FIGURE 3: Internal and external dimensions
You can achieve a good drawing in two ways:
1. The first method consists in pegging out the 4 corners of the section so as to form a one metre square.
Having done so, you should make sure that the figure you have is really a square. To that effect, you can compare the diagonal lines of the square using a thread. The two lines should have the same length.
Use a thread to mark out the perimeter of the first section of the smoker; next to the first section, measure and mark out the second section following the same procedure.
Thus, you obtain two adjacent sections of one metre each.
With the help of a 16 cm piece of wood, mark the thickness of the wall inside the perimeter. Note that the median wall, also 16 cm thick, belongs to the two sections.
You can ask the joiner to make a model whose inner and outer dimensions are those of the smoker.
The model is laid on the ground and with the help of a piece of wood you can trace the inner and outer perimeter of the smoker.
This method enables a fast drawing but it is more costly since the model has to be made by a joiner.
How to erect the walls?
To start with, dig a foundation following the drawing. It should be about 6 to 8 cm deep.
The foundation should be watered for the clay to be able to stick up.
Erect the wall by placing the balls one by one. On the first day, the weight of the wall should not exceed 30 cm. To conclude this first phase, make sure that the angles are right, the thickness is the same all over and the top is evened up.
Day two and three:
Leave the walls to dry.
First check whether the clay is consistent enough and if necessary add water to knead again.
Wet the top surface of the wall before putting new layers of clay. Now you must reach a maximum height of 60 cm.
Are the angles still right? Is the initial thickness preserved? Is the top properly levelled up? These are things you have got to check and a model can help if you have prepared one.
Day five and six:
Leave the walls to dry another two days.
Your smoker will be completed this day. To begin with, create the fire inlets. These openings should be located on the smokerís side which is against the prevailing winds.
How to make a hole in the smoker:
The opening shall have a width of 35 cm at the bottom and 35 cm as the height. Draw its shape on the wall following a model (see figure 4). It must be adequately centred in the middle of each section of the smoker.
FIGURE 4: Openings for insertion and withdrawal of the firewood
In order to enable easy opening, humidify the area concerned and cut with a machete.
The fire bed:
This is used to increase the distance between the fire and the first tray of fish. In each compartment, dig a semi-oval hole from the mouth of the opening in the following dimensions: length 30 cm, width side 35 cm and depth 5 to 10 cm.
It is necessary to level up the top of the wall for adequate laying of the first tray. This will considerably reduce heat lost through the openings.
Day eight and nine:
Leave the whole to dry another one or two days depending on the season, before use.
2.3. Constructing smoking trays
As a general rule, trays are made by joiner, therefore we shall limit ourselves to a few principles relating to their construction.
The tray is a wood frame with handles on which the wire-netting is fixed. The traysí dimensions should correspond to those of the smoker for the frame to fit well on top of the walls. Thus the frame is protected against the risks of burning.
To construct the tray, you will need a dry piece of wood to limit, to the maximum, strains due to heat. Also refrain from using a piece of wood which is too heavy.
FIGURE 5: The smoking tray
The figure above shows a tray with its dimensions (figure 5).
For a frame, you need strips of wood with the following dimensions:
||102 cm (including the handles)
||5 to 7 cm (select height according to the size of the species to be smoked)
||5 to 7 cm
The four right angles should be exact.
To be able to smoke smaller and bigger species of fish, the meshes of the wire-netting should not have a diameter of more than 1 to 2 cm (chicken wire). If the processing women often smoke bigger species of fish, they can also choose a wire-netting with larger meshes; it has a longer life.
The pieces of wire-netting have the same dimensions as the frame (82 x 82 cm). They are fastened to the wood with tacks of 4 to 6 cm.
Small wide struts of 2 cm are used to cover joints. After fixing them the sharp edges of the wire-netting must be folded over the frame.
You can fix a metal strip on the joint-covers if you so desire. It provides the wood with greater protection against fire. This will surely increase the price of the tray but it has the advantage of lasting longer.
FIGURE 6: The trays should fit over each other