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How safe is plywood in this application?

Discussion in 'Smoker Builds' started by atcnick, Nov 5, 2010.

  1. atcnick

    atcnick Smoking Fanatic

    Im going to use a scrap piece of 3/4" plywood that I had in the garage to cover the top of this cinder block smoker I built.  I've tested in a couple times and the top temperature I've gotten is about 175F, which is what I want.  Is using plywood like this going to cause me any problems with chemicals leaching out?  Or does plywood leach chemicals at 175F?

    Here's a photo of my smoker without the plywood top.  Video coming soon.

  2. mballi3011

    mballi3011 Epic Pitmaster OTBS Member SMF Premier Member


    I think that you'll be alright as long as the plywood isn't Pressure treated. So as long as the plywood is a good tan color and not green you should be fine. OH yea maybe a dummb question but, the plywood isn't painted or have any stains or paint on it either????
  3. alblancher

    alblancher Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    Never considered the chemicals that could leach out of un-preserved plywood before.  Many of us have smokehouses built entirely of plywood and do not seem to have a problem.  I only cold smoke in my plywood smokehouse so I do not reach the 175 degree temps but it sure seems that we had some temps approach that this summer with them sitting out in the sun and all.

    If you are concerned why not staple a couple of pieces of heavy duty aluminum foil on the smoker side of your lid and see if any residue accumulates.  Remember the glues are sandwiched between wood layers so I would imagine you could see it bubbling out through the sides of the sheet.  I really don't think its a problem but I have never heard of anyone mentioning it before.

    Gook Cooken,

  4. alblancher

    alblancher Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member


    Love the simplicity of your smokehouse.  Looks like something you could take down and move if you have to.

  5. nwdave

    nwdave Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    What he said, and also, be sure there's no cut edges inside the chamber.  If you were to get seepage, it would be from the edges.  Another thought for your roof might be cement board (durock or something similar), 1/2 thick (what floor tilers use under tile).  At least you wouldn't have to worry about the heat and you could vent by sliding the sheets apart ( if your top is larger than 3x5).  That being said, allow me the caveat of saying, I don't know if the cement board would be safe.  Those far more knowledgeable than I will have to answer that.  I've had a couple of friends build complete plywood smokers and they certainly seem safe enough and they got the temps up to the 250 range for smoking.
  6. atcnick

    atcnick Smoking Fanatic

    Thanks guys, by the way, here's a video of it now:

  7. Dutch

    Dutch Smoking Guru Staff Member Administrator Group Lead OTBS Member OTBS Admin SMF Premier Member

    Nick, neat little smoker you made there. Just a couple of suggestions- First, get or build a small grate that will elevate your charcoal/wood up off of the ground. This will allow the ash to fall out of the way (keep from smothering your flames) plus it will allow better air circulation.  Second, if you have a thermometer with a short probe (less than 3 inches), find a thermometer with a longer prob that will reach into the interior of your smoker-it will give you a more accurate reading.