Heavy Handles

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Heavy Handles

Post  Uncle Jack on Thu Dec 06, 2007 10:38 pm

Always one to overbuild what ever I touch, I was not completely satisfied with the mounting hardware that came with the handles of my Frontier.

So, even after upgrading the size of the hardware that came with the handles to full 1/4 inch diameter, I noticed quite a bit of flex when picking up a stack full of ribs and a full water pan to set it on the coals. I was afraid that the handles would torque so much that it may cause a dent in the side of my cooker.


A trip to my 2nd favorite place (the hardware store) produced 5 new metal handles at a cost of around $2.50 each,

Mounting hardware consisted of 20 each 5/16" diameter, 20 thread count, 1 1/4" long screw head bolts, nuts and washers.

Using my ever keen retired police trained mind, I surmised right away that a metal handle against my metal cooker + heat would probably generate a king sized blister on my tender little mitts unless I provided some type of buffer . . . Soooooooooo . . . On to the shop.

I ripped a couple of nice tight grained 12" long pieces of doug fir so that they were 1" X 1" X 12". Then cut the strips into 10 blocks that were 1 1/2" long.

Next, using one of the new handles as a template, I marked each block (cross grain) in conjunction with the mounting holes in the handles. I then drilled the 2 holes in each with the aid of a drill press

The metal handles themselves had to be bent to match the contour of my cooker. This is an easy task as the metal mounting base, although strong, is pliable. I used padded jaw covers on my vise, tightened the handle, and gently bent the handles until they matched the sides of my cooker.

In preparation for mounting the new handles I used one of the old, pre drilled handle holes in the side of the cooker, and drilled it out to accept the 5/16" screw/bolt. Placed one of the new screws into the handle, through one of the spacer blocks, and into the cooker; hand tightened a nut and placed a spacer block under the other side of the handle. Using a clamp with soft pads I held the handle in the position that is level and drilled out the other 3 mounting holes with a hand drill; and affixed all screws, washers & nuts.

The mounting holes in the new handles are further apart than the old ones leaving the second original mounting hole vacant and visible. I used one of the original screws to fill the 2nd hole. Please also notice what my ol' anal retentive buddy Bennett did, that the handles are no longer squared up on the stacker latches. Let me point out at this juncture that you have to make sure that you use the same offset on the opposite side of the cooker if you want your handles to still evenly distribute the weight. I guess you could position the handles square, drill 4 new holes instead of 3, and fill both of the original mounting holes; OK Bennett??

Add a little black paint to the spacer blocks just for esthetics and to help seal the wood grain . . .

and she's once again ready to cook.

Sweet smoke to all, U.J.

Uncle Jack
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