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Restoring an old charcoal smoker

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 

Hey everybody!  Since joining these forums I have a couple of smokes under my belt  using my dad's little vertical electric smoker.  Now that I know this is something that I will enjoy I decided to fix up the old charcoal smoker/griller my dad was going to through out in the trash.  It is a Wal-Mart imitation of the little CharGriller with side firebox.


This is the front view of the side firebox after a little bit of sanding.



This is the front view of the main cooking chamber.


And the inside views:




I am planning on taking the whole thing down to bare metal and repainting the outside.  I am also going to install a baffle, replace the cooking grates, and extend the smoke stack down to the grate level.  Finally, I am going to replace the thermostat and add some wire baskets to the bottom, then build a charcoal box for the side firebox.


When this is all done, I am hoping to be able to switch between wood chunks and lump charcoal for smoking so I can try my hand with both types of fuel.  If this project goes well, I am planning on adding a large Char Griller and a vertical charcoal smoker to my collection.

post #2 of 4

That's a nice heavy looking Smoker, will do you nice.biggrin.gif A hint: find a piece of metal approximately with the same or close -to the radius of the FB. Lay it in the bottom of the FB tp make dumping your ashes easier. This makes air intake easier for the fuel to combust...raise the fire grate 4" above the intakes to improve flow.


Good plan , Seymore. Have fun with it  , paint it a different color , add logos , make it your own personality.


But most of all, have fun and...

post #3 of 4
Thread Starter 

I can't believe I have forgotten to come back and update this thread as the project progresses icon_rolleyes.gif


Anyway so far here is what I have done:


1) Built a homemade charcoal box (well, more pentagon shape, see below)

2) Put on a new coat of high temp black paint

3) Sealed most of the air leaks with high temp silicone sealant.


I am at work right now (don't tell my boss) so I can't get any pics to post, but will through some up this weekend as I work on my briskets.


Back to that charcoal box deal... I started with measuring the inside dimensions of my firebox where I wanted it to make contact and sit, about halfway up the intake vent.  I went back in the house and made up an actual size model using sheets of paper and Scotch tape.  Went back out to test fit and found it was a bit too large, so I knocked it down about a 1/2" on all dimensions.


I built the box out of 1/2" expanded steel by making cuts in the sheet to have two sides extend out longer than the other sides.  I bent up all four sides, which was not fun to do without having the right tools.  I then bent the pieces stick out around the corner and bolted it all together.  I went to put it in my firebox and found that it was too big to fit, strangely enough, by about the same size as the nuts and bolts that I added to the box head-wall.gif


So in a quick thinking idea I grabbed a large C clamp and a block of wood, and clamped the basket to shrink the width.  The result is that one wall collapsed outward, and now I have a charcoal basket in a vague pentagon shape.


Moral of the story is that the really mean it when they say measure twice, cut once - and don't forget to pad your measurements to account for the hardware. drool.gif

post #4 of 4

I guess you were just so excited about it that you just forgot about it..

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