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Help what kind of metal should i line my plywood with for this smoker. I have no welder, would like to cut and rivet to the wood

MacFly

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Aluminum is a good choice, it's soft and easily worked, no nasty fumes if things get real hot. I think some people have even used tin foil. Stainless would be good too, but is likely more expensive than the aluminum, and a bit harder to cut/bend if you're just using your hands or hand tools. I would say that you could use galvanized IF and ONLY IF you're not going to get it super hot or be dragging your food all over it. Any particular reason you want to line it with metal in the first place? And why rivets for the attachment? Personally I'd go with pan head screws over rivets, but I suppose blind/POP rivets would work. I'd just worry about them giving way eventually if moisture ever gets into the wood, but you could always drill them out and replace with larger screws at that point.
 
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forktender

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Depending on the size of your smoker you should be able to find 1/6'' cold rolled untreated steel sheeting at a metal supplier near you. But I'd really look into stainless steel if you plan on keep it for a while. It could also be reused if you ever needed to rebuild the wooden box. The guy across the street from me growing up made and sold smoked salmon commercially in his backyard. His smoker was made of plywood lined with galvi sheeting.
When I asked him about the galvi. he said his smoking temps were well under 200* and well under the safe operating temps. This guy did a ton of research of the safe use of gali sheet metal in food services.
Here is what you have to be careful of, temps of 300* and higher.

"392 F

Zinc toxicity can occur when an individual is exposed to and breathes the heated yellowish fumes produced from welding or heating galvanized steel. For hot-dipped galvanized steel the recommended maximum temperature is 392 F (200 C), before the metal presents a toxicity risk."

IE: I wouldn't be afraid of using galvi sheeting in a cold smoker as long as your fuel source will never be in contact with the metal/ as in no fires build in a galvi lined fire pan.

The guy that I'm talking about used burned down wood coals placed into a cast iron dutch oven, he would shovel coals in as needed then placed the lid 3/4 oven the C.I. pot. His smoker was 10-12' long x 24'' wide x 4' tall. He smoked his salmon overnight and said that he had to load coals 1 time during the night.
He used a 6'' desk fan to keep the air moving out the top vents, his smoked salmon was by far the best that I've ever had. It was basically cold smoked 80% of the time that it was in the smoker, the texture was flatout amazing.

I've been farting around with the idea of making a wooden cold smoker out of 3/8'' plywood I've been thinking 3'wide x 4'tall. And using an old dutch oven to add my coals to as well. For the temps I'd be using it for I wouldn't even worry about lining it with anything, just plain'ol wood inside and out.

Let us know what you come up with.

Good luck.
Dan
 

mike243

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So whats the glue holding the plywood together made of? will it release bad stuff when heated? aluminum will corrode and break down pretty fast if its a soft sheet. a heat treatment makes them more durable imo
 

pops6927

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Plywood itself has a flashpoint of over 500°. No lining needed.
 

codywrath

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So basically I gutted an old freezer. I bought high flame rated insulation and put 2x4 over top and lined it with 1/4 plywood. Then I was going to line the inside with a aluminum or cold rolled sheet metal. Then seal it with a high temp caulking but if the wood is fine I would def stick with that. Wasnt sure if I was going to go electric or pellet fed. Thanks for the tips
 

MacFly

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I'm going with exposed plywood on my 4x4x8 smoker because I've decided to never go above the mid 200's. However, I'm going to run it hot and empty with heavy smoke for a few hours before actually using it to allow any nasty fumes to off-gas from the plywood. I'll also treat with mineral oil or food grade linseed oil as well to help season and seal the wood from moisture. Might not be a bad idea to give the plywood of yours a wipe-down with some before you cap it with metal, prolly make your smoker last longer (should be plenty durable without it, I just tend to overbuild, lol). I understand if some folks still worry about fumes and prefer to line with some kind of metal. What kind of caulking are you thinking? I'd go with 100% silicone as a safe bet. Also, depending on what kind of smoking you're going to do, I'd use untreated sheet metal as a last resort due to the potential for rust. Had a little store bought smoker years ago that started to rust somewhere up in the vent, condensation from what I was smoking caused the rusty water to drip on my food, ruined a few batches before I figured out what was going on. Back in my hometown in Alaska pretty much every smokehouse is made of old ratty galvanized corrugated roofing, but they're big and only used for cold smoking fish. Some guys even shoot their smokers with a shotgun after it's built for ventilation if the metal is too solid :emoji_laughing: Best of luck with your smoker, don't forget to post some pics of the finished product!
 

codywrath

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I'm going with exposed plywood on my 4x4x8 smoker because I've decided to never go above the mid 200's. However, I'm going to run it hot and empty with heavy smoke for a few hours before actually using it to allow any nasty fumes to off-gas from the plywood. I'll also treat with mineral oil or food grade linseed oil as well to help season and seal the wood from moisture. Might not be a bad idea to give the plywood of yours a wipe-down with some before you cap it with metal, prolly make your smoker last longer (should be plenty durable without it, I just tend to overbuild, lol). I understand if some folks still worry about fumes and prefer to line with some kind of metal. What kind of caulking are you thinking? I'd go with 100% silicone as a safe bet. Also, depending on what kind of smoking you're going to do, I'd use untreated sheet metal as a last resort due to the potential for rust. Had a little store bought smoker years ago that started to rust somewhere up in the vent, condensation from what I was smoking caused the rusty water to drip on my food, ruined a few batches before I figured out what was going on. Back in my hometown in Alaska pretty much every smokehouse is made of old ratty galvanized corrugated roofing, but they're big and only used for cold smoking fish. Some guys even shoot their smokers with a shotgun after it's built for ventilation if the metal is too solid :emoji_laughing: Best of luck with your smoker, don't forget to post some pics of the finished product!
Thank you for the feedback. So I'm going to go with just the plywood as well for now. The silicone I'm going to use is rtv 6500 food grade. I will definitely do the burn off when the time comes. Thanks for the tip on the mineral oil. Still trying to figure out my heat source. If I should use electric or pellet source. What are you using. Actual fire is not really what I'm looking to do
 

MacFly

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I know a lot more about carpentry and metal fabrication than smokers, lol. I think the heat/smoke source is going to depend on what you're trying to smoke, and what's cheaper for you in your area. I'll be going with a propane burner in mine, with the ability to have an external firebox for cold smoking, or if I run out of or can't get a hold of propane... I don't have much interest in electric for my project. Factor in that I'm dealing with a much larger smoker than yours though. However, from what I've read on here, electric might allow you more precise temp control if you go that way. I'm still learning about smokers myself, so I'm sure other folks on here with more experience could give you a better rundown on the pros/cons of different heat and smoke sources.
 

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