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Sea Level Smoker. Phase 1 (Landscape)

post #1 of 29
Thread Starter 

Hey All. New member Patsmaker4op here. I mentioned in my roll call that I intend to build a masonry smoker in my back yard. I have finally been inspired enough to begin this mega project. It will either kill me or make me stronger. Unfortunately the smoker build will need to start with phase 1, Landscaping and here is why. My wife and I just finished building our new house. We moved in a day or two before thanksgiving. Things have calmed down and I believe it is time to bring the back yard to life. After all that's why we moved here in the first place. Here is a pic of the back yard.

We live in Palm Coast Florida on a dredged salt water canal. The canal is navigable by boat to the Intracoastal Waterway and ultimately to the ocean. As you can see the slope of the back yard is drastic. I plan to build my smoker just past the crape myrtle tree you see here. I plan to make this area into a sweet hangout with Smoker, fire pit and more of a flat area to sit and chill. To do this I will need to remove a lot of dirt and build a retaining wall. That is probably why it took me so long to commit to the project.

post #2 of 29

Yard looks good. I look forward to watching your build.

Happy smoken.


post #3 of 29
Thread Starter 

Here is a shot of the back right side of the house. This is the area I'm going to put the dirt that I dig out. As you can see the foundation is a bit exposed on the corner here and the slope makes walking down to the water difficult. Perfect place to throw some dirt.




first step is to lay out the retaining walls and get them ready for dirt. I started to tinker with some 4x4 posts and string line. After picking up a little lumber bit by bit. We decided to put a little garden in on the other side of the pool too, why not? So, I tinkered with some 4x4 posts there too. Once I got a plan down I burnt out my drill while setting the tapcons into the pool stem wall. Here's where That all ended.




Then comes a call from My cousin complaining about how someone filled up his dumpster with all kinds of lumber and pilings at his jobsite.

hhmmmm. send me a pic, I said. 



One man's trash is another man's treasure right. I spent the next couple days borrowing a friend's trailer, scooping them out of the can, bringing them home, unloading and returning the trailer. Now I've got so much material to work with I have no choice but to git er done. 


I scored about 10 (sorta rotten) 2x6 pressure treated decking boards too that will be great for form boards if I can ever get to the point where I can pour my concrete foundations. Unfortunately that is all the progress I've made so far but it's a good start. Hopefully this weekend I can get my dig on. A lot of bull work to do before I can get to phase 2 of actually building my smoker.


My plan is to build an offset smoker out of block, firebrick and terracotta flue then veneer it with precast stone. I don't have the freeze/thaw problem down here. there is a dampness issue so I will need to consider waterproofing. My foundation will probably be as deep as the earth will let me go before i hit water. I do not have a metal fab shop to assist me yet. This will be a design on the fly type job because that's how I roll. Should be fun! after the digging that is. 3/6/15

post #4 of 29

Great looking place!      Got any fish in them waters?    Talk about a fresh fish.   :yahoo:


I wouldn't know what to do if I didn't have to worry about freeze line.   You sir have got it made!


Make sure your footing is thick enough for what your going to support.   I tend to overkill things, but its not always a bad thing.


Looking forward to seeing your smoker go up.   


A lot of good folks here,   If you have questions, I'm sure we can figure something out together.



post #5 of 29
This should be good... I"m in ...

here's a site with some very nice builds.. maybe you can get some inspiration ....

http://wedlinydomowe.pl/budowa-wedzarni-i-wedzenie/budowa-wedzarni If you can't read polish, I hope your computer will translate for you ...
post #6 of 29
Thread Starter 

Hey thanks David. I look forward to it too. It will be fun for me to watch the plan develop along with others offering support.  


post #7 of 29

I'd like to watch too..... who knows maybe someday..........

post #8 of 29
Thread Starter 

Wes. The canal is full of mullet. Large jumpers to baby fry. Great bait in the cast net. There are some juvenile crabs, an occasional manatee. Mostly palm fauns and leaves. Anything worth hooking into is a boat ride away. I do enjoy fishing when the bite is right but I'd prefer to cruise the calm waters with my family and cold beer. Maybe over to the local bbq joint. http://captainsbbqbaittackle.com/ . I know I've got it made here. I always wonder why others choose to freeze their ass off.


I here ya on the freeze thaw. I have a masonry restoration background in Rhode Island. I made a fair share of dollars fixing such issues. Water penetration is the key and stopping it is often overlooked. 


My footing will be key. I will be so close to Sea Level that my smoker will be floating. I need a wide beam and a thick hull. 


Thanks for the support. I searched the net for masonry builds. There is some, but not a lot if info out there. I didn't come across your post for some time but once I did I was hooked. That's why I am posting landscape stages.To inspire others down the line. I appreciated your detail and the support the forum provided. That's why I'm here honestly. It only takes the first step to do something so here we go.



post #9 of 29
Thread Starter 

Don't think I'm quitting. Phase one moving froward. 

post #10 of 29
Will be watching! I love seeing and reading about the builds
post #11 of 29
Looks like you're off to a good start.
post #12 of 29
I'm in too.
post #13 of 29
Thread Starter 

I've got one piling planted down deep. This evening my wife and I compromised on a 12'x12' area that I was allowed to overtake. I hammered a few stakes into the soil to outline the final resting nest of the Sea Level Smoker. I am starting to let my mind linger to pit design. The link that JckDanls 07 posted is taking up a lot of my free time. I owe him a snifter full, great link! I think for now I'll keep trucking and keep the landscape prep posts coming but I could possibly start a new thread for the design discussions in the near future. Thanks again for all of the support! It is motivating to have the forum. These postings have made me think that I am now responsible for completing this project because others are watching and I committed. 

post #14 of 29

I'm in,    Let me go make the pop corn



post #15 of 29
Make the pit big enough for a gator.... one might swim real close looking for a snack...
post #16 of 29

Awwww.... man, you made that cute little red headed girl set that piling?  <Chuckles>

post #17 of 29

Looks like yellow dog is not to sure about that piling 



post #18 of 29

LOL,  I've heard so much about gator I'm ready to drag one to the mountains  and try it.    It sounds awesome!


   I may be thinking outside the box here, but I got to ask.  Whats the specs. on that canal wall?    Your going to be setting at least 5 tons of weight within feet of it.    It may sound silly, but it will put a lot of pressure on that wall.  Yes, the weight is down, but it also will put pressure out.   Maybe I'm over thinking it, but better safe then sorry.    Remember.  Concrete weighs approx. 3000lbs per cubic  yard.   An 8' X 8' X 10" deep is 2 cubic  yards.    Just making you aware of the weight.  And you haven't even started building yet.  


Looking forward to seeing you smoker go up!  

post #19 of 29

Actually Concrete weighs about 4,000 lbs. a yard    So your slab will weigh a little less that 8,000 lbs




post #20 of 29
Originally Posted by gary s View Post

Actually Concrete weighs about 4,000 lbs. a yard    So your slab will weigh a little less that 8,000 lbs




4,000lbs per "Cubic Yard" not yard. This is a good number based on 150lb/cubic ft. (international standard) . Please note that this is for steel reinforced concrete. If you have no reinforcement then the number is 145lb/cubic ft. Both of these numbers can vary depending on the mix. Anyway you put it there's a bunch of weight involved with a brick smoker!

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