Makin' Bacon

Canning, Dehydrating, Freezing, Fermenting, etc.

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Re: Makin' Bacon

Postby pa_friendly_guy » Thu Nov 01, 2012 7:36 pm

I posted on Freecycle and asked for a used file cabinet today. A woman replied that she did not have one, but there was a place that recycled building matterials in Pittsburgh that sold them. There is a store like that here in our town so I stopped in today. They had 2 large 5 drawer units that were fire proof and heavy. They were also $150 each, lol, way out of my price range. Then I saw some lighter smaller units for maybe $40. That was still more than I wanted to pay. I am thinking more along the lines of $2.50 lol, or better yet free. I am sure I will find one if I keep looking. The heavy fire proof units were really nice though, larger, wider, had a bottom floor so it would be easier to control the draft. I am sure something will turn up, :D
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Re: Makin' Bacon

Postby GrahamB » Sat Nov 03, 2012 12:32 am

Well Guy, between you and Matt, you've just got me thinking about my patio area at the back of the house. A rocket heater would be ideal to sit everyone on, and the grill, smoker and drinks cooler would keep everyone happy. :D
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Re: Makin' Bacon

Postby pa_friendly_guy » Sat Nov 10, 2012 11:48 pm

I found an old file cabinet. I was having lunch with a very good friend of mine the other day and was telling him about my plan to make a smoker out of an old file cabinet. He said that he had an old beat up one in his office and was planning on getting rid of it. He had several other file cabinets in a storage building near his office. He said that if I helped him move the new one from his storage unit to his office I could have the old one. So we stopped at his house and picked up a dolly and drove the 2 blocks to the storage unit. He lives right in town. He had it full of old furniture and other treasures, the 4 file cabinets were of course at the back of the storeage unit. After moving a bunch of chairs, an antique love seat and some other stuff we could get to the file cabinets. He of course didn't want the 1st one, so we moved it out of the way and took the 2nd one in the row. After putting everything back into the storage unit we drove the 1/2 block to his office. Unloaded the new file cabinet from his truck and then took all of his files from the old unit and moved the new one into place and replaced all of his files. He then said he would deliver the old file cabinet to my place. I told him he did not have to do that, but like I said he is a good friend. We got it to my place and unloded it into my garage. It was a fairly newer unit, light weight metal, not one of the older heavier units, but oh well, it was FREE. :D The handles were all broken and a couple of the drawer fronts were bent up a bit but I do not think it will leak too much smoke, and even if it does, Oh Well. ;) I went to a store that sells salvage building materials in town and found a floor register cover with a damper built in, it was maked $8.50 but had a mark on it so they gave it to me for $5. Today I drove to the Bog Box store about 15 miles away and bought 4 new handles that I thought would fit and some hack saw blades and a metal drill bit. The handles were about $2.39 each. So now I have about $15 into the unit. Here are some pictures.

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This is what I started with.

First I drilled 2 holes in the top and cut out for the top vent with the sabor saw useing a hack saw metal cutting blade. I kept it off to one side so that if I get an electronic temperature probe it will have room to sit on top. { Thats my story and I'm sticking to it, it wasn't that I miss measured and cut the hole in the wrong spot, :o

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My neighbor had some wheels that he gave me so that I can build a wooden frame for under it and move it around easily.

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Next I started to cut the bottoms out of the drawers with a metal blade in my sabor saw. I left a bit of a metal ledge all around the drawers. I also left in the cented brace. When I cut out the bottoms I left a lip the width of the center brace and bent it over so that the brace had twice the metal on the sides for increased strenght.


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I bent the lip over with a small pair of vice grips, them beat on it with a ballpeen hammer, and finally krimped it over with a larger set of vice grips.


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I got the 3 drawer bottoms cut out as well as cutting the hole in the top today. Went through several blades in the process. I think I was in too much of a hurry, pushed things too hard and broke the blades. I got to the point where I realized that this didn't have to be rocket science, and neatness really didn't count for much, lol, its a smoker for goodness sakes. Here is a picture of the 3 drawers that I cut out. I did not cut out the bottom drawer because that is where the fire box will go.

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Here are all the tools that I used for the project.

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The drawer pulls that I bought are just a bit too narrow to fit in the holes in the drawers, Oh POOP. So I have to decide if I want to try and bore the holes a bit bigger and use washers or take them back and start from scrath. My next thing is to find metal grates of some sort for the bottom of the drawers. I looked at metal hardware cloth at the big box store. They had it in alum but it was pretty thin. I would love to find stainless steel at the local junk yard. I will run over there next week some time. I also have to build the wooden frame for the wheels. I think the frame will make it a little more stable because I am placing the wheels wider than the file cabinet. Not counting the time to haul the thing home and the 2 trips to the Big Box Store, [ I had to drive back there the 2nd time because my camera had fallen out of my pocket, when I called they said that someone had turned it in at the desk, sort of helps build your faith in mankind doesn't it? ] I have about 1/2 a day of my time invested so far and about $15 in cash money. The grates will cost some money, but I do not mind looking around for a bargan, ;) So Graham, you have the file cabinet, I am sure you have the tools, just find a day and make it happen, that is befor you start the rocket stove project of course, :lol:
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Re: Makin' Bacon

