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Needing some info before beginning start on my build

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 

Hi All, 

I lucked out and got a really sweet 1950's Admiral. It's heavy as a tank with all metal on the inside but for the freezer door and the door seals. Before I begin, I would like to understand why some do one thing and others do another. I know some things are just personal preference but there are some things done which I am sure have a really good reason. I am not looking to spend a lot of  unnecessary money or "pimp it out". But, I do want to make the smart decisions so I will have an efficient, well made smoker. Here are my questions to get me started. Thanks in advance! 

 

1. Why do some pull out the old insulation and replace with Roxul and some just leave in the old insulation? And, does Roxul make that big of a difference.?

 

2. Hot plate versus heating elements? 

 

3. Fans versus no fans?

 

4. Temperature controller or not?

 

I have an old pot bellied stove (it's short & squat) which I would like to use as an external fire box but I"d also like to have the option of an inside heat source, such as an element or hot plate.

post #2 of 16

1. Why do some pull out the old insulation and replace with Roxul and some just leave in the old insulation? And, does Roxul make that big of a difference.?

 

you should to take the tub, or liner, out regardless to want to run thake sure its sealed up really well and if you waont to run your element wiring through the wall to a controller, if the insulation is paper or cardboard then obviously replace it.

 

It if has fiberglass insulation then it can be left in place so long as there are no moisture spots or mold in it at anytime.

 

Roxul has a better density and heat retention properties, Its also fire safe rated. so if for some reason you get a fire, it should cause less damage around it.

 

I prefer to replace with Roxul. I have ripped apart a few fridges for smokers and the insulation often smells, especially if the fridge has sat for a long time.

 

2. Hot plate versus heating elements? 

Heating elements. Hot plates are not designed for use to heat a smoker. They all have a thermal cut out switch in them as a safety measure to prevent over heating and fires. Elements from a hot plate can be used, but the hot plate as a unit should not be used. They are often made of plastic housing and can let as well.

 

Hard wire and element in the smokehouse. It is easy to do and wire, I like finned strip heaters, but you have to have the right type of controller to use them.

 

3. Fans versus no fans?

 

My 1st build had a fan, I disconnected it shortly after tuning it in after finishing the build. my 2nd, 3rd builds don't have fans, 4th wont, 5th will but it will have a large commercial oven convection fan in it. its a very large freezer that anyone of my previous smokers would fit inside out (with no liner or insulation) 

 

 

4. Temperature controller or not?

 

In my opinion, definitely a temp controller. They make things work a heck of a lot smother and efficient. the better the controller the more options for smoking and heat sources, smoke source.

 

All depends what you want the smoker to do.

 

lets see some pics, and make sure to get some with the shelves and everything removed from inside.

post #3 of 16
Thread Starter 

Thanks for your feedback, Madman.

 

I have, in fact, pulled the tub and found an insulation that looked like wood fiber. I put a match to it and it smoldered so I pulled it all out. It's an old Admiral brand, perhaps that was their preferred insulation.

 

I have a blueprint drawn out which is a compilation of ideas taken from the numerous builds I've read/seen on this forum. Not the least of which is yours.

 

FYI, should any newbies be following this, go to your big box hardware store, Lowe's in my case, and wander up and down the HVAC, water heater, and plumbing aisles assessing the many options for intake/exhaust piping and joints. The hardware section that has the different types of metal sheeting and L brackets will give you a hands-on feel and a good visual for what could work.

 

I have no skills as a welder and an inkling of how wiring works, but have friends to ask. The cool thing about this is I will have fun while learning and the end result will be a useful addition to my kitchen.

 

Madman, why wouldn't pulling out the top elements or the oven/broiler element and wiring it in be just as good as a Brinkman element?

post #4 of 16
Going to subscribe so I can watch your build. I pick up my Frigidaire Thursday. Good luck to ya!
post #5 of 16
Thread Starter 

I will post pics soon. I'm taking my time and have drawn out some plans. I think I've read every post fridge builds. 

