What I did yesterday (mods trial and run)

Discussion in 'Charcoal Smokers' started by nh3b's, Mar 2, 2008.

  1. capt dan

    capt dan Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    The pull out ash drawer seems like a good idea, but it also allows air into the firebox, and if you want to control temp by opening or shutting down the air, more air inlet leaks can be a problem. They are gaps that cannot be closed or controlled. Just a lil thought.
  2. nh3b's

    nh3b's Meat Mopper SMF Premier Member

    I appreciate the foresight Dan.

    As it is now I bought your old smoker on sale at Home Cheapo. It was Damaged and got it for $80 assembled. I dont know if yours had gaps in the firebox door but mine has some conciderable ones. I feel whatever I do....a little more air certainly wont matter. Im somewhat being faceciaus on this as Im better in pics than descriptions. When I say theres gaps...Theres gaps!

    Anyway, I was going to roll the sheet metal to form on bottom and than lip it, cooking chamber side, same size as damper side.
  3. nh3b's

    nh3b's Meat Mopper SMF Premier Member


    The monsoon expected today was late. This gave me time to make a prototype duct/hood to utilize all heat from charcoal basket. I will start bending and cutting next week. Again, I will do this using NO breaks, rollers, spot welders, pittsburghs, etc. so maybey people can duplicate if they wish.

    For those not following, this is where it starts. Cardboard than to sheet metal.

    Im hopeing this will generate and push heat to further control flow and utilize ALL heat.
  4. nh3b's

    nh3b's Meat Mopper SMF Premier Member

    It was nice and the sun was FINALLY shining....what a great day for waking up the neigbors [​IMG] ....Heres what I got...

    Heres my delimma.....This is what you call a throat in the HVAC world.....Heres what I got...

    I have a couple of options to make this (see following pic)......Im thinking Plan A
  5. nh3b's

    nh3b's Meat Mopper SMF Premier Member

    Oops.....wrong button.....Heres Plan A:
  6. capt dan

    capt dan Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Yep, my silver has a warped door, and it lets in alot of air, even with the intake closed, but when I do close it, it will put the fire almost out. I have found that I have to run the silver with the butterfly between 1/4 to 1/3 open most of the time.

    I look at the pics here and I smile. You have got some ambition for sure.

    I don't want to be critical, so I am just mentioning this to be helpful not hurtful. First of all, try this idea and see what happens. My theory is that the "hood you have made for the charcoal basket will not allow enough fresh air into the basket to make a clean burn. I also think that if you did eventually get a good hot clean burn, the sheet metal wouldn't last more than 2-3 smokes. The firebox itself is enough of a chamber to "force hot air" into the smoke chamber. Its what you do with it once it leaves the firebox, is the problem. The continuous plate you have is a step in the right direction, but it needs to let heat and smoke out as it travels across the bottom surface towards the exhaust stack. Like I said, these are just my opinions, and I sincerely want you to understand that. There are alot of us silver users who are just as anxious to get them tuned in. I think you are going in the right direction. I think you may need to do some trial runs in between the larger steps of your mods to get a "feel" for the results.

    good luck, and please continue to keep us posted on the project![​IMG]
  7. smok'n steve

    smok'n steve Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Wow, nice work there. You have a lot of ideas and seem to do really neat work.

    The first thing I think of is airflow too----What CAPT DAN said. If the flame doesn't have room to flicker, you won't get a good burn.

    I am guessing, but I think the only way that would work is with forced air or a guru fan. Fire it up and let us know what happens:) Hey, the Wright Brothers didn't fly the first time:)

  8. nh3b's

    nh3b's Meat Mopper SMF Premier Member

    As I said in the beginning of this blog/thread "I welcome all critizizims and suggestions. Ive been called names before so....nothing bothers me.[​IMG] I know what your saying and I did think of that however, I think its gonna get plenty of air through the sides and bottom. My actual purpose for building this wasent for "forcing air". it was to utilize all heat. Get more for less, ya know?

    The plate going across the smoker, I have tried that and it does work well. I actually tried it 3 times.

    Thanks for your imput Dan. I really do appreciate it. I will post my results for its the least I can do for this forum! Anything beats how I was doing it before...Throw some logs on, let it burn down, smoke with NO mods. LOL! So, in reality, I probably never would have went this far if it wasent for this forum reading on Tuning plates, Baffles, reverse flow...etc.

    My exp in life has been if your thinking of it, chances are someone else has thought of it as well. Even if everything turns out to be a big flop, thats ok with me for Nothing tried, Nothing gained! and what I learn, someone else can read.

    Thanks again for your imput...seriously[​IMG]

    I try Steve....would have been nice to be in a shop instead of on the back deck in those winds yesterday! BRRRR!

    As far as " a good burn" Im assuming that when I do fire this up at the end of the burn if all coals are ash....than Im good to go. No?

    Flickering flame?....I am using lump and never really had a flicker to it except when I add a chunk or 2. 8" from bottom of basket to top of hood.

    The fan.....LOL, I was thinking that last night as I was staring at it!!! As I said before....Nothing tried, Nothing gained. Time to go to work
  9. smok'n steve

    smok'n steve Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Good Attitude there NH3B:)

    I think what I meant by "good burn" was that without room it might smolder, sort of like when you cover a candle jar and it goes out. On the other hand, if you are only using lump and pre-burning it in a chimney, then maybe you have something there---as you said Nothing tried, Nothing gained!

