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Unread 05-08-2008, 11:36 AM   #1
Joe Bryant
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Question Thoughts On Insulating Firebox and Cooking Chamber?

I'm still in the "draw it out stages" still but planning on building a trailerable pit. Something along the size of a Lang 84 http://pigroast.com/model84m.htm but I'm going to use rectangle shape for the cooking chamber instead of round.

Had planned on using 1/4" steel plate like many use.

But Looking at the pics of Shaynes cooker here http://s161.photobucket.com/albums/t...Smoker%20Pics/ and I'm starting to think maybe using a double wall construction with insulation for both the firebox and the cooking chamber.

I know some use this style for fireboxes but I don't see many using it for both firebox and cooking chamber.

Anyone have thoughts there?

Is there any reason not to?

What kind of practical benefits would I see from doing this?

Should I just do firebox only?

Thanks for insights. It's incredibly helpful to hear from people like y'all that have experience on this type of stuff.

Thanks.

J
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Unread 05-08-2008, 11:44 AM   #2
Norcoredneck
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Insulation always helps. Look at Spicewine, Backwoods, Stumps.
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Unread 05-08-2008, 11:51 AM   #3
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If I had the inclination (okay I have that) and the know how (okay I lack that) to build a smoker like you are describing it would be insulated.
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Unread 05-08-2008, 12:30 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Norcoredneck View Post
Insulation always helps. Look at Spicewine, Backwoods, Stumps.

Thanks Norcoredneck,

The one thing that has me wondering if I'm getting off track is it seems most all the pits I see that are insulated are the vertical designs like you mentioned. (The custom pit in the pics I linked to was as well)

I don't see many (any?) folks doing that on an offset pit with a firebox. Just wondering if there might be a reason why.

Is it possible to be too efficient at holding the heat in? Wouldn't think so but a little unsure about doing something no one else is doing with this style.

Thanks.

J
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Unread 05-08-2008, 12:35 PM   #5
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As pointed out, Backwoods and Spicewine make very well respected, insulated cookers. I believe Gator Pits makes one now as well. It's a very well respected design around here. Any one care to comment on if FECs are insulated? Overall, I'd say insulated is a good thing. I'd also say insulation costs more.

You might wanna consider calling these guys: http://www.lasertrondirect.com/. I didn't think of it until seeing shane's pits, but I had some cabinetry made by them, and it was actually very affordable relative to what big pit builders charge. I bet they could build you something nice and pretty for a decent price.

Thought/question for the group: If you go with insulation, does it make more sense to go with 16 ga in stead of 1/4"? Saves on weight and cost.

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Unread 05-08-2008, 12:40 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe Bryant View Post
The one thing that has me wondering if I'm getting off track is it seems most all the pits I see that are insulated are the vertical designs like you mentioned. (The custom pit in the pics I linked to was as well)
I'm just hypothesising here, but I think it may come down to comfort level here. Most people who build offset smokers build them with a horizontal section. More often then not, that horizontal section is round. I'd say round horizontal sections are more difficult to insulate than vertical, square sections.

Most people who want to build an insulated cook chamber go with the square vertical chamber, then put the fire right underneeth because it makes sense. Call up Gator Pits and ask them since they make both would be my suggestion.

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Unread 05-08-2008, 12:42 PM   #7
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I believe Stumps has offset pits that offer insulated firebox. Goes without saying but main emphasis is ability to get good seal to control air/burn.
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Unread 05-08-2008, 12:46 PM   #8
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http://tracymcgarrhdemo.com/products.html

I believe the Stumps Platnium series have off set insulated fireboxes........
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Unread 05-08-2008, 12:46 PM   #9
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Default Stumps

Check out the Clone Builders forum over at Prairie BBQ Association.
http://www.phpbbserver.com/phpbb/ind...orum=smokinjim


The section is devoted to building Stumps clones. Its a wealth of information.
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Unread 05-08-2008, 12:52 PM   #10
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Thanks dmp. I didn't see any gator pits that way. Do you think I'm maybe reading too much into the idea that most of these guys doing the insulated style are verticals?

J
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Unread 05-08-2008, 01:07 PM   #11
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To be honest, it think insulating the fire box is less important than the cook chamber...

I know when I did cold weather cooks this last winter, if I put a heavy blanket on the cook chamber my temps would stay right in line where without it, I had to monitor the fire a lot more close....
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Unread 05-08-2008, 01:34 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Divemaster View Post
To be honest, it think insulating the fire box is less important than the cook chamber...

I know when I did cold weather cooks this last winter, if I put a heavy blanket on the cook chamber my temps would stay right in line where without it, I had to monitor the fire a lot more close....

Thanks Jeff. Yes, one of the things that had me thinking this was reading your posts about throwing a welding blanket on the cooking chamber and how that helped.

I cooked a couple of weeks ago and it was rainy and windy and that played some havoc with my temps that also had me thinking about this.

J
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Unread 05-08-2008, 01:40 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Divemaster View Post
To be honest, it think insulating the fire box is less important than the cook chamber...

I know when I did cold weather cooks this last winter, if I put a heavy blanket on the cook chamber my temps would stay right in line where without it, I had to monitor the fire a lot more close....
Heat loss (in Btu/hr) = U X A X TD (temperature differential)

The smoke chamber has more surface area but the firebox has more TD.

I went with adding heat shilds inside my Bandera fire box to improve efficiency.

http://www.bbq-brethren.com/forum/sh...ht=heat+shield
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Unread 05-08-2008, 02:36 PM   #14
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I cook with the stumps and I can tell you that the insulation really helps when the bad weather arrives.
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Unread 05-08-2008, 03:27 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe Bryant View Post
I didn't see any gator pits that way. Do you think I'm maybe reading too much into the idea that most of these guys doing the insulated style are verticals?
Joe, Look here for the Gator cabinet:

http://www.gatorpit.net/prod01.htm

It's the Rebel One and Rebel two. Interestingly, the door is still 1/4", which seems like a bad idea to me. I'm sure he'll change that if you pay enough.

I am no master pit builder, but I think the issue with insulated verticals comes down to ease and tradition. Most people who build these texas style pits think it would be harder to insulate. Verticals are easier to insulate, the shape also helps the heat to rise in stead of move horizontally. Again, I think the best bet here is to call Ritch and ask him his whys. He's always been easy to get ahold of for me and very forthcoming with answers. You can also call the guys at Spicewine and ask them there thoughts and opinions.

One more thing to consider with insulated verticals, they usually have a lower fire tempurature and rely on the insulation. Just what I see, but you would likely save on fuel if you use charcoal or pellets. Firwood's pretty darned cheap though.

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