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Gatorpits wants 400$ just for a FIRBOX?!!

Discussion in 'Charcoal Smokers' started by achilles007, Nov 16, 2010.

  1. achilles007

    achilles007 Fire Starter

    Hi, gang.

    Was trying to build a refridgerator smoker similar to dannyj, and attach a firebox to the smoker.

    I e-mailed Gator pits for a quote on prices-- and the lowest they go is $400.

    Which is two times more than my budget.

    Does anyone else have any better ideas as to how I can get a firebox for cheaper?

    I would make one, but I have no idea to do it.
  2. Char Griller makes a little grill that has a knockout on the side so you can bolt it up to another pit and use it as a firebox.  It's pretty thin gauge metal, but I also think it's pretty inexpensive.  I think Home Depot and Lowes sell them. 
  3. dforbes

    dforbes Meat Mopper

    Check with your local welding shops. How big a fire box do you need?
  4. tom37

    tom37 Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    You might think about letting us all know where you are from and possibly there is someone nearby you that would be willing to help you source one or even build one for a nice price.

    Now keep in mind that a 4x8 sheet of 1/8" plate steel is up near 100 bucks these days. If gator is using 1/4", the steel is probably about half the cost and a professional welder would probably charge 40 bucks an hour minimum. So 400 bucks may not be far off.

    But like I said, someone like myself could possibly help ya out.

    Also, as stated above the char-griller add on box is thin, but with a few mods it could work well. The side fire box I use is an old water heater and its not any thicker then the char-griller, and it works fine.

    Good Luck.
  5. achilles007

    achilles007 Fire Starter

    Ah! That is a great idea.

    I'm not even sure.

    My fridge is roughly the same size as what dannyj has in his picture:


    If there is a certain size that I am supposed to go with, I would appreciate recommendations. I thought all firboxes just came in with the standard size.

    I guess it all depends on whats the easiest for the welder to build, and the cheapest without compromising quality or the amount of smoke I can put into it.

  6. achilles007

    achilles007 Fire Starter

    Great idea!

    I live in St. Louis, MO.

    Really-- the issue of 400$ really isnt the problem, it's the issue of not being absolutely 100% dead-set-on convinced that I would want to go forward with this company.

    None of the questions or inquiries that you and others are bringing up were brought up at all in my conversations with them-- and they are a CUSTOM PIT DESIGN place.

    a BIG telling clue to me, that you guys definitely CARE more and will take your time going over with me over what exactly it is that I am looking for as opposed to a mass-marketed company that probably gets hundreds of random emails a day.

    If you can make one for me sire, I would LOVE to discuss the matter of fireboxes further with you.

    (Hell, to be truthful, I dont know much about Fireboxes and their uses in the first place-- so a conversation over their uses and whether or not that is what I am looking for probably is what should take place first)

    Thanks a lot man.
  7. tom37

    tom37 Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I had to check out danny's thread again so I could refresh myself on what the frig looked like.

    Sure I can help ya out, lets figure out the details of the box then we can figure out how soon you are wanting to get it going.

    1/4" is probably a decent thickness if you want to keep it single wall. If you are able to keep it dry when not in use then you could maybe get by with 1/8" No water no rust to speak of. The ones that rust thru really bad are the ones that have ashes left in them and then hold moisture.

    Looking at Danny's, I would think 24x24x24 would be plenty, probably even more then you need. I have never learned much about the frig builds so to those of you with frig conversions pls chime in.

    With the frig being insulated I wouldn't think that it would need all that much fire to keep temps.

    Square is probably the easiest to build and the vents he used are pretty easy to cut in. So thats not a big deal. The hinges are pretty inexpensive and I think I have a piece of scrap 1" round stock for the door handle.

    Here is a pic of one of my fire boxes on my RF. I know it sounds weird but I have two fire boxes, I only use this one when its really cold and I am having trouble keeping heat. I run a race track in it and it works great. This may be something that could also work for yours. My box is 24 square and the low grate is about 4" above the ash.


    The center area can be filled with water to help with the moisture factor. And yes thats rust LOL Some lame brain left ash in it and it didn't take long to start seeing rust everywhere.

    Hopefully we get good input and suggestions on this.
  8. achilles007

    achilles007 Fire Starter

    Great post, Tom37.

     A big thing for me concerning fireboxes is that I really wanted one that would be able to burn wood and wood solely... just not that interested in charcoal.

    I was thinking maybe that I could fabricate a "burn barrel" and then shovel it into the firebox as needed..

    A couple of concerns from me:

    1.) does a firebox need to be insulated?

    2.) I was told that there were certain dimensions a firebox needs to be in order to match the capacity of the smoker it feeds smoke and heat into.

    The interior dimensions of my fridge are as follows-- 42" height, 26" length, and 16" width.

    Not sure if this is helpful are not, but I recall browsing past a thread in the "Wood Smoker" section that mentioned a "Pit calculator" just for this function.

    Thanks again
  9. achilles007

    achilles007 Fire Starter

    1/4" is not needed, any other thickness will do as long as it doesnt affect the quality of the smoker too much.

    Matter of fact-- I really have no idea what the thickness of the metal does for the firebox... if someone can explain this it would be much appreciated.
  10. achilles007

    achilles007 Fire Starter

    Oh you know what... Tom37-- that was YOUR post that I came across regarding the Pit calculator... LOL!!

    Last edited: Nov 19, 2010
  11. shoneyboy

    shoneyboy Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I'm thinking about using a beer keg for mine....
  12. tom37

    tom37 Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Ok, here is what I think I would do if it was me.

    Before you wrap up a ton of money, I would buy a chargriller side fire box for under 100 bucks. It has a slid out ash tray, the grate, hinged lid, and air vent. With a gasket and latch on the door it would be fairly efficient. It will bolt right to the side of the frig and its not all that heavy. Here is the numbers I ran in the calc program. Looks to me like thats about the openings this FB has.

    No the firebox does not (need) to be insulated to work right. It may be more efficient insulated. The frig is gonna hold temps well I would think, so a giant fire should not be needed.

    I bet being the end of the summer season that you could find this same FB for 50 bucks or less and the chain stores. Wal mart, lowes, home depot or similar.

    There is nothin at all wrong with smokin with wood as a soul source. The only reason I don't preburn and make my own coals is mainly I don't want the extra work.

    Here is the calc I ran.

  13. achilles007

    achilles007 Fire Starter

    Ah! Perfect then, Tom. The char-griller firebox it is!

    One complaint on there is that the paint finish seems to burn off rather fast. Is there anyway I can treat this before-hand to prevent, or at the very least PROLONG, this from happening very fast?
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2010