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DIY smoker build

denis.clay

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I am currently building a smoker, w/ a 220 gallon, 1/4" thick air compressor tank.
Is there any reason why I shouldn't use an already built, cast iron wood burning fireplace as my firebox?
 

thirdeye

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Wood burning fireplace or stove? Some photo's with dimensions would help, but starters I would do a thorough inspection on it, and get a measurement of how large of a hole where it would attach to the cooking chamber. Fireboxes on offsets are somewhat large as some allow for firebrick for better heat and fuel consumption.
 

denis.clay

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Wood burning fireplace or stove? Some photo's with dimensions would help, but starters I would do a thorough inspection on it, and get a measurement of how large of a hole where it would attach to the cooking chamber. Fireboxes on offsets are somewhat large as some allow for firebrick for better heat and fuel consumption.
I haven’t purchased it yet, but it’s a Woodburning stove. I’m assuming it has a standard size exhaust flu.
I thought I might save some money, and time, buying a used stove, as opposed to buying 1/4" steel plate, and cutting, and then welding a fire box.
I also looked at a corn/pellet burning stove, for a later smoker build. Buying it used, at a cheaper price than what the steel would cost me, just seems to make sense.
 

denis.clay

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Joined Feb 20, 2020
I haven’t purchased it yet, but it’s a Woodburning stove. I’m assuming it has a standard size exhaust flu.
I thought I might save some money, and time, buying a used stove, as opposed to buying 1/4" steel plate, and cutting, and then welding a fire box.
I also looked at a corn/pellet burning stove, for a later smoker build. Buying it used, at a cheaper price than what the steel would cost me, just seems to make sense.
I’ll post photos later.
 

JC in GB

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A bit sparse on specifics. Are you planning on a reverse flow unit or conventional?

Smokers need a very precise airflow pattern to work properly. You will need a number of measurements and plug them into the proper formulas to get information about firebox size, smokestack width and length, tuning plate dimensions, etc.

There is plenty of information on this site to assist you with your build.

Can't wait to see what you come up with.

JC :emoji_cat:
 

civilsmoker

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Yes what JC in GB JC in GB said.....

Smokers are basically a convection/radiant oven. To work well they need good air flow as well as the proper heat to maintain temp while keeping the steel hot to radiate heat. There are a lot of details and specifics on how to attach a cast iron fire box to a 250 gal tank that wound need to be worked out. If done right it would work.

That said, there are LOTS of very good examples of a 1/4" fire box on a 250 gal tank you could match and have excellent results. The 1/4" fire box 1/3 under the cooking chamber to next to the cooking chamber design are time tested and proven layouts. This is just me but for a 250 gal, I would lean to the 1/4" with 1/3 to 1/4 of the fire box into the cooking chamber to help with efficiency. That is a lot of volume to heat up......
 

denis.clay

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Joined Feb 20, 2020
Yes what JC in GB JC in GB said.....

Smokers are basically a convection/radiant oven. To work well they need good air flow as well as the proper heat to maintain temp while keeping the steel hot to radiate heat. There are a lot of details and specifics on how to attach a cast iron fire box to a 250 gal tank that wound need to be worked out. If done right it would work.

That said, there are LOTS of very good examples of a 1/4" fire box on a 250 gal tank you could match and have excellent results. The 1/4" fire box 1/3 under the cooking chamber to next to the cooking chamber design are time tested and proven layouts. This is just me but for a 250 gal, I would lean to the 1/4" with 1/3 to 1/4 of the fire box into the cooking chamber to help with efficiency. That is a lot of volume to heat up......
I've looked at the formulas. I have a 220 gallon tank. If I have a 24"x24"x30" firebox, this would give me a little more than 1/3 of the volume of my smoke chamber. I'm building a reverse flow smoker. Im not sure if it will have a solid baffle, or tuning plates. Tuning plates are great for tuning in an even amount of smoke and heat, all through the smoke chamber, but a solid baffle can collect grease and direct it to a drain.
If my firebox has a fan, that should make it more efficient at supplying both heat and smoke. So with that being said, I should be able to get away a smaller firebox. I have found a big, cast iron, woodburning stove that I can buy for $100. A 4'x8' sheet of 1/4" steel is going to cost me nearly $200. Then I either pay to have it cut down (costly), or cut it myself with a grinder (obviously a very long process)
I just would like to know if using a cast iron stove has been used successfully, as the firebox for a smoker.
 

civilsmoker

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There have been a few builds with something similar but you will have to hunt for them in the reverse flow or offset builds.....as I said, If done properly it will work. However, I would strongly recommend that you don’t use a smaller fire box volume, even with a fan. Burning a wood fire hotter and faster in a confined space will NOT yield good smoke. The one rule with a wood smoker is to make the fire box bigger than needed and if the fire box is away from the chamber it won’t be as efficient in heat transfer so the need for more fire box. The exception to this is for smoke chambers that are insulated (and such) and the external fire box allows for more control.

I would recommend you spend some time researching both reverse flow and offsets in the build sections as there is a lot of good info to help. Good luck and remember it should to be fun.
 

denis.clay

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Joined Feb 20, 2020
There have been a few builds with something similar but you will have to hunt for them in the reverse flow or offset builds.....as I said, If done properly it will work. However, I would strongly recommend that you don’t use a smaller fire box volume, even with a fan. Burning a wood fire hotter and faster in a confined space will NOT yield good smoke. The one rule with a wood smoker is to make the fire box bigger than needed and if the fire box is away from the chamber it won’t be as efficient in heat transfer so the need for more fire box. The exception to this is for smoke chambers that are insulated (and such) and the external fire box allows for more control.

I would recommend you spend some time researching both reverse flow and offsets in the build sections as there is a lot of good info to help. Good luck and remember it should to be fun.
Thank you so much!
I’ll keep you posted.
 

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