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Agreed, I have a short and a tall one, both with guards and from Dadant. The taller one is indeed worth it, with the small one I had to renew the fuel during the inspections. But how do the Dadant ones compare to the Mann Lake or the ones from other suppliers?
 

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Which smokers have you tried, and what were your impressions? I've only tried the dadant ones, and thus have nothing to compare to, and would like some input from others with more experience.
You got it right the first time. The only decision is 7" or 10". I prefer the 7" for being lighter and easier to handle. A well lit charge of pellets in a 7" smoker will give you more smoke than most people will use in a day. Just put a dab of "lock tite" on the threads of the bellows' studs to keep the nuts from coming off after a few weeks of use, the lock washers just don't do the job.
 

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Are you saying that Dadant makes the best smokers?
That's my opinion though, in fairness, I haven't tried Kelly's. I have bought some Mann Lake smokers and, in my opinion, Dadant smokers are far superior.
 

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30 years ago, Woodman was the best, no questions asked. I believe they where purchased by Dadant, so Mr. Lyon is right.

Crazy Roland
 

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Dadant's catalog page with smokers has the following:
These smokers are of the original Bingham design that is of time proven quality. Dadant's have been manufacturing these smokers since they acquired the A.G. Woodman company in the 1970s, and are proud to produce the smoker that everyone tries to duplicate.

http://www.bluetoad.com/publication/?i=61394&p=21
 

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Yeah, I've been using a Dadant 7" smoker for years. If I pack it right using a combination of burlap and wood shavings it will smolder for a couple of hours. The last thing I need is a bigger smoker.
 

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All the stainless steel smokers of the well known brands are OK, but the one frustrating thing of a smoker is getting it started and keeping it going, especially if you are by your self in the apiary. I have overcome that by drilling a small hole in the main body of the smoker just above the fire grate. Fashion a small flap out of a thin piece of aluminium, such the type on the top of a coffee can, to open and close the hole fixed with a small self tapping screw. Using a small gas blow torch you can now light the material from the bottom of the smoker and if it goes out, open the flap and reignite.
 

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As of a couple years ago the Dadant smoker was very much American made. If that has changed I have not noticed any lessening in quality. Frankly, though, I care more about how they are made than where they are made. I probably spend close to 1,000 hours a year with a smoker in my hand going back to the day of the Woodman smoker that Roland speaks of and I have dealt with the frustration of poor quality bee smokers and it's the bellows as much as the firebox which will usually last the lifetime of at least one bellows replacement. As someone who uses and abuses them on a daily basis I sure appreciate the difference.
 

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All the stainless steel smokers of the well known brands are OK, but the one frustrating thing of a smoker is getting it started and keeping it going
i know this is true of lots of folks including some pretty experienced beekeepers and even myself on occasion. Time spent first thing in the morning getting a smoker properly lit is the best time investment of the day. Remember you are building a fire....a really hot fire preferably from a wood based product like pellets. If you haven't singed the hair on your wrists a time or two doing it then you aren't doing it right. Little smoke should be seen in the lighting process. Once you have established that "sub base" as we jokingly and redundantly refer to it, then you can get by with lots of different fuels on top, though I really don't understand why anyone would use anything besides pellets with a damp grass topper to keep them contained.
 

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I would dare say that most people don't know how to build a fire. It isn't a skill that most people need in the modern world. That's what lighting a smoker is, building a fire, a smoldering fire.

And most people on beesource probably don't need a smoker for more than the time that it takes to work a small number of hives. So they don't get the practice that Jim and I do. I prefer baling twine for fuel, but, unless you live where people bale square bales w/ twine, not plastic twine either, it may be hard to find. And for some reason, used twine seems to work better as a smoker fuel than new baling twine does. I was given a partial roll of unused baling twine one time and had trouble w/ it. I went back to the used stuff.
 

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Mark, Same here on the used baling twine. Don't know what it is, but the new stuff don't compare.

Jim, Your right about taking the time first thing. Kind of sets the way the day is going to go. Smoker is a very important tool if it's smoking. Barry, Where's that icon with the guy running thought the woods. This will work.:pk:
 

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Put a can in it or buy one with a can that goes with it. I saw MB web site had a tin can he added to his smoker. I started that and my smoker never goes out anymore.
 
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