A few weeks ago I posted a picture of a smoker I had built and with the interest shown I said I would be building another and would post the plans. I finally completed one and took lots of photos, so I will give it a whirl.
Here is a picture of the completed smoker, so you have some idea of where we are going as this thread progresses.
Hang with me, this will take a while. I will try to be brief but yet thorough enough so you understand the steps along the way.
I stickied this, otherwise it will get pruned -Shay
At some point, I’ll move it into recipes.[/color:23b6kisg]When I read the heading, I thought this thread was going to involve Nicorette!
I really like that, looks good. What are the external dimensions on it?
[/b:1b2wpque]that looks nice . do you have to manualy regulate the temp. or is there a thermostat?Here is a picture of the hardware you will need to pretty much complete the project as I built it.
And then of course a burner assembly, this is just a burner from a turkey fryer that you can buy pretty much anywhere.
We’ll talk about the burner and related stuff a little later.
Ok, first of all you need a couple of sheets of 3/4 inch AC plywood, AC meaning one side is finished. You can use any old plywood, but if you want it to look pretty, get the AC. A sheet runs about $40 here.
To keep things flowing right here, remember this, when cutting, rip means with the grain, and crosscut is across the grain. I’m sure you all know that but just in case, I thought I might mention it.
Ok, so you have the two sheets, and you are all exctited to get started. The two sheets need to be ripped down to 28 inches, so when you are done you have two sheets 28×96 and two sheets 20×96.
Now you need to crosscut the ends off so the sheets are 64″ long. Use a good straight edge and circular saw, and it will be a piece of cake. The four short panels that are left will be used later, so don’t go throwing them in the wood burner just yet.
With the four 64′ panels you will be using, it is a good idea to mark them for identification so you don’t get confused when you get going. This is especialy true if you use a bisquit joiner. (More on that later too).
Joined: 9/27/2005so far so good go on ……………Now set one of the 28″ wide pieces on a set of saw horses, and we will proceed to put the 20″ sides on. I use a biscuit joiner for this, it is much easier to keep things aligned and straight as you go along. Especially if your plywood wants to bow at all. It can be done without the bisquits, but if you can get yor hands on one, do it. It makes life much easier.
Ok, time to mount one side. I use the biscuit joiner and glue, lots of glue. I also use a stapler, but the first one I built I just used finishing nails, so all these fancy tools aren’t necessary. Don’t let not having them scare you, this is easy. Some good wood clamps work wonders too.
Now do the other side the same way, and you will have the back and two sides complete.While the glue is drying you can be working on the dowel holders.
Crosscut 6 boards from one of the smaller panels you set aside earlier. Don’t use the bigger panels you set aside, they will be used for the top and bottom.
Draw a line the long way down the center of each board you just cut, and then mark seven equal marks along that line. Hard to describe but this picture should help.
Now you need to drill 1″ holes at each of the marks down the center of the board. You will have this when you are done.
[/img]1″ hole drilling tip: Use a forstner bit! A hole saw bit is a pain in the rear, you need to manually dig all the plugs out. Not much fun, and with 42 holes to do, trust me, use the forstner bit. They aren’t that much money.
Now you can rip the boards down the middle, and presto, you have some dowel holders that will attach to the sides of the smoker.
Here they are installed.And here are the measurements that have worked best for me.
Oops, just found this photo showing both sides on and the dowel holders installed too.
At the bottom end of the smoker, measure up 8″ and put a strip of wood around the three panels just below that mark.
This will be used to hold the panel that supports the burner.Now the top and bottom can be put on. The larger panels you set aside are used for these, and they will have to be trimmed down to fit. They are the correct width already, so make sure you trim the right edge off. Set the three panels upright and install the top, then flip it over and do the bottom.
The bottom should be 3/4″ longer than the sides. Remember, the front needs to be installed yet and it will fit inside the bottom and top. Here is a picture of the bottom. (The smoker is upside down in this picture).
Here is a picture of the top and bottom installed. See how the bottom protrudes out 3/4″. I leave the top longer, instead of having it stick out 3/4″ I like to leave it out about 3 inches. It gives the appearance of having a small overhang, sort of like a little roof overhang. It just looks nice.Time to do a few burner modifications. The original legs for the turkey fryer burner are way to long. I like to cut them down so the burner itself is about 7″ off the floor it is mounted on. Here is one of the legs. The longer cut to the right is where it will be bent, and the cut I started to the left of it will be cut all the way off. Do your own measuring, some burner assemblies differ so the measurements may be different than mine.
