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TopCat

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  • Gender
    Male
  • Location:
    Shropshire, England, UK
  • Interests
    outdoor cooking, woodworking, IT especially application of virtual reality, DIY, making useful things, photography, walking and eating nice food
  • Grill
    Pit Boss

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  1. I had a similar issue that developed a after a while and similarly only spotted it when I started a cook because smoke was coming out between the lid and the body. The problem I had was caused by one of the metal bands becoming a bit loose and the lid shifted when it was lifted up. To fix the issue I closed the lid and loosened the big bolts that tensions the steel bands on the lid a bit more to enable the lid to sit flush on top of the body. I then tightened the band back up. That fixed my problem.
  2. Here's the long overdue post I promised on the rain cap I fabricated:
  3. I've been trying to find time to write up what I've done, you've spurred me on to make time today and post in DIY forum:
  4. I’ve been busy ‘bringing home the bacon’ and this post has taken way longer for me to do that I planned! My kamado lives outside. Being unable to provide a shelter to protect it from the elements I wanted a way to stop the rain getting in the top. (The Pit Boss daisy wheel design collects the rain the the ‘petal’ shapes and funnels it inside even when only open a fraction). Being unsure of the effect and not wanting to get the inside walls wet / worry about expansion stresses I set about looking for a remedy to keep out the unpredictable UK weather. After examining several ideas in the forum and others I decided to make one out of stainless steel. Key design principles: (a) Keep the rain out (b) Stay on in high wind (c) Be removable (d) Provide easy access to adjust vent (e) Use low cost materials (f) Be easy to make (no need for specialist skills) (g) Use freely available tools and materials This is it: It is straight forward to make and could easily be adapted or modified for other types of kamado. Materials required: 1 x sheet 300mm x 300mm (or 12” x 12”) square stainless steel. Thickness was 0.7mm 10 x copper rivets. (I used rivets with a head diameter of 6mm, shaft length of 4mm and shaft diameter of 3mm. Anything of similar size will do). Tools required: Small hammer Metal file Sandpaper Hacksaw Aviation snips (inexpensive to buy if you don’t have them) G-Clamp Pliers Just in case tool names are not universal here’s a picture of Aviation snips and Hacksaw: (Aviation snips come in three different types, ‘left cut’, ‘straight cut’ and ‘right cut’. The ‘left’ and ‘right’ cut versions are for cutting curves and the ‘straight’ for cutting straight lines. I hold the snips in my right hand and the stainless steel sheet in my left hand so used ‘left cut’ version to cut out a circle we’ll use later). I made a rough prototype out of cardboard, staples and tape. I recommend anyone to do the same so the design can be tweaked to meet individual needs. Here’s the prototype: Now to get started: *** All measurement from here on in are going to be imperial, in inches, as I guess that’s what most forum readers are familiar with *** On the stainless steel mark out: a) a circle with a radius of 5¼” b) a 2” long straight line from the edge of the cut in the circle across the outer edge of the circle (see picture). This indicates how much we need to ‘close up’ the circle to make the cone. c) 3 strips 9¼” x ½” (the picture does show 0.5 instead of a ½) d) 3 strips 4” x ½” (again the picture shows 0.5 instead of a ½) Cut out the parts, use the hacksaw for the straight lines and the aviation snips for the circle. Drill a hole in the centre of the circle with a diameter that is a fraction bigger than the rivet shaft diameter. Use the hacksaw to cut a straight line from the edge of the circle to the hole in the centre. At the edge of the circle measure 2” from the line just cut and make a mark (see arrow head at end of 2” line on picture). Here’s the parts cut out now take each and file / sand the edges smooth. These are the rivets I used. Next job is to make the cone (when chatting with a friend who is skilled at metalworking he laughed when I said I was going to make a cone, he reckoned I would not be able to do it without industrial ‘pinch rollers’, well, I managed and so can you). Whilst I made the cone myself, it would definitely be easier at this point to enlist the help of a friend for 5 minutes when you make the cone shape. To make the cone we will use a tube to help form it. I used my Weber chimney starter which has a diameter of about 7½” A piece of tube or pipe will do, a tube with a wider diameter will be okay but I wouldn’t try with a much smaller tube diameter. Try by hand to start to form the cone to get one edge of the cut to start to overlap the other. (The edge without the ‘arrow’ on needs to go above the edge nearest to the ‘arrow’). Put the stainless steel circle on the chimney starter or pipe/tube you’ve found and centre it: Next we need to find something to push down (quite hard) on the