The best thing I found to do in my search for info is go to the "search forum" option, click on it and then type in whatever it was I was looking for in the "advanced search" box.  At first, I was a bit overwhelmed as had no idea what some of the terminology was. But, there's a acronym tab on the home page for that very thing. I had to google "PID" and THAT is the coolest thing. ..pricey tho. I am rigging mine up to where, when I get the $$, I will be able to tie my heating elements into the PID. On the opposite side, I will have an intake where I can hook up to an external fire box (mailbox) or in my case, an old, squat cast iron wood stove so when I just want to sit and watch a fire and have a drink...I can. 

One thing that has been very helpful has been to go to Cabela's and look at all their different types of smokers and how they are designed. I also took a photo of Cabela's $1000 smoker parts list. ..figure I'd use that as a guide of sorts. So, everything I do will have been "cherry picked" from all the cool stuff I've seen. 

Hope this helps. It's going to be fun. 

post #6 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by summerbee View Post

I will post pics soon. I'm taking my time and have drawn out some plans. I think I've read every post fridge builds. 
The best thing I found to do in my search for info is go to the "search forum" option, click on it and then type in whatever it was I was looking for in the "advanced search" box.  At first, I was a bit overwhelmed as had no idea what some of the terminology was. But, there's a acronym tab on the home page for that very thing. I had to google "PID" and THAT is the coolest thing. ..pricey tho. I am rigging mine up to where, when I get the $$, I will be able to tie my heating elements into the PID. On the opposite side, I will have an intake where I can hook up to an external fire box (mailbox) or in my case, an old, squat cast iron wood stove so when I just want to sit and watch a fire and have a drink...I can. 
One thing that has been very helpful has been to go to Cabela's and look at all their different types of smokers and how they are designed. I also took a photo of Cabela's $1000 smoker parts list. ..figure I'd use that as a guide of sorts. So, everything I do will have been "cherry picked" from all the cool stuff I've seen. 
Hope this helps. It's going to be fun. 

We are in the same boat it sounds like. I have been read everything I could on electrifying these fridges. I ordered a Brinkmann element & Auber PID yesterday & pick up my fridge tomorrow.
Looking back on it, I kinda wish I would've bought the finned strip heater, but couldn't justify double or triple the cost for a smaller blueprint, especially after I splirged on the PID. Oh well, maybe next build.
I also will do the AMPS mod, but I will probably do an ammo can mod instead of the mailbox. I actually have a mailbox mod set up from my MES30, but it sat in the shed when not being used and spoders loved that hang out haha figured with the ammo can I'll be able to seal it so nothing gets inside my smoker.
Just FYI also, read on another thread that the Rutlands 500F stove silicone is food safe and doesn't emit any chemicals (says the company). I got a large tube from Ace Hardware for $9.99 instead of paying that price for a small 3 oz tube. Good luck!

Trevor
post #7 of 16
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the silicone tip!

I'm not wanting to use the "fire rope" for a gasket so I've found something called Nomex Fireblack on Amazon. Check it out. There's one thing that I've discovered about Roxul that is concerning. If you read the specs, it states it contains formaldehyde. I'm not sure at what levels and I have not had a chance to call the company. I've also found there is an insulation used in pizza ovens that is ceramic based. Haven't had a chance to research that either. Maybe someone else can weigh in..

Good day!