When I talk about 7″ to the burner top, I mean to the top of the silver burner. Not the black frame it sits it.
For anyone thinking a burner only being 7″ from the wood floor isn’t enough, it is. My floor under the burner never even gets hot enough after several hours of smoking that I can’t lay my hand on it. Heat rises. Amazing, huh?I cut the hose and regulator off the burner and chuck it in the garbage. The regulator that comes with a turkey fryer is a 5# regulator, and it is way too high for what we are doing here. It may be fine if you want to use it and know that you are the ONLY person that will ever use the smoker. But let someone else use it that doesn’t know any better and there is going to be a fire. They just throw out too much flame.
Ok, so you cut the hose off, and now you just have this little barb fitting sticking out of the burner. I had one of these little fittings brazed on the barbed fitting. It is 1/8 x 1/4, both ends female thread. Sorry, I don’t know what they are called. The 1/8″ fitting butts up to the barb end on the burner pretty good, and any guy with a torch can braze them together. We all have those kind of friends, right?
Now you can take the remaining small panel you cut off earlier and mount it in the smoker and it will hold the burner. Here is what it will look like.You’re probably wondering why the second floor to hold the burner, why not just mount the burner on the bottom and save some time. Well, I use the space below the burner to house the hose and regulator. And I don’t want the hose to be inside the smoker, so I run 1/4″ copper tubing below the burner floor and do my conversion to the hose there. You will need these fitting, which just about any good hardware store can help you with, and then you will also need a short chunk of 1/4″ copper tubing.
Here’s a look at the assembly when the hose and tubing is completed. Note how I clamped the hose to the side. If someone yanks on the hose it won’t go ripping out the soft copper tubing and bending it all to pieces.
The other end of the hose:
Buy yourself a nice little adjustable LP (propane) regulator, the one in the picture was only $8.00. The needle valve was $12.00, and it is also needed to regulate the flame and consequently the heat.Ok, now that the burner assembly and hose and regulator are all complete, it is time to get the front on. First a little preparation. A door needs to be installed to get at the hose later. You need to cut this before the front is installed if you want to do it the way I did, or else you will be cutting through the bottom of the smoker to get it done later. I cut the door most of the way out, leaving just a little piece until the hinges are on so everything stays aligned. After the 1 1/2″ hinges are installed, I finish my cut. I will let the picture tell the story.
The hole above the door is for air to get to the burner assembly. I use a 4×10 floor diffuser (Also called floor registers) and you want to cut the hole so it is centered on the air intake to the burner. Measure twice, cut once, like my daddy used to say. That burner needs air. I remove the closable louvers in the diffuser so they can’t be operated, it needs to be full open at all times.
Now the front can be installed. Just lay the smoker on it’s back and lay that front in there, I glue and staple mine on and use the bisquit joiner again here too. Like I mentioned earlier, if you need or want to use the finish nails, or even screws, it can be done any way you see fit.
Time to cut in a door to the smoker, the fun part. Got a good jig saw? You’re gonna need it. First make a mark 2″ in on the sides and down from the top. I have this handy straight edge that I use, and it is a perfect 2″. (Don’t go less than 2″, you need to clear the dowel holders that you installed earlier, plus the 2″ of plywood left around the edges gives it some strength.
I like to make my door about 33″ long. The 35″ measurement you see in the picture is with the 2″ at the top, so the door is actually 33″. Make the door bigger and it will just be more weight for the hinges and more chance of warping.
Make the corners rounded. That way you only have one starting point with the jigsaw.
My starting point is under the middle hinge, so it is nice and hidden. You can cut up and make the curve around the top, and then you will have to cut down and make the rest of the cut from that direction to get clearance for the jigsaw. You’ll know what I mean when you get to this point. Install the 3″ hinges before completing the cut to keep things aligned.
Just before making the final cut, install the handle and put a piece of wood through it just like this, or the door will fall in when the final cut is made. And it will be tough to draw back out.
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