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Egg Base, Tables, and Fire Safety Revisited

WileECoyoteWileECoyote Posts: 516
edited 10:28PM in EggHead Forum
It has been a few years since I purchased my large egg, painted it gold, and built a custom egg table. I absolutely love this egg and it has truly changed my life. We almost never cook anything in our kitchen and our fancy electric range has become nothing but a shelf and extra counter space. We eat better tasting and more healthy food than ever before.

My freshly painted egg in the brand new custom table that I built a few years back:
front.jpg

I originally had some trouble with cracked tiles and burnt table wood under my egg. I conducted weeks of extensive research and testing including scientific analysis with a lab-grade meter and 10 thermocouple sensors wired to every part of the egg and table. I ultimately decided on a new table design which involves placing firebrick and ceramic feet under the egg with the table shelf cut out beneath the firebrick. There have been many posts and a fair amount of debate on this topic but my research and testing led me to the conclusion that my new design was the safest and best setup for my situation. You can view my original table design with lots of photos here (slow to load), read about the paint job here, and read my full research report about the egg base on TNW's site here.

Well I have been using the same egg and table design for almost 2 years now and I just recently removed the egg so I could clean out the table and check everything for any signs of gradual heat or fire damage. I was pleasantly surprised to find that my original research was correct. There are no signs whatsoever of any heat or fire damage. No burns, charring, warping, cracking, discoloration, drying, splintering, melting, or any other signs of trouble. The egg, table, firebrick, ceramic tiles, siding, stained wood, and accessories all look just as new as they did when the table was first built. And this is after I have used the egg at least 3 times a week for 2 years, often cooking with the table doors shut and the egg fully enclosed, and sometimes with egg temps in excess of 800-1,000 degrees F.

So my conclusion is that there may be multiple solutions for what to put under the egg and how to design a safe table but I know for sure that my research was correct and that my design is very safe. My table is more elaborate than most with ceramic top, vinyl siding, electric lights, solar power, BBQ guru system, fully enclosed storage areas, sliding doors, etc. and flammable items such as lump, wood chips, wiring, lights, and plastic containers inside but none of these things have been damaged despite heavy use.

If you are not already using firebrick and ceramic feet under your egg then you should seriously consider doing so. If you have an egg table then also consider removing the wood shelf from beneath the firebrick. If you prefer to use some other design then at least remove your egg and check everything periodically to ensure that you do not have any gradual damage or unsafe conditions which could eventually lead to a fire.

Here are some photos of my table after the egg was recently removed. These were taken before I cleaned the loose dirt, cobwebs, and ashes away. Note how the wood support beams under the firebrick are in perfect condition with no charring or signs of heat. The center wood support beam has a thin strip on the front edge which looks a little dark but this is wood stain that was spilled during table construction and you can see it has remained unchanged from my original table photos. The stained wooden wall panels on the inside of the table which surround the egg are not discolored or warped despite being fairly thin and close to the egg in some places. I hope you find similar results when checking your tables. It only takes a few minutes so do what you need to do to stay safe.

Looking down through the ceramic top:
eggcheck1.jpg

From the front:
eggcheck2.jpg

Left side:
eggcheck3.jpg

Right side:
eggcheck4.jpg

Under the base:
eggcheck5.jpg

Bricks removed from the top:
eggcheck6.jpg

Bricks removed from the front:
eggcheck7.jpg

Under the ceramic top:
eggcheck8.jpg

Center table top support:
eggcheck9.jpg

Comments

  • Can you share the locations of your thermocouples and the temps they recorded for a given dome temperature?
  • 2Fategghead2Fategghead Posts: 9,623
    WileECoyote, Great job! You have a nice setup there. The paint job looks nice to. I think if I would paint an egg I would have a flame job done on it! Thanks for sharing you have clearly thought this whole thing out and gone to extremes to learn about the BGE and a nice table. Tim
  • I see you spaced the dome thermometer. Has that altered the cooking temps that you were used to in any way before the spacer?
  • nice set up .. seems the paint held up real well.. thanks so much for posting this there have been a lot of new eggers and new tables and many have not used the little green feet etc .. maybe G.G will include a link to your safety post in his links for newbies
    bill
  • mjrodney wrote:
    Can you share the locations of your thermocouples and the temps they recorded for a given dome temperature?
    I recorded the temps of each sensor every 5 minutes when heating the egg from 70-600+ and there were 10 sensors so the results are too detailed to post on here. I did post a summary with pics way back when I first did the test but will have to look for it. I still have the results on paper somewhere and will look for it. The bottom of the egg is actually the hottest part and exterior temps can reach higher than 400 degrees F.
  • 2Fategghead wrote:
    WileECoyote, Great job! You have a nice setup there. The paint job looks nice to. I think if I would paint an egg I would have a flame job done on it! Thanks for sharing you have clearly thought this whole thing out and gone to extremes to learn about the BGE and a nice table. Tim
    Thanks for the comments. I went with the gold paint because it would match my table the best, and because that color was readily available in the high-temp paint at the local auto store. Cost less than $10 and it is still looking great.
  • thegrillster wrote:
    I see you spaced the dome thermometer. Has that altered the cooking temps that you were used to in any way before the spacer?
    I did add wood spacers to the dome thermometer but it is a TelTru model which has a longer stem so this didn't make a big difference internally. Temps read about the same as the BGE thermometer with and without the spacers. The main reason I did it was to prevent the excess heat from reaching the back of the gauge and wearing out the thermometer prematurely. This also helps to prevent moisture from entering the gauge. For my actual cooking temps I now use the BBQ guru system which measures temps at the grate where the food is cooked so I never even look at the dome gauge anymore.
  • WileECoyote,
    You truly a Gold Egger! (sorry, that was dumb, wasn't it...) But you ARE! (a gold egger, that is, not dumb...) sheeeesh.

