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Is cheating on firebox size morally wrong?

 
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kylemorley
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Joined: 06 Dec 2011
Posts: 33

PostPosted: Sat Feb 06 16 3:40 am    Post subject: Is cheating on firebox size morally wrong? Reply with quote

Will I be punished for the rest of my life if I hang a 4600 c.i. offset firebox on a 27000 c.i. chamber?

I have an old 24” x 60” water tank smoker I built by trial and error many years ago when there was no inet to answer all questions, which I have been meaning to update with an offset box. Recently I picked up a nice heavy steel 20 gallon compressor tank at the dump, which seemed perfect for the purpose. I was feeling quite smug until I ran into the Feldon calculator which tells me the tank is way too small, at about half as big as the ideal.

Considering what a bird in the hand the compressor tank is I am tempted to use it anyhow. Can anyone tell me how serious a mistake this might be? The old setup with just a fire basket in the chamber with the meat held only a fraction of the wood the tank will, and seemed to have no trouble maintaining heat. Or am I missing something?
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Smokin Mike
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Joined: 02 Dec 2008
Posts: 3142
Location: Winston-Salem, NC

PostPosted: Sat Feb 06 16 5:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

In very fine print, at the Feldon Pit Builder Calculator site, it says;
Quote:
An undersized firebox will require frequent fueling and may not adequately heat the cook chamber. A slightly oversized firebox is preferable.


The general rule of thumb is the firebox should be 1/3 the cook chamber size. In your case you're about 1/2 the size required. The 1/3rd rule has worked for many a pit build. If you insist on using the smaller tank then do so at your own peril but I'd make darn sure it's not too permanent so that when you decide to fix the problem it won't be too much of a headache.
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Jim38344
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Joined: 04 Feb 2012
Posts: 162
Location: TN now. Back in TEXAS soon.

PostPosted: Sat Feb 06 16 11:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Don't do it! I think you will truly regret using that small firebox. I had a too small firebox on my offset that was much closer to right than that, and it was a pain to deal with. It was hard to get it up to 250 or 300, and to maintain temp required almost full time tending. I replaced it with a box that is a little bigger than the calculator calls for, and the difference was amazing. Smile
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missionsusmc
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Joined: 14 Apr 2008
Posts: 633
Location: Rogersville, TN

PostPosted: Sat Feb 06 16 1:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You could chop your cook chamber in half and you would be about right.
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k.a.m.
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Joined: 12 Dec 2007
Posts: 26003
Location: Southeast Texas.

PostPosted: Sun Feb 07 16 11:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

In my opinion save the compressor tank for another project and find another firebox or build a square one. You can get by with slightly undersized and slightly larger with little to no hard results. Reducing the firebox much is asking for a cooker with problems. You can mount it and over time you will most likely figure out how to make the cooker perform like you want but in my onion it will take some effort.
These are just my thoughts I hope it helps. Very Happy
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