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Q-talk *ON TOPIC ONLY* QUALITY ON TOPIC discussion of Backyard BBQ, grilling, Equipment and just outdoor cookin' in general, hints, tips, tricks & techniques, success, failures... but stay on topic. And watch for that hijacking.


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Unread 08-27-2010, 12:55 AM   #1
SacramentoHusker
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Default Kamado Restoration

Hello all,

As you might guess from the name, I'm in Sacramento, and I'm a Nebraska Cornhusker alum. Since everyone knows that the "N" on the Nebraska helmet stands for "knowledge," I'll ask you all to go easy on me as I might not be the sharpest tool in the shed.

I came across this board while I was searching for information on a recent purchase of mine - a Kamado BBQ/Smoker from, as far as I can tell, about 1978. I picked it up at an estate sale from a pair of sisters who were selling off their dad's stuff. No one had even nibbled at it over the course of the two days it had been for sale at a measly $50! After hemming and hawing over taking it off their hands (the only reason for the hemming and hawing was my wife's reaction to me talking about adding to the collection of 6 grills in the backyard), they dropped the price to $25 and I couldn't pass it up. Below are some clickable pictures:



The Kamado is in fantastic shape - no major cracks, one minor crack, all inner components, all the original literature, and just missing a couple of items. According to the literature that came with the Kamado, this is a Kamado Ancient #5 (18" diameter grill, ~150lbs). More details on what came with this thing at the bottom of the post.

I've read through all the Kamado restoration threads I could find (Humpty being the best one) and I've developed a plan of action for the restoration, but I'm missing a few key pieces of information. Below is my plan, along with the holes in my plan in red.

1. Find a draft door for it. I don't know of a place where I can get an original one, so I'm looking for suggestions on where to get a replacement. Maybe from a BGE dealer?

2. Take the bands off the Kamado, clean and paint the bands, then clean and paint the ceramic shell exterior. What I can't seem to find though, are techniques for prepping the ceramic for paint and what brand/type of paint to use for painting. There is a nice buildup of smoke residue at the top of the smoker, which I'm sure I'll need to remove for the paint to adhere properly. I'm painting the Kamado because it will be stored outdoors and I'm really concerned about moisture exposure leading to cracking during fire.

3. I'd like to mount a thermometer, but I haven't decided on using a remote thermometer with wire to the exterior readout or on mounting a BGE thermostat by drilling a hole and mounting it in the top. Any suggestions or comments?

4. I need a new draft top for it so I can control the outlet much better. I've seen several of the Kamado restores that have a cast iron cap with a slider, but obviously I have a ceramic painted top. I'd like to keep the ceramic top for decorative purposes, but I'd really like to have a cast iron sliding top for control. Any ideas on where to get one? Maybe use the Kamado one sold on Kamado's site?

5. I've already replaced the wheels on the cart and painted it. Next up is replacing the weather-beaten handle with a new bike grip.

My first run with the Kamado was, well, a disaster. My St. Louis Style ribs because charcoal. Note to self - don't leave the house if you don't know exactly how the equipment will behave while you're gone.

Said ribs:

From this



to this



Later on that day I decided to throw in a chicken and see how it turned out. Here's a photo of the first successful run of the Kamado:



Anyhow, I'm really looking forward to becoming part of the community here, and would appreciate any help anyone can pass along.

Thanks for reading!

What came with the Kamado:

-Rolling stand with one broken wheel
-Perfectly kept stainless steel grill
-All interior parts (firebox ring, grate)
-Original literature, including assembly instructions and two Kamado Smoker BBQ cookbooks. These have dimensional data on the cooker, were printed in 1978, and are from Pachinko Palace, Inc. These also include the retail outlets for the Kamado, so I best tell that the Kamado was purchased on El Camino Blvd here in Sacramento in a building that is now a gas station.
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Unread 08-27-2010, 09:57 AM   #2
f308gt4
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Wow, sounds like you got an awesome deal --- Congratulations.

Don't know if I can offer much to help, except that for questions 1 and 4, I think you could probably get the part (draft door, cast iron top) from a BGE dealer.

Good luck with it!
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Unread 08-27-2010, 12:12 PM   #3
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Nice score!

