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custom maze box

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 

Hi smoker gurus.

 

Im building out a charcoal maze box for my smoker. The smoker is just a semi-old smoker off craigslist, new braunsfelds offset type.

 

Id like for it to fit in the side door and leave the cooking grate in the firebox for potatoes and other items that need the heat.

 

Here is what i have so far, welded up with some scrap pieces from the scrapyard.

 

 

 

The dimensions are 10"x15"x5". That leaves room around the sides and room at the bottom for some feet to allow extra airflow. Im planning on having the maze run the long way, and if i have room, Id like to have a built in chimeney starter feature, so i can retire my weber starter. Put the box in with paper, light it and walk away.

 

Comments or suggestions before I weld the rest up?

post #2 of 13
Thread Starter 

Final fit up.

post #3 of 13
Thread Starter 

Welding...

 

 

Not too shabby for an amateur...

 

 

Bottom going on

 

 

And out of flux core...  Off to the store.

post #4 of 13
looking good... myself I would have liked to seen bigger (#9, 3/4")expanded metal on the bottom.... the smaller stuff still clogs up with ash and smothers the fire.... BUT... I would love for ya to try it and see if it works....
post #5 of 13
Thread Starter 

Damn, didnt know that. I just welded the heck out of the bottom.

 

I could always drill some holes in the side down low too.

 

Was going to put some feet on the bottom to get it up high for good airflow. Ill probably just tack them on just in case I do have to replace the expanded metal. Thanks for the heads up.

post #6 of 13
Thread Starter 

Hmm. Upon further thought, keeping airspace under the box may be a benefit.

 

Only one way to find out, Im going to have to try it out tomorrow.

 

Side view in place.

 

 

Top view in place.

 

 

Decent air gap underneath, would be better with feet though.

 

Going to have to get some meat for tomorrow.  Im hoping to get a 3-4 hour burn out of it. What do you guys think?

post #7 of 13
Thread Starter 

Woohoo! I found a bag of charcoal in the garage. So its 6am and im going to burn this out, so maybe I can cook with it today.

 

Yeah i cheated and used lighter fluid. I do so if im just seasoning, etc.

 

post #8 of 13
Thread Starter 

Well, the ash isnt faling through, but the fire is hardly smothered. Im actually having a problem with it burning too hot.

 

The charcoal has active flames on them and arent just smoldering like they normally do.

 

I think partly its due to my charcoal loading and partly to the fire jumping the maze. I should have started the maze with a big charcoal pile and thinned it out after that. I started with an even amount in the maze but it  was only reaching 175f.  I then added more charcoal and then it went too high. I may also have to do a double wall to keep the fire from jumping.

post #9 of 13
You may want to light your starter briquettes in a chimney. When they are good and glowing red add them to the start of your maze. Should help with the fire jumping.
post #10 of 13
Thread Starter 

Im new to this, how would a chimney help with the fire speading?

 

From what I saw, the fire didnt actually spread where i applied the lighter fluid. It seemed to spread under and around the divider toward the middle. I think stacking the charcoal kept the heat in and continued the reaction.

 

Luckily, i have some leftover expanded metal, Im going to see if I can strategically place it toprevent the fire from spreading.

 

On the plus side, its going on 4 hours, so i am pleased with the burn time.

post #11 of 13
Thread Starter 

Hmm. Seems the fire is slow to start, then the second row just takes off, even with expanded metal keeping the coals off the side wall.

 

I think heat is building in the firebox and that makes it easier for more coals to light.

 

I think Im going to have to seal up the firebox better so I can control the combustion better with the damper. Anyone have any suggestions?

 

And next time for sure i am going to use my weber chiminey starter.

post #12 of 13
yea.. air leaks are killing you.... gotta seal things up better....
post #13 of 13
Thread Starter 
I sealed things up better and got 25 more degees out of it. I havent seen anyone use this method, so here is what i did.

First find out where the gaps are. You can use smoke. Alternately, you can use this trick i learned from an old salt. Find some lipstick (every woman has one that shes not going to use anymore) coat it on the undersidr of the lid, then close the lid. Then open the lid. Qhere you see lipstick is making good contact. Everywhere else has a gap.

I set my mig for lower heat than would be required fir full penetration. That caused high weld beads and minimized distortion, which i then flapped down with a grinder.

I also sealed up around the chimney.

Here are some pics.





So far, flow has been greatly improved, i see smoke exiting the chimney faster than before, and 25F hotter with no change in technique.
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