This Instructable covers how I made a Smoker (for smoking meats) from an old office filing cabinet. The end result is a smoker that has a drawer for the fire, and a couple drawers for meat. Its a direct smoker, much like the black cylindrical metal ones you can get fairly cheap at the local hardware store, so regulating smoke and temperature takes a little practice.

Step 1: Stuff you need

  • Metal filing cabinet. I got mine free from work as it was old and the cloth cushion top was torn. Mine is also an under-desk sized one, though this should work for the full-height ones as well (Tower of smokin meat!).
  • 3/4" Oak Veneered plywood 2'x2' (Might need larger if your cabinet is longer/deeper. Mine was 2'x1'-5")
  • ~8' of solid oak edge moulding. I used a fairly simple astragal pattern, 1.25" (half-round top with a chamfered curve extending the bottom).
  • Grill grates. They make grill grates that can be extended to fit any grill. If you can't find one to the exact size you need, get these instead.
  • Washers, grommets, screws, nuts. Various small bits of hardware
  • Finishing nails
  • Aircraft remover: Highly effective at removing everything down to bare metal. BE CAREFUL WITH IT, it will burn the #@$! out of you if you get so much as a drop on your skin, and removes/eats paints and plastics and just about anything not metal.
  • Grill/high-temp paint (Rustoleum flat black grill paint)
  • Shelf support pegs (metal)
  • Wood glue
  • Wood stain
  • Polyurethane
  • Drill and bits
  • Tin snips
  • Hammer
  • Pliers
  • screw driver
  • Thick leather gloves (tin snips leave super sharp serrated edges!)
  • Rubber gloves (made of stuff Aircraft remover will not eat, ie: not nitrile. Thick yellow kitchen gloves seem to work, or heavy duty PVC ones)
  • paint scraper (I got away with a cheap plastic set, went through 3 of them though as aircraft remover slowly softened them up into mush)
  • Miter saw
  • Grommet punch/press (should come with any grommet kit)
  • hack saw or dremmel cuttoff wheel (bolt cutters will do too)
  • wood clamp
  • Vice (helpful, not necessary)
im making one today, all the videos online and forums never seem to really address the paint on the inside of the draws. I'm gonna cut the bottoms out and replace them with metal grills but should I worry about the paint on the side walls of draws??? I was gonna remove it but I don't wanna do the extra work of its unnecessary
Since we don't know what bad stuff could come from the heated/burning paint, its best to strip it. Most smokers come with bare metal insides, or are painted with high-temp paint designed for this application. Almost every forum post I have checked on the subject say its best to not try to re-paint the insides and just "season" them instead. Once stripped, coat the metal with shortening (ie Crisco) and get it hot to bake it in, just like a cast-iron pan. It should leave a hard shiny coating. The one thing I have found though, is the bottom drawer holding the fire will tend to rust from exposure to the heat and caustic ash. Be sure to dump the ash right after each use to slow down the rust. Remember, any fumes emitted on the inside might get absorbed by the meat (just like the smoke), its probably best to err on the side of caution/extra work to make it safe.
<p>I've been wanting to do this, however, what I have is a flammable storage cabinet that I had to throw away from a place because someone drilled holes in it to mount more racks, thus making it OSHA incompatible. I don't have the need for it. I store my flamables in my bathroom like a normal person would do. Plus I don't have the keys to lock it up...</p>
Funny, I was going to waste my filing cabinet on making a coffee roaster, luckly for me, I built one from scratch and the filing cabinet is still waiting for, um, smoker-izing! <br> <br>
<p>can you send me the coffee roaster instructions?</p>
Sad to say, I never did an 'ible, maybe I should....
<p>can you send me the coffee roaster instructions?</p>
Not quite this one, but made one in 1998 out of a five drawer McDowell Craig. Dubbed it the Schmokin' Drawers.
<p>Awesome! I work in a thrift store and I see these all of the time. I think you could take the upper drawers, remove everything but the doors, and use hinges to hold them on. That way, you could have a large upper compartment for smoking sausage, big pieces of jerky, etc. </p>
<p>Good instructable. Ever since I discovered my local sand blaster, I don't use paint stripper on anything that can moved.</p>
done and done. good stuff
I love this concept I just need to pry one away from my mother so I can bring it to my house and make some venison jerky
<p>Would be nice to have instructions to put it together, as simple as it may be... doesn't explain how you did it... Thanks,,,,</p>
this is a brilliant creation! thank you for sharing! i know what i'm doing with my old file cabinet now!
I have one of those really big cabinets, 4 feet high, 6 feet wide. I wonder if the wife would notice it moved and smoke rolling out the sides?
There's only one way to find out ;)
<br>Yes!!! Well done! I have just the filing cabinet currently gathering dust! Thanks for posting!
Ditto! lol We were thinking about trying to make the flower pot smoker we've seen plans for, but we'd have to buy the pot. A roommate just moved out and told us we could keep what he left behind and one of those things was a metal filing cabinet. w00t!
By cutting a small opening in the front of the fire drawer with an adjustable damper the amount of air intake can be controlled. For cold smoking a separate fire box could be made that would connect to this opening by way of ductwork to allow for the requisite cooling of the smoke for lox, cured meats, veggies, and cheeses. <br>

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