Big Green Egg Makeover

My Big Green Egg was looking a little sad – we had bought a custom-built table a couple of years ago to give us more room. Unfortunately, the weather had given it quite a beating. So when my felt gaskets finally failed me, I decided it was worth it to pull her out of commission for a couple of weekends and both refinish the table and install new Nomex gaskets.

Thanks to the excellent advice I got on the Big Green Egg Forum and the videos from Fred’s Music & BBQ Supply the removal and installation went surprisingly well.

To get the Egg out of the table I needed to lighten it up. I removed the firebox and spacer ring and cleaned the Egg out. I removed the dome by zip-tying the metal bands together and loosening the top bolt just until I could lift the dome straight off.

I recruited a friend and used a gadget called (appropriately enough) a Potlifter to lift the Egg out of the table. It just clips around the sides and the harder you lift the tighter it grips.

The table after removing the Egg. As you can see the wood is in pretty rough shape and a lot of the boards had started cupping.

Once the Egg was off the table I loosened the lower band bolt and removed the entire band/hinge assembly.

To remove the old gasket, I put an old moving pad on the Egg base and set the inverted dome into the base so I had a firm way to work on the gasket surface.

Inverted dome ready for cleaning.

Here’s the before picture of the top gasket. I didn’t have any areas that had pulled away, but a couple of places and burned down enough that I wasn’t getting a good seal anymore and I wasn’t able to hold low temperatures over long cooks.

Burned up felt.

After a little trial and error, I got cleaning the rims down to a 3 step process – use an old paint scraper to get the lose bits what was left of the old gasket off; use acetone and a couple of replacement scrubbers from my Grill Wizard BBQ Brush to remove the stuck-on gasket and most of the old glue; and finally,  going over the edges with a MAPP torch and a scraper to get every last bit of glue off.

The cleaned bottom rim right before I made a final pass with a wet rag to wipe all of the dust and little bits of gasket up. I was surprised how much gunk the water worked loose.

Once the edges were clean and dry, I cut the new Nomex gasket in half and rolled the two pieces out flat on an old piece of cardboard. I sprayed a good amount of 3M Super 77 spray adhesive into a plastic cup and used a cheap foam brush to paint the adhesive on the rim of the dome. I sprayed one side of one of the gasket pieces pretty heavily and let it sit about 2 minutes until tacky.

Working slowly, I bent the gasket around the rim, trying to keep it toward the outside edge. I pressed it down firmly and tried hard not to stretch the gasket. At the end I cut the end of the gasket off with a scissors leaving it just maybe an 1/8 of an inch long to account for shrinkage. I then went around the gasket again, pressing in into the rim and making sure everything was sticking.

I repeated the same steps for the bottom gasket and then seated the dome back on top without the spring band and let the whole thing sit to cure overnight. The next day I reattached the bands and the dome. I put the firebox back in and built a small fire that I let get to 300°F and held it there for 2 hours. I shut the Egg down and let it cool off and sit undisturbed overnight.

For the table, I added a 2×2 stringer under the top and screwed the boards into it to try and reduce the cupping. I sanded down the table to level out the boards and clean up all of the old finish. I gave it one coat of Cabot’s oil stain and 2 coats of their spar varnish.

This time, recruiting my wife and using the Potlifter again, we moved the base back into the table and put everything back together. I used a rubber mallet to help me align the bands and then cranked on the bolts to make sure they were tight.

The not-so-new gasket - 3 weeks after installation.

Here’s the gasket after 3 weeks worth of Egging, including one nuclear temperature steak cook. It seems to be holding up pretty well.

The finished project.

The finished project. As a nice bonus, my Dad made me a great set of drawers to go with the table. Now I have a place to put all of my grill tools.

8 thoughts on “Big Green Egg Makeover

  1. Kim Youngblood

    Great visual report & job on the BGE and table. The Egg & table will be happy together for years…

  2. Don Ford

    Get description and pics of repairs. Those drwaers look great and I have the same table which I will now add to.

  3. Chris

    OMG Thank you thank you thank you!

    I’m going to be replacing my gasket soon! Did you toss the nomex in the dryer first?

    1. admin Post author

      You are most welcome. No, I didn’t dry it. So far no shrinkage, but we’ll have to wait and see. I didn’t end up with a whole lot of leftover gasket – maybe 5 inches total. So I don’t think I stretched it too much in putting it on.

  4. John

    Hi

    Great job on the table and gasket! I’ll be replacing my gasket shortly. One thing I noticed with your table and others that I’m not sure if you know is that the two pieces of wood on the outside top of the table were meant to be removed after assembly. They are there to protect the round sides during shipping. Just thought I’d mention it as the table looks much better without them.

    1. admin Post author

      Thanks! Funny thing is, I knew the boards were part of the shipping, but liked them so much I actually screwed them into the table tighter to give me a place to attach hooks for hanging my tools. Good luck with your gaskets.

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