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Tuning Plate question

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  • Tuning Plate question

    I have a question about tuning plates. I am in the process of building my first smoker from the ground up. The dimensions are 7'x30". The firebox is 28"x30". It will have 2 square 4"x4" chimneys mounted side by side. I am undecided right now whether I want the traditional offset smoker with tuning plates or I want to go the reverse flow route. My question is this. How do I decide what width to make the tuning plates? I will post pics of the smoker this weekend when I finally get some time to work on it. Any advice is appreciated.

    Steve

  • #2
    Re: Tuning Plate question

    Hello steve! Welcome aboard! I faced the same choice when I built mine. I ended up going with the reverse flow. If properly designed, it is hard to beat, just my opinion. I have pretty even temps left to right and top to bottom. No hot or cold spots what so ever. I guess it boils down to what you prefer. Glad to be of any asssistance I can. I'm sure others will chime in with some more help also.

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    • #3
      Re: Tuning Plate question

      This is what I am starting with. Still kicking around whether or not to go reverse flow or not.

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      • #4
        Re: Tuning Plate question

        Guessing, is your tank around 7' or so? I have not had any experience with tuning plates. My smoker measures 7'6'' long x 37'' wide. I decided to go the rf route and have not had any regrets as to cooking performance and temperature control. I guess it becomes down to personal preference. I'm sure you will get different answers from different people. Good luck in whatever you decide. You always have a lot of experince and knowledge here to tap into.

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        • #5
          Re: Tuning Plate question

          Here's another question. I am laying out my doors this weekend and hopefully they will be completely finished. My question is this. The pipe has a seam. Is this seam usually strong enough in these tanks that it won't be an issue as far as bearing the weight. Here is my situation. I cut the valves out and welded the holes up. I want to put them on the bottom so that they are not visible. However if I do that the seam will be close to the top of my doors. Will that be an issue? Hopefully I didn't confuse everyone else as much as I have confused myself with this post. Any advice is appreciated.

          Steve

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          • #6
            Re: Tuning Plate question

            could you put the seam on the top and use that as the door hinges? Would make things simple, if not the fusion welded seam will hold the weight of your doors. If in doubt clean the area and put a bead of weld to ease your mind.

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            • #7
              Re: Tuning Plate question

              Hello, looks like a great build in progress! Remember to offset the doors forward some to "hold" your heat in the cooker. I think I used about 30 degrees for a starting point. Draw it out with soapstone and go from there. Remember this;The seams held when under pressure during operation of the tank. There will be no problems with the seams not holding. Welds are stronger than the original steel if done correctly and these seams are welded by machines to exact inspected standards for the industry. The reverse flow is the only way to go and pay particular attention to Go Vandy. Also you will need to slope the tank so as not to have grease flow into the fire box! 1/8"/ft is all you need. Although you can make this happen by not leveling the trailer. Leave a drainhole at this end and fabricate a holding bucket. As another suggestion I would suggest you use torsion axles rather than spring. I did and was extremely satisfied. A little on the $$$ but well worth it! Good luck and take alot of pics.

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              • #8
                Re: Tuning Plate question

                Hello and welcome! Don't worry about the seams as they held the pressure when the tank was in use and were welded well enough to compete a perfect joint. Cut the doors out slowly to help prevent warping. Leave each corner of the door connected to the tank and let the doors cool completely before you make the final cuts. This will help to prevent the door from warping. The tank is made from rolled steel plate so you will have some tension in the metal that will make the cut-out door a different shape, or curve, than your tank. It also helps to weld several pieces of angle iron inside the tank to ensure the tank keeps it's shape. After the rack supports are welded in place, the support pieces can be removed. If your doors warp, let me know and I can give you some tips to bring the back into shape.

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