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Author Topic: Project Wapiti  (Read 5000 times)


  • WKC Ranger
  • Posts: 1707
Project Wapiti
« on: September 26, 2014, 06:09:57 PM »
Awhile back, I did a mini WSM for a buddy of mine.  We both like to bow hunt, so I thought I would make him a deer-themed cooker that he could use in camp or at home.  "Project Venison" is a typical mini WSM conversion.  To personalize it, I attached a Coues deer antler to the lid vent.  The antler came from an animal I got many years ago in southeast Arizona.  BTW - Coues deer are very, very difficult to hunt.  If you are interested, GOOGLE them. 

Project Venison:

A month ago, I decided to try a WSM conversion using a Smokey Joe Platinum as the basis.  Instead of an aluminum 32 quart stockpot, an 80 quart stainless steel pot is necessary to fit the 18.5" width.  I used an 80 quart Concord pot that is 1mm thick.  Stout stuff.  Because this cooker is bigger than Project Venison, I settled on an Elk theme - "Project Wapiti"

First step is to cut the hole in the bottom of the stainless steel pot:

It did not take long to learn that cutting and drilling holes in a 1mm stainless pot is a real challenge.  Despite using $15.00 drill bits, thread cutting oil, and high quality saw blades, there were many casualties.  It literally took me a couple of days to cut the pot, lid, and drill the necessary holes.  Those are carbide tipped drill bits - one of them bent 90 degrees from the heat generated by drilling into stainless:

The pot did not fit right in the SJP, so I decided to cut a hole in the lid (same size as the hole in the bottom) and rivet the bottom of the pot to the lid.  This allows the lid flange to sit on top of the rim of the SJP which is a good fit:

Next was the charcoal basket.  Because the SJP has such a deep bowl, I was able to go 6 inches high on the charcoal basket.  This should make for some nice, long burns:

For the grates, I decided to give myself enough room that I could easily stand a couple of beer can chickens on the bottom grate, with room to spare.  This pot is nice and deep, providing lots of vertical spacing:

I used one of the top rack supports to mount my Thermoworks unit, and used a second rack support as a place to thread temp probes for meat and cooker temp:

I painted my "Wapiti" theme using 650 degree engine enamel.  This photo gives you an idea of the size comparison to a normal Mini conversion ("Sierralita" in this case):

I decided to save the lid of my SJP - it is a "DR" code, which is the last year the SJP was made.  Instead, I used a Jumbo Joe lid with the bolt on lid handle.   I am telling you, the move to bolt on handles across the Weber line is a dream for those who like to mod kettles.  The antler is from a spike bull elk - my first with a bow.  The mounts going into the lid are 1/4" stainless steel bolts:

There you have it, project Wapiti.  Yes, it would be easier to score a $100 18.5 WSM off craigslist, but not nearly as rewarding. 

If any of you are machinists, and know the secret to drilling thick stainless steel, please PM me.  I would love to learn.

In an ongoing relationship with a kettle named Bisbee.


  • Moderator
  • Posts: 5259
Re: Project Wapiti
« Reply #1 on: September 26, 2014, 06:17:21 PM »
Unbelievable Winz. Top notch craftsmanship as always. Very nice work!
W E B E R    B A R - B - Q    K E T T L E


  • WKC Ambassador
  • Posts: 9048
Re: Project Wapiti
« Reply #2 on: September 26, 2014, 06:20:45 PM »
the stainless & black looks tremendous !!!

Nice fixes on the temp unit, fitting to the bowl & esp. the handle !!!!!

Just grand, man !!!!!
"If you want it fancy there is BBQ spray paint at home depot for that. "
    Covered, damper-controlled cooking.....IF YOU PLEASE !!!
           "But the ever versatile kettle reigned supreme"    


  • WKC Brave
  • Posts: 336
Re: Project Wapiti
« Reply #3 on: September 26, 2014, 06:21:19 PM »
 Very nice mod!  I'm thinking of doing something with one of mine and your write up gives lots of inspiration!


  • WKC Performer
  • Posts: 3465
Re: Project Wapiti
« Reply #4 on: September 26, 2014, 06:23:42 PM »
Wow - the handle sends it over the top!  Great bloody work there...I am impressed and then some.
"Why do you have so many bbq's?"....."I just like lookin' at em' sometimes....and I have enough purses and shoes"


  • WKC Ranger
  • Posts: 1586
Re: Project Wapiti
« Reply #5 on: September 26, 2014, 06:30:38 PM »
Schweet mod.......nice work.  Im bugling as I type!


  • WKC Ranger
  • Posts: 542
Re: Project Wapiti
« Reply #6 on: September 26, 2014, 06:42:54 PM »
Great work!


  • WKC Performer
  • Posts: 4656
Re: Project Wapiti
« Reply #7 on: September 26, 2014, 06:46:08 PM »
Looks great. Can't wait to see what you cook and how long it can go for.  8)
I don't care if you don't like my Avatar, its there for me..


  • WKC Performer
  • Posts: 3413
Re: Project Wapiti
« Reply #8 on: September 26, 2014, 09:16:29 PM »
That is outstanding work!  Now, you got me thinking about what to do with my SJP ...

I am wondering if a 30 gallon drum would work well for something along these lines?  ???
There is something fascinating about science.
One gets such wholesale returns of conjecture
out of such a trifling investment of facts.
- Mark Twain


  • WKC Mod
  • Posts: 10911
Re: Project Wapiti
« Reply #9 on: September 26, 2014, 09:46:49 PM »
That looks badass!! Very nice job on that!


  • WKC Performer
  • Posts: 2143
Re: Project Wapiti
« Reply #10 on: September 27, 2014, 03:19:42 AM »


  • WKC Ranger
  • Posts: 748
Re: Project Wapiti
« Reply #11 on: September 27, 2014, 06:00:06 AM »
Nice work Winz!

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  • WKC Performer
  • Posts: 3342
Re: Project Wapiti
« Reply #12 on: September 27, 2014, 06:21:40 AM »
That is beautiful!
A bunch of black kettles


  • WKC Brave
  • Posts: 128
Re: Project Wapiti
« Reply #13 on: September 27, 2014, 07:54:52 AM »
Sweet mod. I am wondering if you could do a door in the side then aside from the issues with cutting stainless. Is this the pot you used? http://www.amazon.com/Concord-Quart-Stainless-Steel-Cookware/dp/B0085ZNXZ6/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1411833141&sr=8-4&keywords=80+quart+pot
First up a nice 3 wheeler red head

Thomas Andrews

  • WKC Brave
  • Posts: 111
Re: Project Wapiti
« Reply #14 on: September 27, 2014, 08:26:46 AM »
This does look incredibly impressive and is testament to the level of skill and vision of Winz - kudos, sir!