The Ancient Kamados used a plug to regulate the intake. If yours does not have one, I would get a stainless steel draft door from Big Green Egg, drill 4 holes and mount it.
I have a couple Ancients, and one of the biggest problems with the plug dampers was when people shut them down after cooking the expansion and contraction caused the pot bases to crack when the plug was inserted-hence the the invention of the slider (so says Richard Johnson in old Kamado.com forum posts)

Sounds like you have a plan, I'd repaint the bands-but better yet, replace them with BGE spring assist hinge bands (you will be happy you did!) Personally I wouldn't mount a thermo in the lid, use a remote probe on the grate instead. The cart looks to have been modified, which makes it look more stable, but don't push when you move it-they have a tendency to flip easily!
Get a BGE DFMT (dual function metal top) for the lid.

As far as painting-I have had good luck and also bad luck repainting some of mine. The bad luck I've had was repainting a Medium Ancient similar to yours. Mine was in baaaad shape, but felt I did a decent job restoring it, but even taking the extra time to prep the surface, the pain has not adhered and has flaked off and it has not even been cooked on. But on the other hand my Modern Imperial Kamados are in great shape. Others have repainted theirs and had success.

Check out the Naked Whiz FAQ's and the Imperial Kamado website for more info. If you have hours to spend trolling through the Kamado.com forum archives, you might pic up a bit of info, but its more like a duck hunt at a swimming pool!

I would keep it as original as possible if it is in as good of condition as you say, but it will never be as versatile as a new ceramic Kamado ie. BGE or Primo.

Good luck and welcome to the Kamado Rescue Unit!
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Unread 08-27-2010, 12:23 PM   #4
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All along i though the "N" on the helmets was for knucklehead instead of knowledge.
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Unread 08-27-2010, 02:17 PM   #5
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Go to ebay and type in "Kamado". They have original Imperial Kamado draft doors for about $50 bucks (a bit pricey) and other parts. I also have an older Kamado that I am slowly refurbing.
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Unread 08-27-2010, 04:40 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 1FUNVET View Post
All along i though the "N" on the helmets was for knucklehead instead of knowledge.
HEY take it easy The N really stands for "nothing" as in nothing to do here.
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Unread 08-27-2010, 05:44 PM   #7
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swamprb, tiki,

Thank you for the suggestions. I checked out the Kamado accessories on the Kamado site, and I think I'll try the BGE accessories instead. They seem to be of higher quality, have a better range of adjustable features (better dampening effects, etc), and look like they'll work. I spent a little time at the BGE dealer down the street from my house looking at them on my lunch hour today.

After my visit, I decided that purchasing the draft door and draft top from BGE is probably the best course of action for me.

My visit, though, did raise another question - should I add the gaskets they have for the BGE to my Kamado? The Kamado definitely leaks smoke from the ring while in smoke mode (top on, draft door half open, interior at about 275-300). I won't be buying them from the BGE dealer - eBay seems to have them for about half the price.

Also, those bands with the spring hinge are a bit expensive ($109). I tried eBay and Amazon and couldn't find them. Any suggestions, or should I just bite the hundred dollar bullet?

Any advice is appreciated.

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Unread 08-27-2010, 05:47 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by devious View Post
HEY take it easy The N really stands for "nothing" as in nothing to do here.
Funny - I'd never heard that one. University of No Learning, University of No Opportunity, and University of No Knowledge, sure, but never "nothing."

On a side note, my and and uncle live in Bellevue on one of the courses. Yes, I have played a couple of holes of snow golf with a bright orange ball.
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Unread 08-27-2010, 08:39 PM   #9
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Don't bother with the BGE gasket. Use the permatex high heat copper sealant.

http://www.permatex.com/products/aut...sket_Maker.htm

Put a ring around the entire edge, cover with saran wrap (I think some people put some spray oil on the saran wrap to keep it from sticking), close the lid, and let dry. After drying, remove saran wrap, and trim any excess with a razor blade. Will make a great gasket.

Alternatively, I used the same sealant, but used it with the nomex gasket at the time. It's worked great, but I really didn't need to bother with the gasket while using the permatex sealant.
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Unread 08-27-2010, 10:55 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by f308gt4 View Post
Don't bother with the BGE gasket. Use the permatex high heat copper sealant.

http://www.permatex.com/products/aut...sket_Maker.htm

Put a ring around the entire edge, cover with saran wrap (I think some people put some spray oil on the saran wrap to keep it from sticking), close the lid, and let dry. After drying, remove saran wrap, and trim any excess with a razor blade. Will make a great gasket.

Alternatively, I used the same sealant, but used it with the nomex gasket at the time. It's worked great, but I really didn't need to bother with the gasket while using the permatex sealant.
Interesting product. I'll look into it.
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