| A Backyard Barbecue Machine
(10/6/97) The footprint was located and leveled. The front of the pit intrudes 16 inches onto an existing brick patio.
(10/12/97) Digging of the footings for the foundation to be located under all five walls was completed. Dave's back, of course, went on the fritz during this phase of the project and his son, Matt, had to finish the digging.
(10/21/97) Bad news! The manufacturer of the cast iron doors sez they are out of stock , the mold is broken, and they do not plan to make any more. The back is still on the fritz anyhow.
(10/24/97) Oops! The CFO of the Lineback household found the receipts for the building materials today. Does anyone need a well-seasoned Oklahoma Joe "Traditional" smoker? Dave just may have one for sale real soon.
(10/27/97) Good news! "Big Jim" of Reges Wood & Metal Company, Red Oak, NC, has been found and will make custom steel doors "if you ain't in no big hurry." Dave assured him that he wasn't and proceeded to ask for a quote. "Send me a sketch by fax." Hmmm... Maybe Red Oak is not as far out in the country as was first suspected.
(10/28/97) Called "Big Jim" to determine if the fax got through okay. "Yup, it's here where it spit out of the machine." After a lengthy discussion of several technical aspects (opening sizes, installation techniques, etc.), Dave again inquired about price. "We'll let you know when we get done with them." But, he pleaded, a ballpark figure is required for budgetary purposes. "Well, okay, we'll study on it some when we get a chance." When will that be? "I thought you weren't in no hurry!" These door, folks, are going to be a long, drawn-out process.
(11/6/97) The lintels for the fireplace opening and the two chimneys are cut and welded.
(11/8/97) Dave's back is on the mend! The foundation was poured and a brick footer added.
(11/10/97) Since "Big Jim" has not responded with a quotation and inquires at numerous foundaries have failed to produce suitable doors, orders were placed for the steel and hardware for making the doors "in-house".
(11/13/97) Construction of the doors was completed with a great deal of welding and grinding. Constructed of 1/4 inch plates and angle iron, they are hefty!
(11/17/97) Serious work today! The first six courses of bricks were layed and the frame for the lower pit door was set by Dave and two of his golfing buddies. Everyone's bricklaying skills were a little rusty and the start was a tad slow. Despite a few complaints of sore muscles, the pace and quality of the work improved in the afternoon.
(11/23/97) Great progress today. Both door frames were installed and the grill are in place. A total of 12-plus courses of bricks are layed.
(11/27/97) More bricks in the wall. A total of 17-plus courses bring the bricks to the top of the second door. All the skin is gone from Dave's fingertips!
Ceilings, Chimneys & Tiles
(11/29/97) All the bricks and tiles are in place. About a thousand bricks and 33 sixty-pound bags of mortar mix were required to complete the job. Now for the long 28-day wait for the Portland cement in the mortar to reach full strength before the first hickory fire can be lit.
(12/7/97) Wilber received a muratic acid bath today and the bricks are now all clean and shiny!
Coal Hearth & Pit Cavities
(12/21/97) A 3-inch diameter spin draft was added to the coals chamber door and spark arrestors were fabricated from expanded metal for the chimney flues. The design of the chimney caps was finalized.
(12/23/97) Fabricated the chimney caps. All planned construction of Wilber is now complete. Time to start cooking!
(12/25/97) Wilber got a brass name plate for Christmas. It was installed on a brick over the coal hearth.