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Please help with my build...

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 

Hey now,


I just had an 80 gallon tank turned into a reverse flow smoker and here is a picture...



My fault, I didn't do enough research to see what all calculations were needed to build one of these things so I just let a guy tell me that he knew what he was doing.  So one thing at a time...I would like to hear your feed back on the fire box today.  My main problem is how to get the wood/briquettes into the thing to start it up and once I am cooking since the door is so short.  Here is what I have to work with.


It has a two food diameter and the door that opens is at about 8 3/4" from the bottom of the box to the top of the cut.  There is a cooking grate, that I had the guy build for when I want some steak or burgers, that sits right at the bottom of the top hatch.  It is 16" from the bottom of the box.  My thought is that I want to make the door of this thing bigger so I can get wood in there when it is cooking and I don't think that it would be a good idea to go in from the top because of the greater loss of heat.  The other side of that thought is that the whole thing is made out of 3/8" steel so it should retain the heat pretty well.




My next question is what should I do about the tray for the wood/briquettes?  I use a chimney to get my coals ready to go and then when I pour them on to this tray, they kind of go where ever they want...and one burned into my new shoes...dang it!  My thought here was that if I had a bigger door built, I could have a basket built too.  then when I pour the briquettes in for my first heat, they won't go everywhere.


Let me know what you think...another thought is to just cook with the dang thing!  I was using a pretty terrible smoker before and I pulled some good butts off of it so how bad could it be???


Thanks for any help!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!



post #2 of 11

Hello.  You need two things for that smoker.  A removable grill that sits above the bottom of the tray and a heavy duty pair of welders gloves.  The coals must be able to get air from underneath, no airflow no heat.  Pull out the tray and pour in you chimney.  Pull out the tray again to add wood splits ( gloves ).  3 additional options I would consider is 1:  fix a railing and also a latch of some kind so that the tray cannot tip when slid out and the tray cannot come out without flipping a latch.  You don't want the tray and coals winding up all over your shoes.  2:  Once the tray is secure then you could have a steel bar made like an "F" ( concrete reinforcing steel is cheap to buy and will work fine ), hook the front  ( top of "F"over the handle and pull the tray out then hook it back over the handle to push back in ( no need for gloves and probably safer ).  3:  Go to the local hardware stool and buy a cheap garden trowel.  Knock the wooded handle off.  Now weld a piece 2'-3' ) of that rebar to the trowel.  Now you can gently scoop out the ash from under the coals so that the air flow is maintained.


Other than that the smoker is not too badly built from what I can see.  May be some other isues not shown in photos but sort that tray out and get to using that dude.  Hope this helps.  Good luck.  Keep Smokin!


post #3 of 11
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the reply Danny!


So you think that the easiest thing to do would be to put a grate above the slide out tray that I have now?  I understand you point about the lack of air; that was one of the main problems that I had with the original tray.  What about this?


That is the grate for grilling and it is too long so it can't be used, but what if I had a grate like that welded to that tray and then had a wall welded to that handle.  Then the thought is that I could turn the whole thing around and slide it out like you were saying.  Ok, new picture...


So the existing tray could have a grate welded to it and three of the sides solid.  One open side so I can scoop out the ashes and keep her breathing.  I could also put some walls up around the grate so the chimney doesn't end up melting my shins off.


What do you think?


As for the rest of the smoker and what I will get to next is the fact that the gap between the plate and the side of the smoker is too big.  I started reading some of the posts about how to calculate the are of the gap.  Once I figure it out I am going to have my guy gut me the right size piece to plug it up.


Thanks again,



post #4 of 11

Hi.  Not welded to the tray.  You want that grate to lay on/in the tray so you can remove to clean.  You just need the 1 open end to scoop out ash.  Just the end at the door.  A grill like that would work.  Just remember you don't want that tray to tip or come completely out when you slide out the tray to add coals or wood. Like a kitchen drawer.  You want a stop.  You don't want to be able to just pull the whole thing out easily.  Just add some sort of release so you can remove it when you want to clean.  Picts of the cook chamber may also attract more advice.  Keep Smokin!


post #5 of 11

Just my 2 cents take it for whats it worth and good luck


post #6 of 11
myself.. I would just have a new grate made that sits above the ash pan... a couple of 3 inches wider so it sits on the walls of the firebox and lets the ash tray still slide in and out without moving the fire... add wood and charcoal through the top door....
post #7 of 11
Thread Starter 



Danny, I get what you are saying...makes complete sense!  There are two steel strips that hold the tray in place and a new grate will sit on them perfectly!  I think i'll use a scraper to get the ashes out during the cook.


Parrish, that was my first idea, but because it took so long to get the smoker from the guy who built it, i'm afraid that it will be gone for a LONG time again for him to do that...but if what i'm trying doesn't work as well as I want, then i'm on that!!! And in regards to making sure the top lid shuts well, what are my options for making it seal better?  The guy who made it, welded osme strips to cover the gaps, but it isn't sealed very well.


JD, that looks like the plan!


Thanks guys for the help!!!  I'm going to post my first smoke on it now...come check it out!



post #8 of 11
Rope style gasket is always an option and ribwizard posted a while Back where he used hi temp rtv on the seal strip, then used saran wrap on the other side to keep it from sticking to the firebox
post #9 of 11
Thread Starter 

You are the man!!!  I wanted to find some sort of caulk or something that could take high heat.  I would put it on the fire box and put saran wrap on the other side...glad that worked!  I'm going to find that post now!



post #10 of 11
I think he used it on the CC may not work on the fire box
there is tear drop shaped rope gasket that has been used
post #11 of 11
Thread Starter 

Thanks!  I'll be checking them both out!

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