Wood Stove Brick Smoker Conversion

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SmokeandSwagger

Newbie
Original poster
Mar 6, 2023
22
4
Northern NJ
Hey everyone, posting a new thread here to start over with my process of researching and building my brick smoker. I changed direction pretty drastically after a lot of feedback from posters here (thanks for that, everyone!) and settled on an overall basic design I want to move forward with. What I now have to work with is this Timberline wood stove:
1683733359881.png

plus two Timberline fireplace inserts of a very similar but smaller design. My plan is to cut the bottom, sides, and back off of the inserts, leaving a metal frame and the doors in front, and stack them on top of the stove. The inserts are 4" narrower than the stove, so I want to cut open a 2" channel on both sides of the stove on the top so the smoke can come up the sides and into the insert frames, where I'll have the cooking grates. From there, I want to build masonry around the whole thing, with either refractory cement or firebrick on the inside, then a layer of insulation, then regular red brick on the outside. Something very similar to this concept. This is a (very) rough sketch. The bricks are angled just because of the angle of the picture, everything would be straight up and down in reality:

1683734063443.png


Here are my questions that I'm trying to work out:
  1. How big of a concrete pad should I pour for this? I haven't figured out the final dimensions with the masonry yet, but is there any kind of general rule as to how much bigger the slab should be compared to the footprint of the smoker?
  2. I know metal expands when heated, so I want to make sure the areas where metal comes in contact with masonry account for that. Is there a way I can form an air tight seal between the stove and the masonry, while still allowing for expansion? I just want it to look nice and not allow smoke to escape, so I'm trying to figure out if I need to put a thin layer of a neutral colored insulation, or what I can do to prevent masonry cracking due to metal expansion.
  3. I'm trying to figure out what to do in the center top part of the stove. I'm divided between keeping the 1/4" steel over it and leaving it as is, or cutting out a rectangle shape where I can sink a metal water pan in.
  4. I have a 2 year old and another on the way, so time is precious. I was originally considering making an opening where I could fit in a pellet hopper to make it a set-it-and-forget-it system for long smokes, but I'm actually starting to lean more toward just using charcoal and a BBQ Guru controller that I could adapt to fit on one of the air intakes in the stove for long cooks. Anyone have experience with a pellet smoker and a fan controller that has a strong opinion toward one or the other?

I'm also going to turn the top hood part of the stove into a chamber where I can slide in a pizza stone and use it as a pizza oven, but that's kind of an afterthought and I think should be pretty simple compared to everything else.

I would love to hear everyone's thoughts on this!
 
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I have absolutely no advice for you. But its gonna be a heck of a build. In for the ride.

Jim
 
I'm liking the idea and have a few thoughts/questions...

I'm assuming your going to blank/block of the exhaust/chimney ?

I was going to suggest a V shaped deflector inside the stove to direct the heat/smoke towards your 2'' openings instead of deadheading into the top of the stove... But this wouldn't work if the pizza oven comes to fruitation ...

What's the purpose of cutting the sides, bottom, and back off the inserts ? Are they not metal ?

I'm kinda thinking the whole unit (once built) would slide into an insulated (1-2 inches thick) hole in the masonry structure... That would leave plenty of room for metal expansion...

As for the water pan idea... One would think that the open flame on the bottom of the pan would have you fillin the pan OFTEN ... UNLESS... you had the V shaped deflector installed... that would protect the water pan from direct flame ...

Damn it.. after typing all that I forgot it's not going to be a stick burner ...

But anyways... that's a few of my thoughts so far...
 
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I'm liking the idea and have a few thoughts/questions...

I'm assuming your going to blank/block of the exhaust/chimney ?

I was going to suggest a V shaped deflector inside the stove to direct the heat/smoke towards your 2'' openings instead of deadheading into the top of the stove... But this wouldn't work if the pizza oven comes to fruitation ...

What's the purpose of cutting the sides, bottom, and back off the inserts ? Are they not metal ?

I'm kinda thinking the whole unit (once built) would slide into an insulated (1-2 inches thick) hole in the masonry structure... That would leave plenty of room for metal expansion...

As for the water pan idea... One would think that the open flame on the bottom of the pan would have you fillin the pan OFTEN ... UNLESS... you had the V shaped deflector installed... that would protect the water pan from direct flame ...

