Like to her your opinions about a new firebox

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Smoking Fanatic
Original poster
OTBS Member
I have my new firebox almost built. It's 24" X 24" X 24", has an ash drawer, and made with 1/4 inch plate.
Since I'm in a fabricating mood, I was thinking about adding a sink with hot water to the mix.

So here is my questions.

1) Would you bolt or weld the firebox to the cook chamber? My old one is welded and I'll have to cut it off and repair what ever I inadvertently cut out.

2) I was thinking about adding copper coils to the inside of the firebox to heat water. Since the melting point of copper is almost 2000 degrees, I thought that it would be safe. I will probably fabricate a water tank that will fit in nicely with the arrangement that I have. What do you think?

I have a place for a generator to run th water pump and a small fridge.
Have you checked the difference in price between copper and stainless coils? I used to have to put new stainless coils in a perc tank at a dry cleaner every year and at that time the difference wasn't all that much. Stainless would last longer and be able to handle any possible temp you might generate IMO.
Sounds like your gonna be busy gunslinger, I myself would weld in the new fire box. That way for sure your not gonna loose heat or smoke. Ive never thought about piping the water thru the fire box for hot water( good idea). As far as the water tank a 16 gallon beer keg makes a good one. The faucet on my sink is a pump also, you can get them at any r/v dealer they work very good. I had thought about a generator but I have no more room to put anything. Guess I could haul it in the back of the truck. Any way sounds like very good ideas keep me up to date on the progress.

Btw have you thought of putting 1/2" metal in the bottom of the fire box it gets pretty hot down there.
Well I didnt know about the 12volt pump the one I have the knob turns counter clock wise then it works like a manuel pump, hate to see the price on one of them I gave $60.00 for this one 3 yrs ago.
I am going to use a 12 volt pump and wire it through a converter box like the one in my RV so I can pull up to a camp site pole and plug into their electricity or off of a deep cycle Battery. But there are a lot of very primitive out of the way camp sites here, so I have made room for my generator. I fixed the noise problem a couple of weeks ago when I had to listen to it due to the power outage from the ice storm. It's very quiet now.
Still thinking this hot water thing through. Now I'm wondering if it wouldn't be a better idea just to build a steel water tank about as long as my smoker and weld it to the back side of my firebox.
I have included a crude drawing. In this perspective, you'd be looking at it from the top. Like you are over it looking into the smoke stack. So my thinking is that the heat from the firebox would radiate to the water tank and heat the whole thing over a period of time.
That is an interesting idea. I'm afraid on all but the warmest and calm days you would lose more heat on the off-side than it could conduct on the other side. Just not sure, never saw anything along those lines. A unique idea for sure either way.

What kind of capacity are you looking to have in the tank and exactly how hot do you need/want the water?

If you went with a gravity fed set up and got the water from low corner behind firebox it could be pretty warm I guess depending on how much you drew out at a time and the intervals you needed water.

Just rambling, food for thought, my two cents, and it was free. I assume it's coming up with you in June right?
Ok just a thought what if you mounted a beer keg close to the firebox. This would heat the water and by using the keg there wont be any rust. This would much easier and you can buy beer kegs here for $12.00. Lot cheaper than buying stainless steel or heavy gauge aluminum.

Any way just a thought.
Couple of thoughts and questions...

The copper would be soft after being heated and cooled after several uses. It would loose it temper, and eventually fail prematurely.

Why are you using a water pump? Aren't you already hooked up to a water supply? If so, it is already pressurized. I could see it if you were out in the wilderness.

If you went with the tank idea, I would somehow consider putting it on top. That way as the heat rises, it would heat the water, in my opinion more effectively. If you use this method, use a counter flow. Water goes in at the cooker end, and comes out at the back. It would pick up more heat that way. The other draw back, you would have no way to regulate how hot the water got. Make sure you put a pressure temperature relief valve on it like a water heater has. Otherwise, you could have a geyser....:(:(:(:(

Just my $0.03 worth.

Thanks guys. After thinking and measuring and thinking some more, I have decided to go with a small electric water heater under the sink. I was thinking about heating with the firebox and building a tank because of space. And if I built the tank, I could build it to fit where ever.

I appreciate your input but what do you think about bolting or welding the firebox?
Gunny, I think that the bolt on would be a fine idea if you use the right type of gasket material. You won't want one that will release an odor into the smoke chamber. It will make it much easier to change out the box in the future, but may require yearly or less maint. on the gasket to maintain a good seal.

That's my no cost thought, since it appears that some prices are going up ;)

Keep Smokin
Bolt it on. Just use good quality stainless, and it would make it easier to remove if you ever had to. If you get a real good flat fit, you may not even need a gasket.

My small offset doesn't, and it seems to pass the heat real good with no loss around the side fire box to main chamber.

On the other hand, if you use regular carbon steel bolts, there should be enough grease buildup so that they wouldn't rust, and if they didn't want to come off, if ever needed to, you could just use a side grinder and cut them off.

I was going to get the same gasket material that I use to make header gaskets for my hot rod. My bolts won't get greasy as they would be behind the deflector plate.

Randy, I like that stove. That's exactly what I was thinking, but then a thought about how hot the water might get with no real way to control it. I don't want to get anyone scalded.

Chad, you bet I'll have the old ugly beast with me. After all I was elected to cook breakfast.
Well, I almost have my SECOND attempt at a fire box finished. Got it all welded up today, doors and drawer cut out. Forgot my hinge material, so I had to stop there.
I have learned several valuable lessons with this project.
1-NEVER sell your firebox, even if the money is right.
2-Square sucks!!! I have figured out why we like to build round objects. Round tanks, round barrels, round smokers, etc. 3 welds for anything round and sealed. 12 welds for anything square and sealed. The first box/oven I did had 28 welds, since it was 2 boxes, 2X2X2 feet, welded together. That's 56 feet of welding. The one I'm working on now is 2X2X4 with a partition in the center. So that's 40 feet of welding. OUCH!!
3-If your carpal tunnel syndrome is acting up, you can't weld to save your life. Weld a couple inches, stop, shake your hand, start welding again. Try that for 40 feet of welding.
Anyway, making progress. I can't wait to get it done so I can start working on something else, and enjoy something smoked. is reader supported and as an Amazon Associate, we may earn commissions from qualifying purchases.