I have had Charbroil smoker (1280) for a couple of years now and it does an ok job, but I want to do some modifications. I have been looking around on these forums and have some ideas on what I need to do. I am not afraid to admit, I am not a handy person at all. My question is, are there sites out there, that you can recommend that I can buy these modifications already made.
Newbie to smoking
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Hello and welcome to the forums!
In answer to your question, yes there are many sites and manufacturers about that can offer solutions along with videos on YouTube that will demonstrate their application.
For my smokers, I started with Google and simply typed (for example and without quotes): "brinkmann upright smoker mods" or in the case of my latest smoker "oklahoma joe highland smoker mods". These searches resulted in websites, videos and pictures galore often linked to this forum which also led to great education and several "ah ha!" moments 8)
They say pictures are worth a thousand words and it proves to be true when you find the one and only photo from three years ago (from these very forums 8)) that shows you a solution that you might never have otherwise considered and a great forum entry here explaining how to go about it.
Amazon offers a great selection to solutions as well.
YouTube is probably one of the best tools where folks have put up very helpful videos for both setting up, using and modifying smokers.
I should explain that although handy with enough tools to get most any job done, I am not a welder or metal cutter, so firebox mods were done with metal purchased at Home Depot or Menards, a visit to a local auto repair shop to cut them (according to measurements gleaned from a handy YouTube video) and then folded and secured with nuts and bolts 8)
Island Outdoor LLC (http://islandoutdoorllc.com/) is an example of a company that offers several solutions from gaskets to baffles to modification kits.
From my experience I would also pick up a steel wool bit for your drill (check a paint isle in a hardware store) to clean up around the edges of the doors before applying the seals. Depending on the build of your smoker, applying high heat silicone along the edges where smoke may leak will also help. You can get this on-line or even cheaper locally, depending where you live. After checking local vendors, I get mine at Menards (in the auto section) which tends to be the cheapest.
Initially on my upright smoker I put the seals on the door, but after applying them to my new horizontal smoker along the door frame, I used a bit mentioned above to grind out the greasy residues and then applied a new seal along the door frame of that smoker as well.
Sometimes the simplest solution can be the best, for example inserting a three inch vent elbow into my exhaust on the Oklahoma Joe was cheap and efficient (no leaks and did not require silicone to seal outside which allows me to remove the exhaust if necessary for travel).
An easy solution for myself, given memory is as memory goes, I created a website where I put links to solutions and helpful videos that I've used so that when someone asks "where did you find that?" I just pull out a freshly printed hobby business card and offer them a link to a place to start. (it beats keeping a folded sheet of paper in my wallet 8))
Good luck and hope to hear you found solutions for your smoker!