What did I just create??!! A few questions/concerns at the bottom

Discussion in 'Fridge/Freezer Builds' started by sodabiscuit1234, Aug 26, 2015.

  1. Hey guys,

    Long time lurker, first time poster.


    I recently came across this old fridge:

    It was plastic on the inside, and when I removed the shell, there was fiberglass insulation.

    So I stripped everything out and was left with this:

    For some reason, I thought it would be a good idea to line the walls with plywood and this is where I my concerns/questions arised.

    Not sure if I preferred the look, or if I just wanted to hid the rust...I don't know. But anyways, it's done now and I know I've seen a lot of smokers made solely out of wood, so I hope it's ok.

    So I painted the whole thing, and lined the bottom with some cheap aluminum pans I got from the dollar store.

    Not quite done yet because I only just found the right sized racks to put in there.

    Here's the front.

    So now that I'm almost done, here are my questions and concerns:

    1) Was it a bad idea to line the walls with plywood?  I am hoping to be able to smoke ribs, or pork shoulders etc. and would like to get to 200 maybe even 225 degress.

    Is this safe?

    2) If you think I should remove the wood, do I line the walls with anything?

    3) I was planning on using it as a charcoal smoker. I would place a stainless steel bowl at the bottom with the charcoal and the wood chips, above it would be a ss bowl full of water, then whatever I'm smoking above that. Just like in current brikmann smoker. Would this work?

    I have very little knowledge of smokers, as my examples were the 2 that I have now, which are a 'Big Chief' and a Charcoal Brikmann's smoker. Both are extremely simple designs, and just used those as my starting point.

    Anyways, here is some sockeye and some cheese I smoked in my little smokers I have purchased. I hope I can just use this fridge as a larger smoker to save a lot of time.

    Thanks for looking!

  2. My smoker is all wood, I have had temps up to 350° has caused no trouble.

    I have a gas burner for heat. cast iron pot on the burner with smoking wood. or us my Amazing N smoker and burn pellets.

    Make air vents that you can control, with top exhaust.

     Works for me. CF 
  3. Thanks for reply. Good to know. Yeah, I almost forgot about exhaust. Yes, I am that much of a rookie.
  4. sb1234,

    My first smoker is made out of plywood, and like chilefarmer I burn gas and use a cast iron pot for smoke.

    I've never pushed her to 350*F in fear of the glue in the plys weakening. 

    I don't think charcoal would be a safe alternative to gas or electric heat source.

    But...you have a perfect cold smoker for cheese and sausage!

  5. trippy

    trippy Smoke Blower

    Wood is not an overall good choice for material in smoker. As a frame it's ok as long as the wood can dissipate the heat. Wood will break down over repeated heat cycles. So the life of your smoker will be reduced. My worry would be fats getting into the wood fibers and developing fire hazards with any kind of heat source. Keep it safe.
  6. I would worry about the glue breaking down and the laminate delaminating eventually. I like to be able to turn up the heat in my smokers without worrying that they will suffer from it. As to what I would use instead, if I had a metal outer shell but not a metal inner shell, I would build a wooden frame of hardwood 2X2 and use painted metal roofing, the kind with ribs on 9" centers, to build a metal inner shell. I would use fiberglass or rock wool for insulation. Hardwood can take a lot of heat without warping. I suppose you could also build the frame from the kind of metal framing studs used in building construction.
  7. In my opinion the plywood has an lacquer based glue that causes cancer in lab rats. Heating that glue up my put a chemical into food. I have seen alot of wood smokers and most are solid wood not plywood. I am not sure of the heat density of the molecular compounds in glue,but in most glue it is 350 or less. And lacquer based glue is flammable as hell wet.
    Just my opinion

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