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Firebox Size and Shape

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    Firebox Size and Shape

    Hi all,

    I’m about to start my first smoker build. I’m making a basic offset smoker, nothing too fancy. I’m trying decide on a round vs square firebox and how big it should be vs the cooking chamber. Any suggestions?

    #2
    ⅓ to ½ the volume of the cook chamber. Either shape works.

    Comment


      #3
      What size smoker do you plan on building? Backyard size? If so, 16-18" width and height, with 20-22" depth should be just fine. The longer dimension is the 'depth' (when looking straight into the firebox). You can go bigger also, but basically you need to fit a few logs in there. There's no direct correlation betweeen food chamber and fire box size. Feldon's calculator is wrong. Both shapes work just fine.

      Comment


        #4
        What materials/ tools do you have to work with? Some pics/more info would help.

        Comment


          #5
          I have a 48” cooking chamber and 24x24” firebox which is perfect.

          square or round is fine. Aaron Franklin recommends round because as the logs sit on the bottom, naturally there is air that gets under the wood.

          Comment


          • Ahumadora
            Ahumadora commented
            Editing a comment
            I also prefer round, as I feel they flow better.

          #6
          I have a few propane tanks. Main tank I want to use is 24” x 84.” I also have one 18” x 60” and 18” x 36.”

          I can get 3/16 or 1/4 plate as well for a square firebox.
          Last edited by MikeD3; August 30, 2020, 08:10 PM.

          Comment


            #7
            I haven’t experienced shape making a difference. Size definitely does. You want room to build a proper fire - including room for the fire to breath, space for ash, and room to move your shovel around to move the wood.

            Comment


              #8
              Try http://bbqpitcalculator.com/ for sizing guidance

              95% done with my Vertical Cabinet and I will say the folks at the SmokerBuilder forums (http://smokerbuilder.com/forums/index.php) are quite helpful for any experience level



              Comment


                #9
                Ok. Do you want standard offset or reverse flow? With a 84" tank I would go with standard offset.
                The 36" will work for a firebox. Whats the wall thickness on the tanks? (check the tag on the tank). Some pics would help. Here's a pit I build in Mexico with the same basic dimensions. I would suggest using this design for a base.
                Attached Files

                Comment


                  #10
                  I want to make a standard offset using the bigger tank.

                  If it goes well I might attempt a reverse flow pit in the future

                  This is the best picture I have of the bigger tank. The tanks are at a relatives house right now (where all the work would take place) and have some things piled in front of them. I’ll have to pull them out before I start working.
                  Attached Files

                  Comment


                  • Ahumadora
                    Ahumadora commented
                    Editing a comment
                    ok Looks like they are older tanks so that's a good thing. Likely to be heavier wall. Drag em out and if you have a propane burner connect it and use it to burn whatever residual gas is in there. Then remove the valve and fill it wth water. Also dump a liter of bleach or clorine in there to kill the smell.

                  #11
                  I have a few tanks arriving in my Mexico shop in the next few days, same size . (500 liters) Burning off the gas inside them at the moment.
                  Attached Files

                  Comment


                    #12
                    If I did anything else on my custom reverse flow I would make the square box a double wall with rockwool or some insulation in a 1 inch gap. Thought it would not matter in south Texas. Made sure my length was good enough to hold regular cut firewood so I don't have to cut wood into smaller lengths. Insulating, even down here in south Texas would save a massive amount of firewood or charcoal and make standing next to it more comfortable in the 113 degree heat outside. A square /rectangle box gives you another place to make a seering grate and is flat for warming foods. I cook my steaks over a grate on the firebox. Used many, many round fireboxes before, all work fine but lack utilitarian functions I mentioned above and would be more technical to insulate.

                    For now I use specially made aluminum alloy insulating gas compressor panels around my firebox I salvaged from a gas compressor station in Sinton Texas that was scrap and works quite well. Keeps heat off me during these cooool summer days!

                    Comment


                    • Donw
                      Donw commented
                      Editing a comment
                      Something else worthwhile from Sinton is Aunt Aggie De’s pralines. Was driving through one day and saw that giant squirrel and decided to stop. Glad I did.

                    #13
                    Do you think the 18” tank will be big enough for a firebox. I guess most smokers I’ve used or seen have a firebox with a diameter about the size as the cooking chamber.

                    Comment


                      #14
                      Use the 18 x 60" tank . Cut in half at 30" . Cut the tank head off one of the half tanks so you are left with a cylinder about 30" long. Cut a 2" strip long ways out of the cylinder. It will Spring open so be careful. Use some truck rachet straps to crank the cylinder back together and reweld it So you have a smaller diameter pipe. Slide it inside the other hallf and now you have a double wall firebox. From all the money you just saved, go buy a 9" Dewalt and box of cut off discs to cut the doors out.

                      Comment


                      • HawkerXP
                        HawkerXP commented
                        Editing a comment
                        Sounds like someone has done this once or twice...

                      #15
                      That’s an idea. I never thought of that.

                      Comment

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