'54 Frigidaire build

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Original poster
Jan 2, 2014
I was looking at getting a smoker that I could more closely control temperature.  I have a propane vertical smoker, but it's just not accurate enough.  Especially in the windy winter weather.  Cruising Craigslist, I found this 1954 Frigidaire.  

Doing research on this forum and others, I came up with a plan.  Since this fridge has fiberglass insulation and an enamel coated steel box it was pretty close to perfect.  I also knew I wanted a PID controller.  I've been wanting to build one for a while for brewing beer, but never got around to it.  I use a Ranco for that, but it doesn't deal with high temperatures, so PID it is.

I decided on a brinkman replacement element.  1500 watts should be plenty.  It's a fairly small box.  For smoke, I was looking at the smoke daddy so I could cold smoke, but after the glowing recommendations here, I decided on an AMNPS.

Tear down begins.  The guy I got the fridge from said it had quit working.  The compressor kicked on and immediately stopped.  I crimped and cut the refrigerant lines, but there was nothing left.  I gutted the fridge and sealed up the holes.  The inside door skin was plastic, so that had to be replaced and the trim around the interior box was also plastic and was replaced.  I went to the steel store and got some stainless.  I got it home, cut it out and started peeling the protective plastic.  Something was odd, so I did some further checking.  Turns out they sold me stainless laminated steel.  Basically mild steel with a plastic glue holding a stainless foil.  I took it back and they exchanged it without to much trouble.  Take 2.  I cut and installed the new door skin and trim.  

I ordered the silicone gasket from Amazon.  It was 12' and just made it.  I cut 1" off...  The exhaust is 3" pipe.  I used a rain cap on the top and bottom as baffles.  You can also see the PID controller installed on the left had side.  I don't have pictures of that part of the build, but I can take some if anyone is interested.  It's mounted in a 6"x6" conduit box.

I installed 3 racks that I got at a local Meijer store.  They are universal grill racks that I cut to size.  I plan to install at least 2 more racks.  I got a 4' length of 7/8" dowel and flattened the ends for sausage sticks.

I still have a little cleanup work to do.  It has a 1" pipe for draft control, but it currently has a piece of dowel in it for draft control.  It will be replaced with a ball valve.  I have a piece of stainless for an element cover / drip catcher that I need to install.

Overall it works really well.  It will hold any temperature that I've set it at so far.  From 80 to 265.  I was able to smoke cheese in it.  As the weather gets warmer I'm sure that will become impossible.  

Questions, comments and critiques are welcome.
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Nice build. Looks like you really know what you're doing.
Thanks!  Didn't know a darn thing until I read some of the builds here.  I just happen to have the right tools.  The sausage was my second batch of smoked sausage.  The first batch was venison summer sausage that nearly ended in disaster when the chips I was using for smoking flared up and my smoker hit 350.  That incident was what inspired me to build this smoker.  Better temp control.
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