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Propping up offset smoker door

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 

I'm building my first custom reverse-flow offset smoker, and I need some help with the door.  It's going to be roughly a flat 36" x 30" sheet of 1/8" steel, and I need to know how to get it to stay up when I lift it to check the meat.  I'm trying to avoid using a counterweight, and I was wondering if anyone had any ideas on how to get it to stay up, and then come down easy when I'm done checking the meat.  I've posted some rough images to show what I'm talking about.  Any help is appreciated.




post #2 of 12

Hello and Welcome to our addiction.  A word of warning: There is no 12 step program for this one!  Many good folk here with a load of experience that they are more than willing to share.  If you have specific questions just start a thread and someone with experience will be along soon to offer advice.  All info you can provide us with such as smoker type, location and so on will help us answer any questions you may have.  Spend some time doing some research on the forums, tons of advice and recipes already available there.  We look forward to your contributions.  

Just as a side note: how are you planning to control the warping when you cut the door and from the heat when in use?  Without a counter weight I am grasping here.  That will be a pretty heavy door especially when you consider the angle of the lift ( and I think you will add weight to control warping ).  2 broom handles cut to the EXACT length.  :icon_biggrin:  Anything "spring loaded" MAY lose the spring because of the heat.  What about the hinges for the hood of a car and a latch to hold it down?  Still may have a problem with the heat/spring thing.  Hopefully someone else has better ideas.  Keep Smokin!


post #3 of 12
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the warning, :439:.  I've been smoking on a store bought Char-griller offset smoker for about 7 years now, and after making every modification to that that I could to make it a reverse flow smoker, it's time to upgrade. I'm planning on using some 1/4" flat bar to keep the door from warping in the heat.  I was thinking about using 2 doors, but I want a larger cooking area, and don't want to have to divide up the grilling space.  I like the idea of using car hood hinges.  I have a couple of weeks before I build it, so if you think of anything else let me know.





post #4 of 12
Hi Tony,

Since folks are already welcoming you to SMF, I'm going to keep your post here in Roll Call.

Welcome to the SMF Family!

I saw a guy at a local BBQ compition that had a smoker with the same type of door set up that you have. He took a couple of lift assembies that they use on SUV's to hold the liftgate up in the open position and fabricated them so they were on the outside of the smoker. He had attatched them to standoff points to keep them away from the body of the smoker so they wouldn't get overly hot. Wish now I would have taken pictures of his set up when I had the chance.
post #5 of 12

yeahthat.gif The Hood Pistons should be designed to handle heat but mounting on the outside will eliminate any issue. Lift gate pistons have to handle a lot of weight and may be too firm to close easily. Maybe they are adjustable for universal use in any car. Just a guess...JJ

post #6 of 12

Hello and welcome from East Texas, Looks like you have already gotten some good ideas, If I'm not mistaken someone one the forum posted something about using lift gate or hood hinges several months ago, best I can remember they worked great had the same kind of setup as you.


Gary S

post #7 of 12

Hello and welcome from a fellow Michigander! That looks like a prime candidate for an old pair of hood hinges off an old truck....

Kinda like this. This one is 79ish ford.  Maybe a little overkill spring wise. Might have to find a lighter one that matches the weight a little better.

post #8 of 12
Split the door down the middle and have them open to the side.......
post #9 of 12

Make a door prop out of some bar stock.  You can slot it at the bottom and cut the slot to make a

friction stop.  If you want to get real fancy you can cut "ratchet slots" to allow for holding door open at

a numerous points.  You'll have to play around with clearances, placement anchor points and slot length.




post #10 of 12
Thread Starter 
Thanks for all the great advice. My friend and I are going to play around with a couple of designs. I'll make sure I post pics when it's done.
post #11 of 12

A lot of folks counter weight the doors.


post #12 of 12

Hello Tp,  If you decide to use gas springs, lots of information & options with different power levels at McMaster-Carr:  http://www.mcmaster.com/#gas-springs/=s2pjll

Regards,  Earl

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