid in the masonry. I'm still not sure if I have enough air flow coming into the firebox. This is something I will know when I fire it up the first time. Brother said if it was a problem to bring him the door back and he would cut a vent into the door for more air. Once I reached the top of the door frame with the brick I stepped the chamber down to 16 inches wide. The chamber is 22 inches deep all the way up.
Now/ I'm ready to start the cook chamber. My first shelf is at the top of the firebox door. Its a bit low for cooking, but its a great place to put my water pan. The pan he (brother) is building is 16x12x3. I ask him to build it from 1/8in. steel. Being on the heat I thought it need to be pretty heavy steal to keep it from burning out quickly. Size here is just a guess. I may have to baffle it more depending on how even the heat is from bottom to top.
To this point the firebrick have been layed on there side. For the shelves I simply layed the firebrick flat and let them hang over 1 1/2in. The spacing between shelves were, brick on side, brick layed flat. This is very time consuming. Its very important to keep everything level and square. When laying firebrick the thinner the mud joint the better. This isn't as important in a smoker as it would be in a fireplace. Some people would say to use fire clay. You can but, its expensive and not available in this area. If you use type s mortar mix, mixed 2 parts sand 1 part type s it will be very strong. It will last for many many years even in a fireplace.
I had to take the whole build up at the same time. I couldn't lay just the firebrick all the way up because it had to tie into the front. I couldn't set the doors without the outside brick, so it all had to be done as it went up.
Now, once I got to the top of the firebox I stepped my block back to 6in. block. You wouldn't have to, but it cuts a few dollars off the cost of block work. I still have about 2 in. of air space between the firebrick and the block. To keep mud from falling in the void I stuffed it with fiberglass insulation. OK, a little common sense here. Yeah, take the paper off of it. It helps insulate the cooker and keeps the air space open.
Your shelf work can go as high as you want it to. I could have probably gotten by with a single cooker door and a couple less shelves. But, it looks good and I got room to spare when cooking. After all, if I'm going to fire it up I can smoke 10 butts as easily as I can cook 1. I keep tempting my friends with bits a pieces of what I smoke. I'm hoping I can call them when I'm going to fire it up and get some orders. One can hope anyway....
Next comes the damper system.
Setting the cooker doors. Once again this door must be set level.
The first shelf is not seen. Its between the two doors.
The white pipe is power to a light. I wanted to have some kind of power source at my build so I ran a line for a receptacle and light. A note here. If you run power through masonry it must be in some kind of conduit. If you don't over years the mortar will eat away at the wires.
Here you can see how its all going together. Shelves, block and face brick. Notice at the point that I stepped in from 8in block the 6's I also stepped in the face brick. It adds a nice look to the build.
Insulation is tight but not packed.
Once over the top door I'm ready to start stepping it into the damper system.
Couple notes here. As a rule of thumb you should never corbel (step) brick more then an inch at a time without support under it. Once set masonry will support itself.
Hope everyone has a great evening!