    Anxious to see how it turns out for you:)


    PS---Was that cardboard a 30 pack of Bud you used for a template? Now, there is some fuel!!
  10. nh3b's

    nh3b's Meat Mopper SMF Premier Member

    OK, So I finished the throat today and couldent wait to fire it up. As with my previous runs, I used Cowboy lump, 1 Weber chimney full, and monitered peak temps.

    With everything screwed and sealed I acheved 260 peak. That is 20 degrees hotter than previous runs without hood. As far as burn time, I got 1 hour out of it. I dont know if thats bad or good concidering its only 1 chimney full and not the best lump in the world.

    As far as the burn....It burned down with the exception of 1 or 2 "black" lumps....the rest were small and red. To verify if its getting enough air, I just filled that basket 1/2 lump and 1 half weber chimney. I figure with raising temps to get it all hot, That should burn down to ash if getting enough air. Temps were at 330. Its been 30 degrees and falling with a light wind.

    Does this sound right?
  11. smok'n steve

    smok'n steve Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I have never operated your smoker type, but am trying to use common sense here.

    So many variables........I would think what you would be looking for is consistency, in other words, the same temp for 1 or 2 hours, but I have never worked with just 1 chimney, I usually get my firebox full of really hot coals, then back off the air once the coals are committed to one another. After that, I can sit back and make minor adjustments to vents as needed, maybe once an hour and drop more fuel on as needed, maybe once every 45 min. Ease of temperature control is what you need. For the most part, you want to control temps with vents, not fuel amounts.

    Learning your machine first is a must, then go from there?
  12. nh3b's

    nh3b's Meat Mopper SMF Premier Member

    That in essence is what Im doing Steve. Getting that thing ripping with coals and going from there is how Ive gathered and learning flame and heat and my smoker with a combo of trying different things.

    Capt Dan.....I shall walk the plank!!!! lol

    You were correct with the hood chokeing the fire. Actually BOTH of you were. I will post pics later but tonights expieriment is to run it without the hood, same amont of lump and see what the basket looks like at the end.....and of course, moniter temps.
  13. smok'n steve

    smok'n steve Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Bummer:-( I feel bad since you put so much quality workmanship into it. But, like you implied, that is helpful for all of us including you.

    I am sure of one thing----you are going to defeat this thing and i think you are going to come up with something that becomes a standard mod for those with your smoker.

    With your ability to design and build, I can see you eventually building one of your own:)

  14. nh3b's

    nh3b's Meat Mopper SMF Premier Member

    Thanks for the vote of confidence Steve. I try

    Im getting ready to fire it up. I havent gave up on that hood. Heres what I might do:
  15. smok'n steve

    smok'n steve Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Hope it helps,

    Are there any holes directly under charcoal basket thru the firebox? I am thinking that with your new hood design, this would be the place that you might want adjustable vents. The only problem is, of course, ashes falling through onto your lawn or whatever:)
  16. nh3b's

    nh3b's Meat Mopper SMF Premier Member

    No, theres not Steve.

    I have been burning without the hood for about an hour and a half.....just as I thought, I didnt get the temp like i did with the hood, Temps rose slower, however, SEEM to be falling slower and TONS of heat loss through the box.

    I think instaed of drilling holes in the firebox, I might test it with the door wide open and with the hood.......I am anxiously awaiting my results running without the hood.
  17. smok'n steve

    smok'n steve Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Keep us posted:)
  18. ddave

    ddave Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Have you considered extending the smokestack? The wood-fired boiler that i ran (for a short time) had an ID (induced draft) fan which was basically a large blower that blew air up the stack to help pull air (induce draft) through the firebox. From what the old-timers tell me, before ID fans, the smokestacks were really tall. The theory being that a column of rising air rising farther would induce more draft.

    Unfortunately I don't know enough about the physics to be able to recommend a length. And, of course, to get the maximum effect, your smoke chamber would have to be very well sealed so that air would be pulled through the fire box and hood but not around the lid or other gaps in the smoke chamber.

    Just a thought.

  19. nh3b's

    nh3b's Meat Mopper SMF Premier Member

    Ok, I think I might take back what I said about walking the plank. I had the same amount of lump left in basket after the burn.

    Heres with hood:

    Heres without hood:

    Heres what was left after I shook the basket out. BOTH had the same amount of unburned coals left....In fact the test with hood had less[​IMG]

    From the pic, I know one looks whiter to mabey indicate a hotter flame but I think thats a lighting issue as it was taken this morning at 6. They both looked the same, I could be wrong.

    The purpose of this expieriment was to see if "the hood" would choke out the fire. It didnt in my eyes. So, The fire has suffecient oxygen with the hood. Now for flow.

    I am sure theres a formula out there on it Dave. I dont know enough about it either.

    What your saying makes sence on that ID. I guess if your blowing it in or taking it out its about flow. I am trying to NOT use technology. Kinda like keeping it all natural, ya know. I havent sealed gaps in my smoker as of yet cause Im just playing with fire i guess. I hear what your saying tho. Im just learning and thinking. Talking about that gave me an idea about using the wind tho.

  20. ddave

    ddave Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I wouldn't actually put an ID fan in the form of a small blower on your smokestack, although I guess you could. I would just play with different lengths of smokestack extension to see if it would transfer more heat via draft to the smoke chamber.

    I agree with you. Don't apply too much technology. Although I am employed in technology services, the attraction of the smoker is playing with and tending the fire. While I appreciate the elegance of a fully automatic smoker with servo controlled dampers and augers and such, there's not much "art" in that sort of cooking.


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