Postby GrahamB » Sun Nov 11, 2012 1:06 am

I have been out in the garage looking for the camping cooker that I thought I had saved for this job. I have a bad feeling that it got left at the old house when we moved. Oh well, I'll either pick up another one at the local auction house or maybe make one to fit. I like the idea of the wheels, and I was contemplating how to fit them. Your idea of building a frame and making it wider to stabilize the cabinet sounds ideal.
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Re: Makin' Bacon

Postby pa_friendly_guy » Sun Nov 11, 2012 2:40 am

The friend that gave me the wheels puts wheels under everything, lol He has all of the large tools in his garage on wheels so that he can move them when ever and where ever he likes. I was planning on trying to bolt the wheels to the bottom of the cabinate but he suggested the wooden frame, I thought it was a Great Idea. I can even take the Smoker off the frame and use the wheeled frame to move something else around the garage, it sounded like a Win Win to me. I hope that I can keep working on the smoker. Some times it seems that when I get a project to a certain point, the point where I can see how things are going to turn out, I tend to put it aside and work on other things. :lol: I still have a bunch of leaves to suck up befor it snows. :D So there are always things to keep me busy. :D
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Re: Makin' Bacon

Postby GrahamB » Sun Nov 11, 2012 3:13 pm

Yeah, I have a bunch of leaves still to pick up. I've been waiting for the two oaks in the front yard to shed but they seem to be holding onto them longer this year. But I took a few hours off yesterday as it was the start of gun season. We have been seeing a nice six point on the trailcams recently so I got up into my stand about 4pm.
Now I tend to do things the hard way when it comes to hunting. I shoot recurve in archery season, and an old Mosin Nagant with iron sights in gun season. I haven't been able to do muzzleloader until this year as I don't have one. But this year Missouri have changed it to alternative which means we can use black powder or crossbow.
Sunset was at 5.15pm and we can go 30 minutes past. My neighbor sounded like they had two while I was there, and I was pondering whether it was the six point that they had shot. At one point I was hearing scuffling behind me. I look down and there was a squirrel at the base of my tree. I watched as it hopped onto the tree and sat there flicking its tail. Then it climbed up a bit further and did the same. I thought, It's going to have a surprise when it notices me above him. It climbed up another six feet and I expected it to look up now and see me, hear me or smell me, but it just sat there. All the time I'm thinking this is one dumb squirrel. By this time it is about four or five feet under my treestand. It's got to be really crazy to come any closer, but all of a sudden it scampers up and lands on the platform. If I had moved my foot I could have stepped on its tail. I just looked down and said "Boo!". Expecting it to take off like a bullet, I was even more surprised when it just sat there and barked at me. I just couldn't stop myself from laughing and it then jumped onto a branch, ran along it and then jumped to the next tree. It stayed there for about five minutes before moving off through the treetops.
Nothing showed on my side of the valley, and when 5.45pm came around, I did the right thing, unloaded my rifle, lowered it to the ground, unfastened myself from the tree and climbed down. I was unclipping the Mosin from the rope when I happened to look up and there was a doe looking at me. I said a few unprintables under my breath and then thought, maybe my watch is fast. I took a round out of my pocket, very slowly pulled back the bolt and slipped it in. Closed the bolt with my hand over it to deaden the sound. As I was bringing the rifle up into my shoulder, she took off like the wind and disappeared over the fence, into the woods.
I got back to the house and my wife asked if I had had any luck. I just looked at her and said "you'll never believe me if I told you".
I tried again this morning but there is a storm coming through and the tree was waving like a mast on a ship, so I got down earlier than expected. Oh well, back to the chores.
No matter how many mistakes you make or how slow you progress, you are still way ahead of everyone who isn’t trying.
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Re: Makin' Bacon

Postby pa_friendly_guy » Sun Nov 11, 2012 5:43 pm

Our Deer season does not open for rifle until the Monday after Thanksgiving. I am normally sucking up leaves until then, :) but this year I seem to be ahead of the game. Last year I got 52 cart loads off the yard. When I say cart load you thing Chev S-10 PU load. 52 loads is alot, this year I have sucked up 48 so far, so pretty soon, even if some of the leaves are still on the trees I will call it quits for the year. I love being in a tree stand and having wild life walk by with out realizing you are there, it always makes me feel great to watch them like that.
Back to the smoker, lol, I have been thinking a lot today about the fire and the fire box. I am worried about the open fire idea because the rollers on the cabinet drawers are made of nylon. The older file cabinets had metal rollers, this newer modern unit has nylon. I am worried that an open fire will melt the nylon rollers and make it so that the drawers will not slide open and closed. I have been thinking maybe I should go with a 2 burner electric unit, one side for the pan that will hold the wood chips, the 2nd side to just regulate the heat inside the unit. I really had my heart set on an open fire inside the smoker, I had even started to set up supplies of apple and hickory saw dust and chips, but I am really worried about those rollers. I do not have to make a final decission just yet, I need to find the grates for the drawers 1st. My Brother-in-Law is away this weekend, I will try and call him next week to see what he has laying around the shop.
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Re: Makin' Bacon

