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LIFE SPAN OF A BRICK SMOKER

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 

Wes or others,

 

I saw a guy named shaver on the smoke forum saying he found a life span of 10-15 years on a brick smoker due to facial loss on the veneer brick due to the thawing, heat and refreeze.

 

 Do you agree?

 

I understand you applied a "lifeguard" on the exterior of your smoker and fireplace. How often do you re apply?

 

How long do you know a brick smoker will last for use, being the exterior is solely outside temp and not affected by the fire from good insulation practice?

 

If any of this were true, why would you build a brick smoker as you and I ?

 

Further on, How did these chimneys from the 1890's -1940's keep on burning today without this worry?

 

.....Very curious about all questions. Thanks to all that have an input!

post #2 of 14
The heating and cooling tears the brick smokers apart... The acids, mainly sulfuric, from the smoke and moisture eats up the mortar..... The brick chimneys and fire place heaters and ovens from the 1800's never had a fire go out... they were warm all the time or 9 months of the year... they lasted...
Spalling is common from freeze and thaw where moisture is present.... Just the nature of the beast....

post #3 of 14
Thread Starter 
So on theory, you can install a low voltage heater in the pit and save the life of a smoker?

Just stretching here of course
post #4 of 14

FWIW, I built my brick smoker almost 20 years ago and 95% is pretty much like new. The brick top over the side firebox is cracked and I really  need to redo it - will probably go with a steel plate this time rather than masonry. But other that that, it is fine. Now I do live in Central Florida, so I don't have any freezing problems......

 

Bunch of photos on my recent thread - "New Doors and Top for Old Smoker"

post #5 of 14
Thread Starter 
Thanks piano.
Spalling happens with the freeze thaw cycles. Great job on your arched top!

Awesome, imagine brick and that is mine.
Similar low dimensions.

Happy new year.
post #6 of 14

Thanks for the compliment Jim. I also contemplated building my newly-expanded top from brick. Other than the fact that I have a reasonably well equipped wood shop, it seemed pretty much equally good to go either way with it. I do wonder how well the laminated wood will hold up over time. I see that on my three thick multi-laminated wooden doors, the innermost lamination really shrank and cracked a lot! But even after firing the smoker for 18 hours, the outsides of the doors and the outside of the arched top were not even the slightest bit warm to the touch. So hopefully even if the inside cracks up a bit I'll be okay - well, as long as the inside doesn't start just delaminating!

 

Keep up informed of your progress - and of course, always lots of pictures! Good luck with it. If I ever have to replace my top again, I'll want to see how yours turned out!

 

What are you going to do for a door on the arched top? Will it open/hinged on the bottom like mine? If so, make sure it opens all the way up so that it is hanging down when fully opened - otherwise it will be difficult to handle food inside the cooking chamber. I need to work on mine - I did a crappy job aligning the hinges on the top door. I need to either remove the middle hinge, or at least re-align it (cut it off and re-weld).  :th_crybaby2:

post #7 of 14
Thread Starter 

Well Piano,

 

As far as my arched top goes, the front face will be bricked or make a custom cement insert to mortar in. The back side I am hoping to have a 8x8 square horizontal flue with a hinged door, whether it swings up or down I don't know yet.

 

I also thought of a chute slightly downward (for weather) and the base will have a sliding chute for the flue, I had thought the flue ought to be directed straight out of the arch to eliminate tar and grease build up....imagine a post office mail box with the 8x8 chute and then brick surrounding it.

 

I just need to figure how to design/fabricate it by the time I reach the top of the build.

 

I will try to draw a picture and send it soon.

post #8 of 14

"As far as my arched top goes, the front face will be bricked or make a custom cement insert to mortar in."

 

Ohhhh, okay, so you'll perhaps have a square or rectangular door set in the bricked front face? Steel?

 

"The back side I am hoping to have a 8x8 square horizontal flue with a hinged door, whether it swings up or down I don't know yet. I also thought of a chute slightly downward (for weather) and the base will have a sliding chute for the flue, I had thought the flue ought to be directed straight out of the arch to eliminate tar and grease build up....imagine a post office mail box with the 8x8 chute and then brick surrounding it."

 

Man, you've lost me (likely not very hard to do!). I don't understand what a flue or chute is for.

 

 

"I will try to draw a picture and send it soon."

 

YES!!!  :yahoo:  Sounds like you have an interesting build going. I'd love to see a picture/drawing.

post #9 of 14
Thread Starter 
I sent it...should show up. Excuse my sloppy drawing, I drew it in only 10 minutes.
post #10 of 14
Thread Starter 
post #11 of 14
Thread Starter 

Of course the plate steel will be inward and setting on the cinder block not between the veneer brick. It will have a (damper) slide and a 3/8" pipe sleeve through the brick to run it for a 1/4" rod to run through it with an exterior handle

post #12 of 14

Wow, now I'm really confused! Your drawing is good - I think I can see what you are doing. Is the arched top area going to be part of the cooking chamber? That was my assumption - but after looking at your drawing, it appears that it will not be part of the cooking chamber. Is that correct?

 

So what is it for? It appears to me that the "flue" you refer to is the exhaust pipe or smoke stack for the smoker - is that correct? Or am I not seeing what I should be seeing. Sorry I'm so out in right field - I'm sure it is me, not you.

 

Perhaps this is all explained in another thread that I simply haven't seen?

post #13 of 14
Thread Starter 

The steel plate is capping off the cook chamber which has the damper attached and the smoke stack is going out horizontal.

 

I am doing this for the arched look and to keep the vertical height down to a minimum.

 

I have 3 walls going up. fire brick, cinder and veneer. The width of all of those and the cook chamber is approximately 36'' square, If I stepped them in to a vertical flue it would be 10' tall, my smoker should be 8.5' when complete.

post #14 of 14

I'd have to agree with Dave.   The old timers never let a fire go out in a fireplace.  Not much different then a smoker.  As far as the outside, it happens.   I don't live in the frozen tundra of the deep north but if water gets in a crack and freezes, it will break away whatever it gets into.    Brick houses are still standing from the mid 1800's.  There brick were hand made are were very soft.  I have a few of those in mine.   If mine last me 20-30 years, it will have served me well.

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