1950 international harvester refridgerator smoker conversion.

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Fire Starter
Original poster
Jan 26, 2014
Velva, North Dakota
I have secured an old fridge. I plan on making a smoker out of it. My first question is, should I leave the insulation in place, or remove it and re-insulate with something different? I haven't torn it apart yet, but believe the insulation is like a fiberglass batting. If I should remove it, what should I re-insulate with? I will try and load pics as I go along in this build. Thanks in advance. Ken
There's a bunch of folks on this forum that'll be stopping by to help ya out I'am sure. I'am not sure on this subject so not much help. Good luck on your build. WHB
Tear the sucker apart 1st, and see where ya go from there. i also had fiberglass insulation. was in mint condition. you will get different views on here ... to use it... or to get roxel. not alot of extra R value with the roxel. i re used mine and am very happy with it. no heat on the exterior at all !!!!!

so lets take baby steps and tear in apart 1st. keep a regular flow of pics coming and updates too...

that makes it easier for everyone to help out.

there is a great forum on fridge/freezer builds with alot of info. GREAT reading and i suggest you pour over it and then go from there...
Right. Take it apart and inspect it. If it's moldy, you probably would want to replace.
I tore into the the old International Harvester model H-84 today. Its a 1950 model and it still worked. Well it used to lol. I plan on replacing the insulation with some form of mineral wool. Roxil seems popular on here. Ill post some pics as soon as I find my camera cord to the computer. Its not a huge deal, but Id like to find a replacement handle for it. When I bought it, it was broke. Does anyone know where to get and vintage parts? The only thing im needing and wanting is the outside door handle. Its an IH model H-84 1950 model year. Any and all help is appreciated. Thanks  ken in Velva, North Dakota.
So this is todays accomplishment. Tore everything down, removed all wires and refrigeration lines, etc. The insulation as you can see is fiberglass batting. Once I pulled the liner out it had a mildew type smell, so I scraped it.

Lots of little holes that will have to be sealed up. Was pondering the idea of finding a metal fab shop and seeing if they could re-create this liner.

Inside was fairly clean. I get something to neuteralize the rust and probly just wire brush the hell out of it. Im goona find some high temp food grade silicone or sealent of some sort and reseal all the edges in here. Then Ill reinsulate.

Its  looking like I may have to scrap whats left of the door handle. It was broke when I got it. I have scoured the country and can not find one anywhere. I have a vintage antique appliance store checking here resources, but they said it probly isn't hopeful. So on that note, Ill need to come up with a handle and a latch system. Any ideas for a latch system? For the handle, I think Im gonna find a small shower grab bar. Itll be stainless or nickel so itll add a little flash to it once I paint!

well, that's it for today ladies and gents! Please leave me some feed back with ideas etc. Thanks a Million. Ken in Velva, ND
The liner looks like it is porcelain... clean it and re use it... Clean the body and reuse it... When it comes to putting a new steel liner in the inside of the door I can help....
18-20 gauge cold rolled sheet..... cut to the outline of the door..... lay the door on the floor and put wedges under each corner..... fill the door cavity with fiberglass insulation.... lay the new liner on the door..... put a 2" sheet metal screw in each corner standing up.... DO NOT fasten the liner yet.... fasten string to opposing corners using the sheet metal screws and pull tight... measure the strings to make sure they are equal height above the door body.... Now.... adjust the wedges until the strings just touch in the center where they cross.... Your door is now "in plane" for lack of a better term... drill the liner and body and fasten.... I use pop rivets so they don't protrude.... keep checking to make sure the door hasn't shifted and it is in plane.... finish the securing of the inner panel..... Mount the door and check to see what thickness gasket you need...

You will have to fab. a closure strip to seal the inner and outer parts of the smoker body... use the same metal you did on the door... fasten the same.... You might seal up everything with High Temp silicone before you rivet it in place..... To narrow the gap so the gasket fits, between the door and body, you might need some filler... Oak strips will work.... secure with silicone... add the door gasket.....

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Can someone here please enlighten me on the difference between these to roxul insulations? Home Depot has them, but no one there seemed liked they wanted to help. The brown is 3" thick vs the blue which is 3.5" thick. I also found a spun mineral wool insulation in board form like roxul for 19.99 at menards, vs the brown which is 41 and change and blue 43 and change. Thanks Ken

Forgot to add..... should I go with the roxul, or the stuff from menards? To be honest it looks identical. Roxul has a proven name. Wish I would of thought to get a pic of it and the name.
Also, when its time, I was thinking of going with a Bradley smoke generating unit. The discs are pretty widely available I believe. Does anyone on this forum have any experience either with a Bradley smoker or the smoke generating unit itself? I hoping that some has used the smoke generating unti and can give me some feed back.
Cut and pasted from the Roxul website:

ROXUL COMFORTBATT[emoji]174[/emoji] is thermal insulation for use in exterior walls, attics and crawlspaces. It provides indoor comfort and energy savings all year ‘round.

ROXUL SAFE’n’SOUND[emoji]174[/emoji] is soundproofing insulation for use in interior walls, ceilings and floors to help create a quieter home.

I'm not sure, but I suspect that means the Comfortbatt has some sort of paper facing as a vapor barrier?

Mineral wool is mineral wool, and once it's inside a smoker, who cares what "brand" it is or is not.  If the "non-branded" mineral wool board works out at a lower price to fill the void you need, I would go that route.  Either way you want un-faced mineral wool.

Another plus of the board form is it will not want to sag when installed as it's fairly ridged.  I have heard of batt mineral wool settling over time inside smokers.  I've seen several builds where they welded in "nails" to hold panels in place and prevent this.
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Very good point. I like 19.99 vs 40 plus dollars! I shall go 19.99 route. I like the nail idea! I love this site. So many helpful folks. Great ideas!
Well, I have gathered some more parts today. And another parts run tomorrow. My question today is what silicone and or sealant can I use in it? This will be used behind the liner to reseal factory seams and possibly holes in the liner etc. Im going to make an honest attempt tonight to cut the insulation. If I get this done tonight ill post a pic or two.
I have been using Rutlands 500º High Heat Silicone Sealant for many years, good stuff.

Also works well to build up a door gasket that leaks. Just apply a bead of caulking where it is leaking and lay Saran Wrap over the bead and close the door over night. Next day remove the Saran Wrap and you will have a perfectly contoured gasket that should not leak in that area.

Ordered a Bradley Smoke Generator unit for my smoker build today. I got a great deal. $99.99 for the unit plus $17.49 shipping for a grand total of $117.48. To me that's a steal. If you all are interested I picked it up at meatprocessingproducts.com Check them out. I have a few small things Im going to do tomorrow on the smoker, then its back to work for 4 days. Will post pics and progress when I can. Thanks Ken
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