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New Brick Smoker build starts tomorrow

post #1 of 90
Thread Starter 
Hi Smokies,

I am beginning a new brick smoker build tomorrow, I have the fire bricks and regular bricks.
I have poured the slab approx 4 by 8 feet
I have an offset design and already have racks, furnace door, Cedar smoker door and a damper.

Plan on getting a flue liner and some flat and angled iron for lintels/support.

I will post pics as I go along, does anyone know of or have some watch outs that can sneak up on a build?

I have attached some first day photos.

1) Pad poured and ready.
2) trying to work on layout
3) started mortar on brick and fire bricks
Edited by PorknPuha - 11/26/14 at 3:49pm
post #2 of 90
Thread Starter 

Day 2
1) damper installed and mortared in place
2) corners built up and furnace door cavity starting to take shape.
post #3 of 90

:popcorn   cheers.gif

post #4 of 90
Your on your way. Good luck
post #5 of 90
Originally Posted by c farmer View Post

popcorn.gif    cheers.gif


post #6 of 90
Looks like you have it under control. Keep the pics coming.
post #7 of 90
Originally Posted by WaterinHoleBrew View Post



post #8 of 90

Good morning Pork,


Can't wait to see this go up.   Although you have already started, I do have a couple concerns.  


How thick is your footing?    Hopefully it's thick enough to be below the freeze line and carry the weight of  your awesome smoker.


In your part of Tenn,  you'll want to be careful starting this project in the winter.   You'll want to make sure your night temps don't get below 32F.  If your mortar freezes it will crumble out of the joint. 


Can't wait to see your finished product.  



post #9 of 90
Thread Starter 
Hi Wes,

The pad is 6 inches thick and reinforced, I also keyed the pad into the ground on opposing corners.

I'm building this at my in laws in East TN, it has been cold, sub 32 overnight ( 1 night ). I have been covering this each night and my mortar has not frozen. Today I am planning on mortaring in the furnace door temp today 55 ish and getting a level brick line around where I will be bedding the fire brick.

The next 5 days temp looks cold but above freezing overnight. Depending on weather I will stop after today's work until Spring.
post #10 of 90

I like this! :popcorn Pulling up a chair

post #11 of 90
Thread Starter 

Ok team,

Day 3 = slow day ( Had to help father in law drop 2 trees)
Lintel is set for furnace door and built some levels up, also finished placing fire brick on floor of the "engine room"

Next steps start sealing in fire bricks on walls and find my middle course of bricks.

All weather dependent, will post photos

Thanks for the tips and encouragement.
post #12 of 90

Hello, Jim here. I had a few questions...


How much weight is on this slab?   (My brick house is going to be slightly heavier than Wes' at an estimate 4 ton with mortars and cement mix)


I dealt with new construction for years and found to follow the rule of "Frost Line" as it differs in areas from monolithic slabs to 48''+ deep so your total weight does not break slab or heave (reinforced or not) and YOU WILL START OVER.  If I am preaching to the choir, I do apologize. I would not like anyone to start over after a finish.


What is keyed the opposing corners mean?  I really have no idea.


How thick is your mortar in the firebrick?



On the other hand of me knowing not much in masonry, You look like you have a definite plan and are carrying through with it! I admire your energy going forward!


Wise words of my main man on this forum, WES.      -You must have patients-   



post #13 of 90
Thread Starter 
Hi Jim,

In terms of weight calculation I am guilty of being unsure, my total height on 1 side is approx 6 ft and on the other 4.

The ground does freeze here occasionally but not more than 2 - 3 inches.

I calculated the thickness of the pad against my limited knowledge of a footing for a 6ft 2 course brick wall. Even displacement does allow for a " thinner " slab ( I could be wrong here)

Keying in my terminology = an additional 6 inch deep x 1 ft wide in an L shape below the slab. I.e. The slab cannot rotate or shear in any direction.

It may break, but I am unsure of shear and physics to give a good answer here.

Let me know, what you think or if you have any additional insight.

Sorry my base fire brick is payed on Type S mortar, I have refractory mortar to seal gaps and "glue" fire bricks together as I start making the kiln.
post #14 of 90

If you are comfy, so am I!


Do you feel refractory mortar is better than and less sensitive to heat as Type S mortar?   What is the longevity or life of refractory vs. Type S?


Wow, I am learning tonight! - have a good one pal!:sausage:

post #15 of 90
Thread Starter 
All I could find on regular/ type S mortar was that it would crumble at higher temps.
The refractory mortar I have says it is rated to 3000 F
post #16 of 90

Y'all make a good point about refractory.   I didn't use it in my smoker.   My thinking was, very seldom will the smoker ever  get over 400degrees.     I used type S mixed 2-1 with no more then a 1/4in.  mortar joint.    You can never go wrong using refractory.   As the old saying goes, better safe then sorry.  :-)


Looking good Pork,  East Tenn...  your getting really close to my stomping grounds.     Keep up the good work.    Looking forward to seeing your design.  


With all the great ideas, if it wasn't for getting a divorce,  I'd tear mine down and start over.   Its great to see the ideas great minds come up with.  :beercheer:

post #17 of 90
Thread Starter 

I have been looking at soils and concrete psi and blah blah online.

Does anyone have a rule of thumb for brick smoker slabs?


You guys have made me worried about frost heave etc etc.

post #18 of 90

Looks like a good start , I'm in . . .Coffee.gif.

post #19 of 90

Pork,  give your local building inspector office and ask them how deep a footing has to be for your area.   Don't give them your name or info on what your doing.   They could make you buy a permit. 



I poured my footing 13in. thick with two runs of rebar but, I also build a fireplace on the same slab.   If you know a building contractor, ask him how thick you need to carry the load.   I'm the kind of person who does things on the over kill side of things.  Better safe then sorry.   The thing about your footing is, once you build your smoker, you can't  fix the footing if it fails.


Here is my simple set up.  I would estimate about 7 - 8 tons sitting on my footings.   If you can, it's also a good idea to make your footing about a foot bigger all  the way around for added stability. 


Edit:   Here in NW North Carolina the bottom of a footing can be no less then 16in. deep.


post #20 of 90
Wes gave the best info for you. Contact your local bulilding department. In my neck of the woods frost depth is 24", but i'd never pour a slab for a smoker that deep. As far as thickness and reinforcement you'd need to figure the over all weight of what you intend to build and then go from there.
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