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Old 02-22-2013, 10:46 PM   #1
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Default Cutting the jacket off of a steam kettle?

How much trouble do you think cutting the jacket off of a steam kettle would be? Anyone? Thinking about trading for one and would like to use it as a direct fire kettle. And please don't reccommend flipping it to buy something else because I've already considered that option. Any other input would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.


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Old 02-22-2013, 11:02 PM   #2
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Just a layman's view here. I'm not a boiler maker.
Sounds fairly simple. You only have to cut around, below the weld, say 1-2 inches below? Then clean up the cut once the jacket is off.

Pay special attention to the area around the exit spout(s). This could be a potential weakness as that spout may depend on support from both the kettle and the jacket.

I would be careful and not cut too deep though, just cut the jacket metal. You may end up with 2 kettles that way. The jacket kettle being the shallow one.

There maybe (welded) baffles or supports between the jacket and kettle though. Maybe there are blueprints of these kettles floating around?


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Old 02-22-2013, 11:24 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IslandLizard View Post
There maybe (welded) baffles or supports between the jacket and kettle though. Maybe there are blueprints of these kettles floating around?
I was wondering that myself. If nothing else, there may be a baffle/partition to allow for efficient flow of steam without short circuiting. Anyway, thanks for the reply.
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Old 02-22-2013, 11:35 PM   #4
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What if you cut the current inside out? You could end up with two kettles or a kettle with a domed lid.
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Old 02-22-2013, 11:57 PM   #5
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What if you cut the current inside out? You could end up with two kettles or a kettle with a domed lid.
I think that would be a bad idea. For one thing, the kettle is likely heavier gauge, which I would prefer to keep intact. Secondly, who knows what the inside of that jacket looks like, plus I would have to seal off one of the steam ports (in that hypothetical situation it would make sense to leave one of the ports for use as a kettle drain). I'd want to cut it from the outside for sure.
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Old 02-22-2013, 11:58 PM   #6
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If it has a bottom drain I'd be worried about the heat damaging the plunger in a direct fired application as you describe.

As far as cutting it off, I'm sure you could. Unless the unit is completely DOA though, it seems like a waste of a good unit. Out of curiosity how big is the kettle, and what brand?
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Old 02-23-2013, 12:05 AM   #7
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Fair enough, though I image the steel is the same throughout. Cutting a spot for the burner to heat on the bottom and then some vent holes around the top sounds like it should be feasible.
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Old 02-23-2013, 12:13 AM   #8
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Quote:
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Fair enough, though I image the steel is the same throughout. Cutting a spot for the burner to heat on the bottom and then some vent holes around the top sounds like it should be feasible.
That's not a bad plan actually. Like a big keggle kind of. There is a bottom drain though, as it turns out, so I'd have to seal that up and punch a new hole for a drain. Sounds kind of sketchy I think?

BigRob. Yeah, it would be a waste of a good unit, unless I could use it, in which case I'd never get rid of it. It's a Groen 60 gallon. Used, late '80's probably. No steam source.
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Old 02-23-2013, 12:23 AM   #9
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Using an adjustable burner and aiming the heat where you want it should get around overheating the bottom drain. So you could leave the drain in place.
Modifying something like this.


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Edit: not familiar with the burner so I don't know if it will heat 60 gal.
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Old 02-23-2013, 12:33 AM   #10
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Shouldn't be much baffles on the inside, cutting it will be a pain in the ass, and the drain valve is still going to have an issue if you aren't careful direct firing it. The plunger that actually seals is plastic, and it has to be replaced with regular operation, as it warps/distorts and ceases to seal properly. If you could find a way to mount a ball valve (big ass ball valve too) that might solve your issue.

The whole setup could be kind of slick if you set it up as a RIMS or HERMS mash tun. Then you have a built in hydraulic tilt feature that gives a lot of control over how fast you dump the spent grains.


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