centre of the circle, I used the handle from a yard brush: Keep pushing down until the opposite cut edge reaches the ‘arrow’ mark and then clamp the edge (this is where a friends help makes life easier). Here’s the clamped cone. Next, divide the overlap seam into three equal sections and drill holes along the edge so that it can be riveted to form a seam and hold the cone in shape. The copper rivets are reasonably soft. Put a rivet through with the rivet head on the top of the cone, hold it in place and turn upside down so the rivet can rest against something hard (block of steel, edge of metalworking vice or whatever you have around to bear against) and gently tap the rivet shaft to spread and squash (peen) the shaft to permanently hold the rivet in place. Put a rivet in the centre hole that was drilled earlier (and peen the shaft of that over too). Use a file and or sandpaper to make sure the overlapping area is smooth and uniform. Next take each of the 3 1x4” strips and drill a hole at each end, central along the length and a ¼” in from each end. Next take each of the strips and place a mark ½” from one end, take the pliers and bend that end to form an ‘L’ shape (these are the ends that you’ll later rivet to the cone, the other end need to be straight). When I made the collar section I made an allowance and adjusted the markings for room to put some felt on the inside of the collar to stop it scratching the sides of the daisy wheel. Unfortunately when I came to drill the holes in the collar I ignored the new lines I’d made and drilled them in the original place so did not have room on the inside of the collar for the felt. To overcome this I applied the felt and bent each of the uprights inward to lower the top of the cone. (My original design had each of the upright being straight as per the cardboard prototype, but hey, not difficult to fix and maybe even better as I can now see the numbers on the vent). Forming the collar will take some trial and error. Using the vent on the top of the kamado to help form the shape bend each of the 9¼” strips into a curve that matches the base of the daisy wheel. Use sticky tape to hold the strips to each other form a ‘collar’ around the base of the daisy wheel with each strip having an even overlap. Divide the collar into thirds and drill a hole through each of the overlapping sections ready to receive the upright ‘legs’. Divide the cone into thirds and at each third measure inwards a ¼” and drill a hole for ready to rivet each upright. Take each upright and rivet it into place on the cone. Make sure that the ‘L’ shape is inwards so the you can easily get a hammer to the rivet. Take each of the ‘legs’ (now attached to the cone)and rivet to the outside of the collar. Add some felt to the inside of the collar (if you choose to do so) and relax with a beer/wine/juice and be pleased with what you’ve achieved. Here’s the finished article:
  5. I'd just like to thank everyone for thier great suggestions. I looked for chimney and pipe caps available in the UK and found a couple that were galvanised that could have been moded. I was after something in stainless steel and the one I found was expensive so set about designing and making one. Key design principles: (a) Keep the rain out (b) Stay on in high wind (c) Be removable (d) Provide easy access to adjust vent (e) Use low cost materials (f) Be easy to make (no need for specialist skills) (g) Use freely available tools and materials Here's a sneak peek of the final product: The design and construction is uncomplicated (I learned a few things on the way) and can be easily changed to meet your needs and to work with other makes/designs of kamado as well as being straight forward enough for anyone to make. Full and detailed instructions will be uploaded into the Do-It-Yourself forum in the next few days.
  6. The ones in the UK from Costco come with a cover too and I'll use it to help protect from the elements.
  7. Thanks for the pointer. I'd read elsewhere on the forum that others had done that too. I'd been waiting for a UK suppliers web shop to be fixed so I could order some nomex felt. After waiting too long I ordered from the USA and got the necessary item in a couple of days. One extra band f felt (on top of the existing) wasn't enough so I added another layer too, that made it really tight (I had to ease the top vent over the felt using a very thing piece of plastic to guide the vent over the felt a bit at a time and worked my way round). I've not got a super snug top vent (and being a pt unsure of how the felt changes over time put one of the fixing screws back in and left the other out).
  8. Welcome Darylb, I've recently succumbed to the lure of a Pit Boss from Costco too - and having a whale of a time. My WSM is now relegated to the shed and I've kept my Weber kettle out - but the covers not come off since the Pit Boss arrived. TTFN
  9. TopCat

    Hello Everyone

    Welcome, good to see another Kamado fan from the UK. The collective knowledge here is invaluable and a warm and friendly crew ready to help us all on our journey to grill/bbq/bake perfection (I’m only just starting on my Kamado journey too).
