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Oklahoma Joe Longhorn size questions - Page 3

post #41 of 46
Im loosing track. Do you have tuning plates in? I had a similar problem and discovered I had too many plates so the pit was not breathing. Took some out that were toward the chimney end and it worked much much better. Also make sure your sticks are small, golf ball to tennis diameter and they are warmed up real real good before throwing them on I sometimes crack the firebox vent door after putting a new split on for a little more oxygen to the fire And always leave the exhaust stack wide open
post #42 of 46
Thread Starter 

Good morning!


Yes, I have tuning plates.  Would hate to mess with them as I have the smoker so even at the grate, but is worth looking into.  Maybe could do without one.  I have pictures of how mine is set up plate wise in some previous posts.


Thanks for the big tip on the wood size.  That is potentially a big problem for me.  I bought wood from a firewood supplier (super cheap that way).  We are talking split logs about 18" long and probably as big a diameter as a grapefruit (not even round size, but say 6" dia on average).  What I did was to de bark the oak and then cut it into shorter lengths and that is what I've been using.  Lengths average probably 8 to 10 inches.


I now think I probably need to get a way to cut the diameter of the wood down.  At least by half, but probably more like into a third the size on each piece by the sound of it.  I did buy a maul, but the wood is hard as a rock and I guess I don't have a big enough hammer. 


If the neighbor does not have their door open today I may try another burn (using a lot of fuel trying to learn this thing, but hopefully worth it lol) with smaller wood started with a chimney of Kingsford and see where I am with it.  If it still seems like I'm starving out for air to the fire I'll try removing an end plate and see how my grate temps are impacted. 


Will post back for all those still interested.


Thanks to all those who posted to help.  Your input and advise is truly appreciated.

post #43 of 46
tThere is your problem. You wood is way too big in diameter. Get a 8 lb sledge and a splitting wedge. You will use the heck out of it, you need a way to deal with splitting wood
post #44 of 46
Thread Starter 

Bought a splitting wedge at Harbor Freight, but regular ball peen hammer not much good with it.  Just puts a little dent in the wood.


Dug around as I thought I had a bit of a shortened sledge that I used to use ages ago when straightening sprung truck bumper arms.  Found it just a bit ago.  Not ideal as far as length and impact, but better than the small ball peen I had I hope.


Sun blazing, but going to get out there and see about splitting some of those oak pieces I cut down to a more manageable size.  Might even get the smoker going again if the next door neighbor does not have their windows/door open. 


Will post up the results to keep all updated and hopefully help anyone else having some issues.

post #45 of 46
Just get yourself a full sized 8 lb sledge and be done with it It will serve you well.
post #46 of 46
Thread Starter 

Did get the wood split smaller yesterday afternoon.  Ended up using an axe.  Will have to get the bigger hammer.  Axe worked okay on splitting the wood I'd already debarked and cut down.


Lit the smoker and did a few hour burn. 


First off, decided I had way too much initial charcoal.  I'd watched a YouTube video showing what looked like the same smoker.  Guy had some Kingsford in the firebox and then dumped a full chimney on top of that to do a minion.  Then put his wood on etc.


In my instance I felt that the charcoal I had when done this way was too much so I scooped most of it out and put it in my ash bin.  Seemed more like it was aiding in cutting off my airflow even though I moved it around to get open spots to get air moving.  Left in probably a bit over half a chimney of coals.


Splits were about 8 or so inches long and golf ball size or slightly larger diameter.  Got them going on the coals good and closed the door with the damper full open.  Still had issues with it going out and white smoking.  Moved the wood around and to various spots in the chamber to see if flow could be improved.  Worked off and on.  Seemed to keep going (just two splits on at this point from the start) for a while and then would go out. 


I moved the turning plates to get more gaps to see if that was an issue.  Did not seem to be any difference. 


I kept playing with placement of the wood/coals with mixed results.  Seemed like the splits burned down pretty quickly so I added a piece that I had warming on the top of the firebox.  Got it going good and then closed the top door.  Not too long and it had gone out again and white smoke. 


Got to thinking back to that smoker builder calculator.  According to size as best as I could tell the inlet needs 15-16 square inches, the firebox to cook chamber needs 45 or so inches and the stack needs to be something like 34 inches (sorry going off memory).  I know my mod to the inlet gives 12 square inches and that with my diverter/tuning plate in I have 46 square inches at the firebox/cook chamber so just wondered about the stack length as I have a note here that the stack is only 23" from the factory.  So, rigged a straight piece of compressed dryer vent hose into the top of the stack that extended the stack 11 inches. 


Might be fooling myself, but seemed to work pretty well.  Had longer spans where the wood stayed lit and I had the correct clear/light smoke.  The instances of the fire going out on the wood were a lot less it seemed.  Temps in the cook chamber were up into the 275 range fairly quickly.   I was actually able to close my inlet vent slightly to try and tune the temps more into the 230 range.


The wood itself seemed to burn down quickly though.  Maybe I've gone too far the other way and the golf ball size diameter 8" long is maybe a bit too small in length and burns too fast.  Should maybe have more like a 12 to 14 inch length.   Also just adding one piece at a go once started so wonder if I should add two with the short length.


I wish I'd have actually timed it as it seemed like it did not take long before temps were dropping rapidly at the grate probe on the exhaust end and I'd look in the firebox and the wood had burned down to just black coals and I needed to play a bit of catch up getting a new piece of wood in and lit good to get temps back up. 


Will keep working at it!

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