    I was going to ask you just now how you prepped the egg for paint, but just remembered you had a link to it...so I'll go look at it! :blush:
  •  
    Thanks for the update, great post.

    GG
  • As luck would have it, I came across a deal on a medium egg today and will now be painting it in a similar manner. What an odd coincidence that I got a new egg on the same day that I posted this thread, after a long spell of being away from the forum. A very pleasant surprise though so I am not complaining. And here I never would have guessed that I would ever own more than one egg, but now I have three with my eye out for a deal on a small to complete the family... :)
  •  
    Congratulations on the find. Yup, the only thing better than an egg is another egg.

    GG
  • 2Fategghead2Fategghead Posts: 9,623
    WileECoyote, Did you buy a used medium? If you did my if be so bold as to ask how much and what did you get? I'm only asking this because I want to know what a deal is when I see one just in case I have the money to jump on one. If that makes sense. Tim
  • Woody69Woody69 Posts: 360
    WileECoyote wrote:
    As luck would have it, I came across a deal on a medium egg today :)

    Was it on Craigslist in Murfreesboro ?
  • Hi Woody - hope all is well with you. Yes, it was on craigslist in Murfreesboro but it was actually located in Beechgrove.

    Tim: I have purchased several used eggs over the years. Some for me and some for family / friends. Here are some of the deals that we got:

    Large egg, nest, plate setter, non-spring band, needed a dome thermometer but otherwise in good condition: $325

    Large egg, non-spring band, good condition: $225

    Medium egg, nest, plate setter, needs a replacement spring but otherwise in great condition: $330

    Mini egg, metal stand, cedar table, good condition: $125

    We got a few other deals as well but I don't remember them all. I am always helping people find deals if they can't afford new eggs or if they don't have a local dealer. My personal guideline when buying used eggs is to pay no more than half the best available retail price, otherwise I would prefer to spend the extra and buy new. If the egg is missing any parts or needs a lot of cleaning or repair then I deduct the cost of the fix-up from what I am willing to pay. Distance is also a factor as I have passed up some great deals which were just too far to be worth it for me. For example, I helped a guy in California land a small egg for $90, and a guy in Alabama get a large egg for $200. You can use this link to search all of the Craigslist sites at once for anything BGE related.

    Also, some advice when buying used:

    - Ask for lots of photos or inspect it in person before finalizing the deal. Some eggs can be very old and replacement parts for those can be harder to get. Cracks and chips can often be hidden under soot or grease, and small missing parts may not be noticed until you get it home.

    - Look at the condition of the gasket for an idea of how much the egg has been used. Most people don't replace the gaskets so they can tell you whether it has been a workhorse or a dust collector.

    - If it has a non-spring band or is missing the stainless draft door then it is an older model, except for the mini which does not use a spring band.

    - If it is missing accessories like the ceramic cap, daisy wheel, temp gauge, etc. then check on the cost of replacement parts before buying it.

    If you search the ads often, 2-3 times a week or more, then you will eventually find some great deals but you have to jump fast as they sell quickly. Also be prepared to invest some elbow grease in the cleanup, and remember that you don't get a lifetime warranty when buying used so handle with care.
  • 2Fategghead2Fategghead Posts: 9,623
    WileECoyote, I offered Paul $300. and sent him my number. I am watching for a large and that is contingent on my money situation. Which is unemployment checks. I would love to negotiate a $300. large.

    You must not live to far from me. I live in Lafayette,Tn. Tim
  • 2Fategghead wrote:
    WileECoyote, I offered Paul $300. and sent him my number. I am watching for a large and that is contingent on my money situation. Which is unemployment checks. I would love to negotiate a $300. large.

    You must not live to far from me. I live in Lafayette,Tn. Tim
    I started at $275 but he said he was getting lots of emails / offers and he wanted to wait for more, which I don't blame him. Eggs do sell fast. After numerous emails and calls he finally agreed to $330 which was the very top end for me but after seeing the egg I think it was a fair deal. It is in great condition. I might not keep it. I have to decide if it will be small enough for those quick single cooks or if I should sell it and get a small, which is what I originally wanted anyway. I use the large when cooking for 2 or more and I now have a mini for traveling and camping, but I wanted something to use at home when cooking for just 1 person. The mini is too small to cook several dishes at once and the large uses more lump than necessary for small cooks so I will try out this medium and either keep it or sell it and get the small.

    I always give my used eggs a major overhaul: disassembling to the smallest parts, cleaning down to the bare ceramic, filling in any chips or cracks, painting the exterior if I plan to keep them, replacing / upgrading any worn or missing parts, adding a nomex seal, re-sealing the draft door with a better high-temp liquid copper gasket, and re-aligning the dome and base bands for a perfect seal. Then I do a high temp burn to clean off the grate and daisy wheel, and finish by treating the daisy wheel with lard like you do with a cast iron pan. They usually come out better than new and they hold up much better over time. I just have to decide if the medium is worth the effort or if I should sell it and wait for a small. Or keep it and end up with 4 eggs once I find a deal on a small. :blink:
  • How hot does the underside of the fire bricks get? Do you have to be careful with the types of items that you put in the space underneath the fire bricks?
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