Postby GrahamB » Mon Nov 12, 2012 12:41 am

I've been thinking about those rollers Guy. It would still be a problem for me too as the gas burner would give the same risk. I haven't had chance to check for certain, but I'm thinking maybe replace them with skateboard bearings. They still have a small amount of nylon but you may be able to pop that out as you aren't going to need the speed of a skateboard to open the drawer. You can usually pick up a discarded skateboard at the flea markets, even better would be a old pair of roller blade skates as there are more wheels on them.
I've just grabbed my son's skateboard and a rough measurement without stripping it down is 18mm outside diameter with a 7mm inside diameter.
No matter how many mistakes you make or how slow you progress, you are still way ahead of everyone who isn’t trying.
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Re: Makin' Bacon

Postby pa_friendly_guy » Mon Nov 12, 2012 1:41 am

I worked on the smoker a little bit today. I took time to suck up 2 loads of leaves from the front yard 1st though. It is to rain tommorrow and I knew if I didn't get them sucked up today I would regret it. I have a stack of scrap lumber piled up along the woods near the garage. I got it maybe 6 or 8 years ago when a friend tore down an old deck around his above ground pool. The wood was old and some of it rotted then. He could not burn it where he lived, he told me to enjoy some Bon-Fires with the stuff. I did just that but saved some of the best wood and just put it in a pile up off the ground. In keepingg with the No Expense is Spent program for thi9s smoker I took several 2X4s from the pile, pulled the nails that were still left in them and cut them up for the base of the frame that the wheels will be mounted on. I got them cut to size, I used my drill press to bore the holes for the wheels and nailed them together. The posts on the wheels are just the size of the 2X4 so I had to beat and cut and mess with them to get enough of the shaft exposed to have the top nuts catch and be able to tighten them down. I wanted to have a washer on both the top and the bottom but there was no room for that. If they loosen up over time I will see about adding washers to the unit at that point. I also went to the local Hardware store and bought new bolts for the new handles I bought. The ones that came with them are for mounting the handles to a wooden kitchen cabinet and are way too long to the metal drawers. I started to bore out the holes in the drawers so that I can use the handles I bought yesterday. I talked with a guy at church today, he said my unit is most likely in inches and the new handles are in metric. He felt I would have trouble finding a match so I might as well go ahead and bore the holes bigger and use what I have. With the price of Gas I think he is right, its not worth another trip. I did find a wire metal drawer in the garage that would make a Great fire box for a wood fire in the smoker. I am still torn, but the more people I talk with the more I think that the nylon rollers will not stand up to the open fire. I really do not want to tear out and replace all of the rollers, I think I would have been better off to have waited until I found an older unit with the metal rollers. The old file cabinets from the 1940s or 50s really would be a better bet if anyone else is thinking about trying this project. ;) of course I like anything old, especially if it has a crank on it ;) Live and learn I guess, lol. Another Learning experiance Boo, :lol: At this point I am still moving ahead with what I have. I do think it will work, I just think I would have been happier with an older heavier unit. :D . I think I may end up with an electric heating element to power the unit. They work well, are easy to regulate and may not catch the nylon rollers on fire, ;) I took some pictures today, I will try and post them tommorrow, I left the camera out in the garage and don't feel like going out to fetch it.
Never doubt that a small group of dedicated people can change the world, indeed it is the only thing that ever has.
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Re: Makin' Bacon

Postby pa_friendly_guy » Mon Nov 12, 2012 10:46 pm

Here are some pictures that I took yesterday, here is the pile of scrap lumber that I used for the frame.

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Here is the cabinet up on the wheels and frame work I made, you can see how much wider I made it than the cabinet for stability.

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This is the metal drawer that I thought would be great for holding the fire inside the unit.

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The wheels work great for moving it around.

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This is my saw horse arangement that I used to cut up the 2X4s for the wooden base, like I said, no expense is spent for this project, lol

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I am actually nearing completion with this project, the file cabinet is pretty much all cut up, the top vent is installed, the wooden frame has the wheels mounted and the cabinet is sitting on it. But there has been a New Developement today. A woman from Freecycle just emailed me that she had an old file cabinet that I could have if I wanted it. I told her that if it had metal rollers I would take it, she checked it out and it does have the metal rollers that I want. I told her I would come and get it Wed. So now my project is at a stand still, I think I will be way happier with the older heavier unit. So all the work from the last several days is sort of up in smoke you might say. I did learn how to operate my sabor saw better, a good thing to know, and I talked with a friend with a saw mill today about getting some hickory and apple saw dust and chips, he said he had some that I could have. So maybe I am better off and well on my way. Does any one want a metal file cabinet with nylon rollers that is all cut up????? :roll:
Never doubt that a small group of dedicated people can change the world, indeed it is the only thing that ever has.
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