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New Guy from So Cal with a #5 Imperial Kamado and Questions

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I'm starting in my 1st restoration of a Kamado, it's a #5 Imperial and I've got a few questions.  1st the "before" pictures:






  1. The finish is dull and faded, but very well adhered.  An overnight soaking in a trash bag with orange oil paint remover and pressure washing did nothing to remove the paint, so I'll rough it up and spray it with VHT Engine paint, Chrysler Hemi Orange is the closest I can find to burnt orange. I'm wondering if primer is needed?
  2. The main components are intact.  One of the tie-wires around the ring is corrode away, so I'm going to replace them both.  1 have some solid copper wire about the right gauge.  Is copper OK?
  3. The gasket(s) are gone.  The only remaining shreds were on the base.  I was lucky and found a scan of the manual and it only shows the one gasket.  Is that correct? 
  4. In searching this forum I found the originals were cotton, but others restorationer used Nomex.  Is that still the way to go?  What would be the correct gasket thickness and width?
  5. The bands, hinge, draft door, and cast iron damper aren't in bad shape so I plan to clean them up, paint them.  I have found a couple posts saying that the BGE Large bands and hinges fit the #5, would that be old style?  I've also read that the original KJ Classic bands may work as well.  For future reference, can anyone confirm or deny either or know which is better a preference?
  6. I got hooked on Antico's Pizza in Atlanta a couple years ago, but that's a long way from home.  I'm hoping to make Neopolitan pizza which I understand takes around 1,000*F.  I found a scan of the manual (attached) and the highest cooking temperature given is 700*F. Is that pretty much the max for all clay or Imperial Kamados or just because the manual was printed well before the Neapolitan pizza craze?


Imperial Kamado Manual.pdf


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