Damn it.. after typing all that I forgot it's not going to be a stick burner ...

But anyways... that's a few of my thoughts so far...
Thanks for your thoughts, I appreciate it!

I actually do want to be able to use it as a stick burner too, and be able to switch between charcoal and wood depending on how much time and effort I want to put into the cook. Would that change anything, knowing I want to be able to use wood too?

I see what you mean about the V shaped deflector, I was thinking that too, and I actually think I might be able to make one that can slide in and out, so I could take it out if I'm cooking pizzas and slide it back in for smoking.

Noted about the water pan, I'll leave some protection below.

The reason I want to cut the sides, bottom, and back off the inserts because otherwise they wouldn't get smoke- they are 4" narrower than the stove that will serve as the firebox, and I want the smoke to come up from the sides to get more even heat distribution. I also frankly just don't want to make it any heavier than it needs to be, so I figure I can save some weight that way since those spots won't be necessary.
 
  • Like
Reactions: JLeonard
Hey everyone, posting a new thread here to start over with my process of researching and building my brick smoker. I changed direction pretty drastically after a lot of feedback from posters here (thanks for that, everyone!) and settled on an overall basic design I want to move forward with. What I now have to work with is this Timberline wood stove:
View attachment 665171
plus two Timberline fireplace inserts of a very similar but smaller design. My plan is to cut the bottom, sides, and back off of the inserts, leaving a metal frame and the doors in front, and stack them on top of the stove. The inserts are 4" narrower than the stove, so I want to cut open a 2" channel on both sides of the stove on the top so the smoke can come up the sides and into the insert frames, where I'll have the cooking grates. From there, I want to build masonry around the whole thing, with either refractory cement or firebrick on the inside, then a layer of insulation, then regular red brick on the outside. Something very similar to this concept. This is a (very) rough sketch. The bricks are angled just because of the angle of the picture, everything would be straight up and down in reality:

View attachment 665172

Here are my questions that I'm trying to work out:
  1. How big of a concrete pad should I pour for this? I haven't figured out the final dimensions with the masonry yet, but is there any kind of general rule as to how much bigger the slab should be compared to the footprint of the smoker?
  2. I know metal expands when heated, so I want to make sure the areas where metal comes in contact with masonry account for that. Is there a way I can form an air tight seal between the stove and the masonry, while still allowing for expansion? I just want it to look nice and not allow smoke to escape, so I'm trying to figure out if I need to put a thin layer of a neutral colored insulation, or what I can do to prevent masonry cracking due to metal expansion.
  3. I'm trying to figure out what to do in the center top part of the stove. I'm divided between keeping the 1/4" steel over it and leaving it as is, or cutting out a rectangle shape where I can sink a metal water pan in.
  4. I have a 2 year old and another on the way, so time is precious. I was originally considering making an opening where I could fit in a pellet hopper to make it a set-it-and-forget-it system for long smokes, but I'm actually starting to lean more toward just using charcoal and a BBQ Guru controller that I could adapt to fit on one of the air intakes in the stove for long cooks. Anyone have experience with a pellet smoker and a fan controller that has a strong opinion toward one or the other?

I'm also going to turn the top hood part of the stove into a chamber where I can slide in a pizza stone and use it as a pizza oven, but that's kind of an afterthought and I think should be pretty simple compared to everything else.

I would love to hear everyone's thoughts on this!
If I were doing this project I think I would integrate a full patio. Just a curiosity; why would you cut up the stove at all? Those things are built to withstand 1000°! Will you ever run hotter
than 500°? I would cut for the piping and build your pizza oven right on top of the stove. Keeping your build simple and very functional.
 
If I were doing this project I think I would integrate a full patio. Just a curiosity; why would you cut up the stove at all? Those things are built to withstand 1000°! Will you ever run hotter
than 500°? I would cut for the piping and build your pizza oven right on top of the stove. Keeping your build simple and very functional.
I answered that question above, it’s for smoke to get in where I want it, and to save on weight. Thanks for the input but I actually already did it the way I planned and it works great! I’ll do a full post once it’s done, still need to add decorative brick on the outside.
 

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I answered that question above, it’s for smoke to get in where I want it, and to save on weight. Thanks for the input but I actually already did it the way I planned and it works great! I’ll do a full post once it’s done, still need to add decorative brick on the outside.
It looks great just as it is.
 
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