Tammy

post #8 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by summerbee View Post

Thanks for the silicone tip!
I'm not wanting to use the "fire rope" for a gasket so I've found something called Nomex Fireblack on Amazon. Check it out. There's one thing that I've discovered about Roxul that is concerning. If you read the specs, it states it contains formaldehyde. I'm not sure at what levels and I have not had a chance to call the company. I've also found there is an insulation used in pizza ovens that is ceramic based. Haven't had a chance to research that either. Maybe someone else can weigh in..
Good day!
Tammy

Why not fire rope? Just out of curiosity.
Nomex is good stuff though. I've seen people use that on their webers and MES and what not.
I think the Roxul contains formaldehyde as a stabilizer & preservative (don't know for sure), but if I remember correctly someone on here once contacted them and asked about the chemicals used and fumes and they were told that fumes are only released once it reaches beyond it's ignition point. I would contact them though, don't take my wors for it haha It is fairly cheap though & used for a while on here & there hasn't been a spike in BBQ related weird cancers or anything... Atleast that I noticed haha
I will start a post tomorrow with some pictures.
post #9 of 16
The insulation will be sealed between the walls! If you seal the seams u will be ok!
post #10 of 16
Thread Starter 

Things are slowly coming along. I discovered, as have others, a tar like substance covering the floor and bottoms of the sides when I removed the old insulation. There was quite a bit of it. It was rock hard and would not soften with any solvent I had on hand. I did knock a chip off and held it to a lighter and it slowly caught fire. I really wanted it either out or rendered totally harmless (assuming it posed a threat in the first place..) . So... I poured a thin layer of diesel in the box, threw some trash papers in and sat the whole thing on fire. Surprisingly, it worked well. Whatever it was, it is now more like welding slag and scraps off easily with a paint scraper. I got most of the chunks off and hit it a lick with a wire brush then sprayed some oven cleaner on it. As soon as the temps are a bit warmer, I'm going to haul it into the car wash and blow the whole thing out. Yeah, it might be over kill, but by the time I get done with this, I will know every square inch is done right. One bonus, the heat pealed off 3 layers of old paint and saved me a lot of work as I had planned on giving it a new paint job. I was particular to keep the fire pretty cool so the metal did not warp. I had to order Roxul as no place around here keeps it in stock. In fact, most folks had no idea what I was talking about. .

I will say, when I started this, I was going to throw a hot plate in an old fridge and call it good. Since finding this website, the project has taken on a life of its own. Cheers!

 

 

 

post #11 of 16

hope you didn't twist the fridge. The heat can warp the metal and make it tough to out together properly.

 

that tar was harmless, it never gets any heat exposure. If it is on the liner of the fridge then it needs to be removed,  but the burn wasn't necessary, and may cause problems.  

post #12 of 16
Love the flame pics! Keep up the good work. Let me know on the roxul I was going to buy some tomorrow. They make 2 kinds. The normal and fire/sound. Might ask about both. If you look at the pics on my traulsen build when I took all the insulation out yesterday the roxul I had in the bottom was discolored, the stuff you were asking about is called kero wool or something close to that. It is ridiculously expensive.
post #13 of 16
Perhaps this will help http://www.roxul.com/files/RX-NA_EN/pdf/MSDS%20and%20Safety%20Bulletin/Roxul%20Material%20Safety%20Data%20Sheet%2002-13-14.pdf

I read up on formaldehyde too, it's also a byproduct of burning wood,,,darn
post #14 of 16
Thread Starter 

Here's just a few pics to show my slow but sure progress... This is the original insulation that was in the Admiral refrigerator. It would smolder when you held a lighter to it so it all had to come out.

post #15 of 16
Thread Starter 


This is what the insulation looked like when I removed the original skin... It stunk and there were gaps in the coverage, as you can see. 

post #16 of 16
Thread Starter 

jj

The Roxul nestled very nicely into the door. This stuff is awesome insulation. It comes in bats and is easy to cut to fit with a box cutter. 

 

 

 

This is NOT me. This is my good buddy and professional metal fabricator showing me how I can easily cut sheet metal with a cut-off wheel on a grinder. I used 16 ga sheet metal. 

 

 

 

Here's Joe cutting a hole for the door latch with a bi-metal hole cutter. 

 

This shows a bead of high temp silicone going on before we laid the skin down. That's it for now... I hope that helped someone starting out like me. 

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