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Help with Brick and Metal Smoker


Joined Oct 26, 2016
Hello, I am creating two built in vertical smokers, made from Firebrick and Metal.     I need help right now on two issues, firebox and water pan.  First, here is a description with photos of what I have done.  

I am trying to make both smokers very similar to the Lonestar Grillz Vertical smokers. I am making one small and one large, and tried my best to guess the approximate sizes of the Lonestar Smokers. The idea is to have the firebrick, 1" of 2000 degree insulation all the way around, then metal front and top providing the best possible insulation factors and hopefully flavors, and also something that will last virtually forever. 

I will note that I am a true BBQ aficionado, and have had my own BBQ restaurants here in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. I am not a designer, metal worker, engineer or architect. I am learning how to weld, first project was my Argentine grill's canopy which was a chore but very rewarding so now I need to do what my true passion is, smokers for BBQ as I use these more than the grills. I am a bit stuck on two major items, the water pan, and firebox mechanisms which I will get into below.

I started with a cement base for each, each with metal “feet” or plates with bent rebar embedded in the cement on each of the four corners so we can then weld the metal angles into the floor. I started with firebrick (with fire mortar), and created two vertical smokers with the interior measurements as follows:

Small: 48" tall, width is 20" inside (less the 1/4" angle on each side plus ¼” insulation) so 19" wide, and depth is 24”.

Large: 48" tall, width is 30" inside (less the 1/4" angle on each side plus ¼” insulation) so 29" wide, and depth is 26.

Here are some basic pics from the front.

Now that I have the 3 walls for each smoker done out of fire brick and fire mortar, I then added 1 1/2" x 1/4" thick 1500 degree insulation (two 100' rolls) from Stove Gaskets.com http://stovegaskets.com/gasket-materials/100-ft-roll-flat-fiberglass-gaskets-1-000-1-500f.html  and attached them to each corner of the brick, then covered that with Metal angle, 2 1/12" x 1/4" thick for all 4 posts and top. (Note: I also added Rebar on each post for added stability of the walls).

Note: The idea of this and the insulation between each piece of metal and the brick is to keep the brick from moving at all which would also increase greatly the life of the firebrick since nothing will be in direct contact with the brick at any time (at least in theory).

I forgot to take pics with the insulation but after I installed the metal angle over the insulation here is a pic:

As you can see from these photos the metal angle is now on each wall including top (still pending is to add the insulation on the floor, then a layer of firebrick and possible metal on top of that). 

Now comes the hard part at least for me. Here is a basic sketch of my diagram:

On the inside posts, I will weld on rails for each food tray or grate (will be stainless steel tubing). The rails I have 1" metal angle x 3/16" thick. Also have flat metal 1" x 3/16" for a guide above the rail so the trays will stay on place and not farr forward with the weight when slid out. The bottom third of the smoker will be the water pan, and firebox and ash pan.

I have two very difficult things to do: Firebox and water pan with fill and drain. Please see the video from Lonestar Grillz:http://www.lonestargrillz.com/Insulated-Smokers.html

First is the Firebox. I am thinking of using metal angle for the frame, 2" x 3/16 or 2 1/2" x 1/4" for the walls and slide above and below and then on the inside weld on 3/16" plate. Do you think this will hold up? Any idea on how better to do this? I have no metal bending tools or experience so looking for advice.

For the slide guide for the firebox I was thinking of using metal angle 2 1/2" x 1/4", 2" x 1/4" or 2" x 3/16". Opinions?

For the Water Pan, Lonestar made a metal 1/4" think water pan but this one is completely built in. I plan of having also the drain/fill for the water pan but was thinking of making in a way to be able to unscrew the nipple and be able to slide out the water pan if needed like for extreme cleaning and or replacement. I was thinking of doing the water pan much in the same way as I was thinking for the firebox. Again I have no metal bending tools or experience so looking for advice. Do you think this will hold up? Any idea on how better to do this? If possible I want to be able to finish my project up by Thanksgiving but starting to run out of time and hopefully I can get some great feedback here. Thanks for your support and help!
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