  10. I use charcoal from Booker (you’ll need to find someone who has a card as it isn’t open to general public). It comes in a generic blue bag or bags branded ‘Fuel Express’ both 12kg and labeled as restaurant grade. Each have nice range of sizes with hardly any very small unusable bits left at the bottom of the bag. It’s not as well priced as the CPL bags PeteHr uses. I’ve been meaning to try other suppliers and may get some from Big K, greenolivefirewood or try some from Amazon / ebay. (PS avoid the rubbish that’s on sale in the big UK DIY and garden centers. Keep us up-to-date if you find other good sources.
  11. After much cogitating I plumbed for upgrading my Weber kettle and Weber Smokey Mountain to a Pit Boss 24" from Costco in the UK. Went to look at one in store at Costco Birmingham (England). It was too big to fit in my car and ordered one on-line when I got back, I grimaced when saw the price difference between in-store and on-line but hey, I had no choice! (I guess I'm out of touch with shipping costs). After receiving the one I ordered I can say the one on display on the shop floor seemed to be an older version (no spark guard and fire bowl was different, the fire bowl had a slot cut through it most of the way down and the two round holes drilled towards the base - you can see the picture later, the one I received had a spark guard and different fire bowl). The Pit Boss was well packaged and protected by lots of stiff cardboard, and inner and outer box as well as foam to protect parts in transit. The corner of the packaging had been damaged in transit but the excellent packaging meant no harm had come to the contents. This is what it looks like once assembled. The fire bowl has a slot all the way through and down one side (different to the one on display in the store). A little more care could have been taken in the factory (but I knew to expect the need to undertake a few minor modifications). Whilst most people wouldn't even consider this an issue given I'll be running the kamado outside without any protection from the elements and I need to make it as weather proof as possible, a little more high temp sealant needed here (see arrow in picture) to stop the rain. I was pleased to see that the item came with with spark guard (unlike earlier models I'd read about on the forum). When open the sliders are a little loose but snug up nicely when closed. Looks like the factory have made some other improvements, the lower edge of the bottom inlet has black gasket behind it indicated to by the arrow, I'm guessing that I won't need to mod the bottom vent as others have had to before. I recall others mentioning about the fine lines, crazing appearing on the glaze over time, well mine came like it (hopefully can be seen in the pic). And as the manual says, completely normal due to the differential expansion of the ceramic and the glaze. With the top vent open a smidge and the bottom as above the Pit Boss held the proper temp for a few hours to cure the gasket and ensure it sticks to the ceramic (as recommended in the handbook). Confession: I didn't think a handful of charcoal would be enough so put much more in for the initial burn. Now to a new problem I'd not read about before. The holes drilled in the metal top vent were exactly opposite each other however the holes for the bolts to go through were incorrectly positioned in the ceramic. My guess would be either the top was distorted a little prior to firing or during firing the ceramic distorted. To fix things I has to peel off a little of the gasket around the chimney so that I could get the top vent as close to the rear edge of hole. That still didn't fix things, still couldn't get bots through the holes so used a needle file to elongate each of the holes enough to get both the bolts through - not a major drama for me but would be for others without a fine file to hand. After curing the next day I though I'd do something simple to start, a chicken with no wood smoke: It was interesting starting to figure out temp control, but settled down nicely and didn't need tweaking at all. One thing I did learn was that I was too hasty putting the food on (or I've got some sub-standard charcoal) and should have let the fire 'set' properly and only emit the fine wispy smoke - chicken came out okay but taste wasn't as good as it could have been, it tasted a bit smokey but not in a pleasant way. Next exercise was pizza, no pictures I'm afraid, it was that good we couldn't wait to eat it. Let fire 'set' properly, and the food was awesome. I do need to test and almost certainly add gasket to the top vent. The other thing on my to-do list is rain protection, I want to use the Pit Boss in all weathers but don't have (and am prohibited from getting) something like a gazebo or arbour to provide that protection. I'll be thinking about what I can make or mod to stop rain/snow getting down the top vent - I'll post in the DIY forum (or here) if I come up with any viable solution that won't be affected by strong wind. Paul
  12. Hi, I'm from Shropshire in England (roughly in the middle) and have to suffer the stereotypical English weather and the challenges that presents to outdoor cooking. After scouring the forum for experiences, advice and guidance (thanks to all the contributors) I've now become the proud owner of a Pit Boss K24 (and pleased to see some improvements over earlier years and disappointed I've encountered new fault, more to come on this in the proper forum). Paul
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