NB Red River Restoration Questions

Discussion in 'Charcoal Smokers' started by aquatroy, Jul 7, 2011.

  1. Greetings!

    Newbie to smoking at home, and this forum! Very informative and has helped me to several good smokes in my Brinkman Smoke and Grill, but tired of fighting the temps, even after mods (they did help) but after research here, decided to return this poorly designed COS, and found a very heavy 8-10 year old NB Red River on CL ($70!) very rusted and pitted, owner stated he never used the fire box, only grilled in it, So I am restoring it with the info I have found on this site, but a couple more questions for the pros, please..

    First, you didn't state I would come out looking like a coal miner, wow very messy, glad I'm outside for now!

    Main Unit is rusty under the grate level, but heavy smoke buildup, with some rust, from the grates up, what is the best way to remove the buildup above grate level? would like to start as close to bare as possible inside, and then season properly...

    What is the best, easiest way to clean the junk creosote out of the chimney? I have removed it for painting, but its bad inside...

    Should I use a rust reformer prior to painting? or just a good sanding down to close to bare?

    Should I paint the firebox or just, grind/ sand to bare and season ala Pam spray, or is there something that will keep it black?

    Don't want to go to all the work to paint it, just to watch it peel the first time it gets a big fire.

    Cast iron grates are really bad, sat in snow all winter, restore or replace with ceramic?

    any other suggestions or mods for this smoker would be appreciated, will post pics when its complete!
  2. smokinal

    smokinal Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    [​IMG]    Glad to have you with us!

    You should go over to the roll call section & introduce yourself so we can all give you a proper SMF welcome.

    I'm sure someone will be along to help you with your restoration questions.
  3. The *best* way (since you asked) to get the rust of would be to disassemble the grill and treat the rusted parts through electrolysis. It might sound like a bear, but if you have a decent manual battery charger, some old lumber, and a roll of black plastic it can be pretty dang simple. I use it to clean antique cast iron skillets and I have a friend who has actually done whole car frames with this method. It will removed *all* the rust and *all* the creosote without you needing to lift a finger once the bath is made.


    If that is more than you want to tackle, consider having it sand blasted. Might find someone locally who will do it for you for cheap. If that is no viable, then it looks like it is the wire wheel for you. I personally would not use any chemicals on the interior surface. Wear a respirator and eye protection.

    The exterior I would take down as best you can and shoot it with high-temp grill paint. The inside I would take down as best you can and then season it well. The issue for you to consider is how much work you want to put into this and your environmental factors. Where there is rust there will be more rust if there is moisture present. Seasoning the inside will help but eventually the rust will return, particularly if you live in an area with swings in temp and humidity.

    Me? I would grind it until I was feeling like it was time for a beer. Then I would shoot the outside with paint, season the inside, then get on with life and start cooking.

    For the grates, consider expanded metal on frames. When you say the creosote in the chimney is "bad", what exactly does that mean? If it's not actually obstructing the air flow I would probably just leave it.
    Last edited: Jul 7, 2011
  4. africanmeat

    africanmeat Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    [​IMG]to SMF Good to have you here

    You are in the right place the folks here are help full and knowledgeable

    Don’t forget the Qview  
  5. LS

    Did something like that in shop class many moons ago, but don't have the small swimming pool it would take!

    Chimney has a quarter inch layer of creosote inside, would oven cleaner be OK?


    Thanks, I will!


    Here you go, after 6 hours of grinding, another 10-12 to go!




  6. Oven cleaner on the chimney with a 1/4" of creosote would take a ton of applications. You can use a lye bath (which is basically what oven cleaner is, but 20x more expensive) in a 5 gallon bucket. If it won't fit do one end first then flip it over and then the other. Will have to sit for a week or more but at least it is low effort.

    For the rest of it I would just go to town with your wire wheel and grinder and get off as much as you can, then paint the outside and season the inside and be done with it. Others here might know about some of the chemicals that transform the rust and stop the rust process, but I'm not familiar with them and if you want to do that on sufaces that are near heat and food. The firebox is your main concern from the looks of it. Make sure the ash does not sit with grease and/or water and you should get a decent life out of it.
  7. More questions!!

    Has anyone used a metal paint prep / etch prior to primer / paint?

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