RF Build: A Story in Pictures

  • Some of the links on this forum allow SMF, at no cost to you, to earn a small commission when you click through and make a purchase. Let me know if you have any questions about this.
SMF is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.


Smoke Blower
Original poster
Jun 8, 2012
Norman, OK
I started work on my smoker.  Mostly prep work and cutting; in this case, prep work includes "getting 4300 lb of steel off the trailer."  (Not all of it will be used for this smoker; I'm figuring roughly 1500 lb when I'm done.)

First step: get steel.  3/8" plate:

Lots of 3/8" plate:

Note the top plate--it's 8' wide, wide enough that I found I'd need to cut it down before I could move it off of the trailer.  So cut I did...briefly:

Hrm.  Why did my cut suddenly go to crap, and where'd all that soot come from?  Oh, that's why:

Guess I'll make a quick unscheduled trip up to

Back to work.  I took about 3' off of that panel:

Still, they're awfully big and heavy.  Fortunately, I have a solution:

That's about half-a-ton of plate right there.  First time I've really used the bucket hooks; I'm glad my welds held.

As seen from the driver's seat.  Right now, I'm bulletproof on the south side.

Ahh, all unloaded.  Time for a

More next week when I start on the firebox; I need to get about 25' of 1" square tubing to frame out my firebox, as detailed at http://www.smokingmeatforums.com/t/126978/firebox-design-review-and-critique.
Last edited:
Stalled.  I started working on the firebox frame, but finals are coming up soon, and I also have a paper to finish.
Hey OkieDave,

Hope finals went well. I knew you said you were about to start back up on this thing and was going to see if you had? Subscribed and ready to watch. I have just started on mine as you already know but I have had some slow days with that tornado that came through and hit our neighbors to the north.
I got sidetracked by life, and haven't done anything more.  I was just about to start back up this week, but the weather kept me from it; the past couple days have been nice, but I've been helping with the cleanup following the tornado.

Bad, bad stuff up there.  I watched it go by from two miles away.

I did finally finish my welding table, so I won't have to lay on the concrete to work.  That alone will be a big improvement, and I'll be able to move inside and go to gas (GMAW/MIG) welding instead of flux-core, so I won't burn through the tubing walls like I was with FC.
There's nothing like a little public shame to get things moving again. When last we left, I had built one side of the firebox frame. I was using .035 flux core wire, and blowing holes in the square tubing I was using for the frame; I just couldn't turn it down low enough.  I had also been working on the ground, which was decidedly suboptimal.  I (finally!) finished my welding table this afternoon, so I took a stab at the firebox frame again.  The square on the right is the old one; the one on the left is today's work:

Let's have a closer look at those welds, shall we?

In comparison:

Yes, I know; calling the FCAW welds bird-poop is an insult to birds everywhere.  I'm pretty happy with the gas-shielded welds, though.

Now, the downside: the gas-shielded frame is about half-an-inch out of flat across its 20" run.  I tried to support the low corners and step on the high corners, but even with my not-insubstantial weight, it didn't budge (a nicer way of looking at that is that even with my fat self stomping the daylights out of it, my welds held just fine!).  I haven't decided what I'm going to do about it.  When I tie the two squares together (building a cube), I may just tack it up as close as I can, then use a BFH and some heavy clamps to forcibly tie the high corners to the remaining frame, weld it in place, and call it good.

Yep, I cheated on mine and welded the pieces of tubing to the plate and then each side together, including the tubing.  My plate was squarer than I could ever get tubing to stick to being square.  Clamps and welds.
Back in action!

When last we left, I had managed to tack up a couple of squares to be used as the firebox frame.  Since then, I've accomplished this:

It's been a long five years, but I finally escaped from law school.  The bar exam is over, so last night, I went out and did a little metalworking.  First up: cutting end plates for the cook chamber:

Second: burn out the pipe segment (55" x 24" x 3/8") I'm going to use for the cook chamber.  It looks to be a section of gas pipe, given that it's coated in that horrible green epoxy.  No matter; fire cures everything!

You can see the epoxy paint begin to pull and distort in the heat.  Next, it starts to smoke:

...then suddenly catches fire, falling off in big flaming sheets:

More pictures this evening, when the light is better.
Last edited:
 on the bar.

Glad to see your back on track with the build.


Happy smoken.

 on the bar.

Glad to see your back on track with the build.


Happy smoken.

Well...almost.  I graduated, but I missed the bar by four points (260 scaled score, with 264 being passing).  I'll be savoring that experience again come February.


I appreciate the thought, though.
Good to see you back at it and congrats on graduating
Post-Christmas update:

Following a successful burnout, I finally found a set of hinges I like for the CC door at Northern Tool, and got them ordered:

Next, I marked off the cut line for the top of the CC door (just the top cut; I'll cut the other three after the hinges are welded on).  A spirit level and soapstone gave me a nice line:

A couple of hours with a grinder and a 1mm cutoff wheel (okay, five 1mm cutoff wheels), and we have a reasonably clean, straight cut:

No pictures, because it didn't go well, but I also tried drilling holes in the hinges so that I could plug-weld them.  I'm going to have to pierce them with the cutting torch instead.  More on that later, after the new wheels for the cart come in.  There was an...incident...with a compressor and a cheap Chicom tire.
Was that gas pipe 3/8 wall. And you said it burn off pretty easy. Light sanding and good enough to paint?
SmokingMeatForums.com is reader supported and as an Amazon Associate, we may earn commissions from qualifying purchases.

Latest posts

Hot Threads