Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Build The Side Panels

Before starting with the cabinet's construction, here are the completed burner pictures I promised in my prior entry:

I like how these turned out - they are sound and stable.  Now, on to the cabinet...  

Before I could buy wood I needed to determine what size the cabinet was going to be and these dimensions would be based on the shelving I obtained.  After deciding that the cost of grill replacement racks was too much I found these cookie cooling racks at Walmart:

They are 16" x 10" which are close enough to what I wanted.  Each pack contains 2 so I purchased 2 packs.  This would allow for 3 cooking shelves and 1 drip pan holder shelf.  

Now having the racks I could determine cabinet size and decided the inside of the cabinet to be approximately 16 1/2" wide and 12" deep.  I then quickly calculated the material I would need and off to Lowe's I went ...again.  It is a good thing that my wife likes going to Lowe's.  (Its funny though... every time I am ready to check out I meet her at the register with my load of supplies and she is there with her cart full of plants and a big grin on her face.)

I chose solid pine boards over other wood materials (e.g. plywood) because I did not want the risk of toxic fumes getting on my food. This concern is based on the idea that as the smoker heats up the glues used in the other woods would emit fumes and threads on this topic in smoker discussion forums validated my concern.  

The supply of boards directly from the lumber department at Lowe's:

Man, I sure love the smell of pine boards.  If I had used plywood I would have been able to have one-piece cabinet side panels but, by choosing these boards, I had to do a little work.  I chose a cabinet height of 3' so I purchased 6' long boards.  Cutting them to length and ripping some to proper width gives me these:

I now had pieces which had to be put together into single larger panels.  I was concerned that just gluing the edges of the boards together (with non-toxic white glue) that the heat differences between the inside and outside of the cabinet might cause the boards to bow and possibly come apart at the joints.  To prevent this I used my biscuit joiner.  Having these biscuits would increase the stability of the joint and prevent any shearing action should one board want to bow more than the other. 

When dried I ran them through the table saw to straighten and square up the edges.

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