Build a Smoker out of an Air Handler

Discussion in 'Other Builds' started by bob long, Oct 27, 2015.

  1. bob long

    bob long Newbie

    I work for a HVAC distributor and from time to time we get defective equipment returned to us and we tear it down for scrap. Upon breaking this unit down it reminded me of the filing cabinet smokers I've seen.

    I removed all the internal controls and stripped a the insulation.

    There was some glue left in the cabinet, so I used a product called Krud Kutter. The glue scraped right off.

    I then put the compartment for the back up heat kit back into the unit. I screwed some cherry boards (that I had left over from another project) on the bottom of this compartment. I figure the way it is designed this are will get the least amount of smoke, so I will use for vegetables.

    I reinstalled the piece that closes and completes the compartment.

     I purchased a piece of 16 gauge sheet metal that I will use for the top, door and the floor of the fire box area. I used a tool called a nibbler, which is a pneumatic cutting tool. Originally I used a 6 gallon compressor that we had at the shop, but did not operate the tool well at all. I cut the top out using that compressor and it took forever.

    I attached the top using pop rivets and caulk, to make an air tight seal.

    I knew I wanted to line the smoker with wood, but what kind? I looked at several options. I first contacted my father-in-Law who is a wood worker, to find out if he had any extra wood around. He has access to cherry ( where I got the wood I used so far) which I really wanted to use. Unfortunately he was running low. I then looked at the Box stores. Oak was to expensive as was Poplar, so I went with 6" sections of Pine.

    I was going to screw the boards on to the side, then decided to router an edge to tuck under the lip of the side walls.

    It took a little bit of pounding, but they fit nice and tight, so no additional means of attachment was needed. Really firmed up when I added the back wall.

    I was time to and the railing for the racks. I just screwed on 2' wide strips of pine. I cut my door out of the 16 gauge metal prior to putting the wood in. From all the pounding the cabinet was now off by a 1/2", so I add front sections to the railing to try and pull it back in to shape.

    I screwed boards to the bottom side of the back up heat compartment.

    Then I purchased 1/2" conduit and cut it into 4 sections. Drilled holes into pine boards to put the conduit in and attached to the side.

    This will give me something to hand meat hooks on to do sausage or whatever,

    It was time to work on the door. I knew I wanted to add wood for insulation. I used machine screws to attach the wood. After it was done it still flexed up and down, so I made an X. I attached the hinges using pop rivets. Drill a hole in the metal and door to add my thermometer.

    I have been waiting for parts to come in to finish the cabinet, so while I'm waiting and since this is a budget build I've decided to make my own racks.

    I purchased 3/4" aluminum angle stock and cut them the length of the cabinet  I used a lighter gauge stock and cut for the width.

    Using a square and a frame making clamp, I put together and riveted the corners

    For the mesh I'm using a light gauge fencing

    I sandwiched the mesh in between the 3/4" angle stock and pieces of 1/2" aluminum angle stock. I had to clamp them down to get a tight fit. Drilled a hole and riveted them 3 times on each side.

    All my riveting is done by a pneumatic rivet gun.

    My smoker is going to be sitting on top of a cinder block fire box. I was looking for a clean out or a way to add wood. A friend of mine hooked me up with this cast iron stove door. I don't have any be for pics, but it was rusted up. I used a electrolysis bath that I use to clean my cast iron cook ware, painted it with high temp paint and this is how it turned out pretty nice. 

    That is where I'm at for now. I'm still waiting on parts. The last of the should be in today.
  2. bmaddox

    bmaddox Master of the Pit

    Looks good so far. Are you planning on cold smoking only?
  3. bob long

    bob long Newbie

    The plan is to make a cinder block fire box to sit the smoker box on top.
  4. dirtsailor2003

    dirtsailor2003 Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Hopefully you aren't using galvanized metal that will exposed to the heat or the meat.
  5. bob long

    bob long Newbie

    What will that do? The door is made of sheet metal.

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