Bringing New Life to an Old "Platypus"


 

Jon Tofte

TVWBB Olympian
I know some people don't like them, but the Weber One-Touch Platinum kettle that featured the two crescent-shaped side tables has always been a favorite of mine:
Normal Platypus.jpg
I guess other people didn't see it the way I do, because this was a short-lived version. I believe it was replaced with the one with a fold-down metal table (that always rusts:rolleyes:). I finally snagged one of this type back four or five years ago when I was still in Florida. It wasn't in perfect shape, but I immediately put it into regular service. I especially liked how the two tables gave you a place to set down food on one side and a place for a Thermoworks Smoke on the other.

Platypus Cooking BEFORE.jpeg

You can see that the accumulated use by the prior owner and then me, plus the Florida sun was not a friend to this cool old grill. After a while, I decided this one needed a redo and disassembled it. Sometime later, I had the opportunity to travel to Germany for my organization, and I was able to include a visit to the Weber company store as fun stop while there. I picked up a stainless GBS grate (not available in the US) and managed somehow to get it back home on the airplane.

Weber Store in Germany.jpeg Stainless Steel Grate for Platypus.jpeg

I earmarked this grate for my redo of my platypus (a fun nickname for this model that I believe is creditable to @Rich Dahl).

Well, things changed, and my platypus sat in the box and ultimately was retrieved and moved up to Indiana where it sat again in my overloaded workshop. When weather warmed up this year, I decided now was the time to finally do something. I really missed using this grill, and along the way came up with some ideas. They began when I found a guy on eBay who makes a lot of nice wood handles for custom kettles. Beyond the normal replicas for "regular" kettles, he has branched out to things like the Weber Q, Go Anywhere and, yes, even one for the unique front handle on the Platinum One-Touch. I bought his handle, a top vent extension handle, the rollers and even the handle that attaches to the slider on the lower vent. You can see that these features add something special:

Front Handle.jpeg
Roller.jpeg Vent Tab.jpeg Bottom Vent Handle.jpeg

Well, all these wood additions looked really nice, but they did not at all go with the gray plastic side tables. I also didn't like the gray/silver legs and wire rack. I decided to make the wood pop, going with a mostly black color scheme would be in order. What to do about those side tables was another issue. I explored trying to have someone help me make wood replacements, a skill level well above mine and my paltry collection of wood tools. I ran into dead ends and along the way started thinking about how the original plastic tables had special pins and bolt holes that help hold this grill together, not to mention nice tool hooks on the side.

With fear and trepidation - and an hour or so of watching YouTube videos under my belt:unsure: - I decided to jump into the world of "faux finishing." I bought an inexpensive set of tools to help apply a wood grain look, a couple colors of brown paint, and went for it. I did practice on an old thermoset table piece, but I could have used a lot more practice time. My final product is definitely not a professional outcome, but I am way happier with this look than I would have been with gray, even if I had sanded and refinished the thermoset. In addition to the brown paints, I also coated these tables with lacquer. I know it won't hold up indefinitely, but I am still quite happy with the unique, custom look. I think it looks warmer and richer than the original color scheme:

Diagonal View Open.jpeg

Front View.jpeg



Inside with Manual.jpeg

While I was planning these tables, I also wrestled with the wheel covers. I just couldn't bear them to be dull gray, so here is what I did:

Wheel Close Up.jpeg

My wife said the wood-look wheel was "nice" but said, "Who would have wood wheels on a grill?!!!" Oh well.

This is not a new grill by any means. A good bit of Weber fade and some scratches on the porcelain (almost inevitable with any type of slide like this and some other kettles have)... I wanted it to look nice for this photo show, but I do plan to COOK on this grill again!

Well, do you all like it or think I am crazy?
 

Steve Hoch

TVWBB Wizard
I think it looks great Jon. I bought a kit many years ago to put a faux wood finish on a steel interior garage door and thought it looked pretty good. As usual, fantastic job!
 

BFletcher

TVWBB Gold Member
I like it very, very much. I like it all the more given the tables truly are plastic and judging by the pics you did extremely good work on the wood simulation.

Wood your wife be more accepting of the wheels if you supplied snow booties? :p
 

Bruce

TVWBB 1-Star Olympian
I love the ingenuity. The work is also much better that I would be able to do. It is amazing how real it looks. Glad to see you knocking some projects off of your grill project list.
 

EricV.

TVWBB All-Star
Nicely done! If you ever get tired of the black kettle, I think a yellow or copper color kettle would really pop against those wood finishes.
 

Rich Dahl

TVWBB 1-Star Olympian
Man, if could have done that to my platypus I'd still have it today. That truly looks outstanding, very nice work Jon. Out of all the grills I had and sold the two I missed the most are the platypus and the Jumbo Joe, and I've replaced the Jumbo Joe, The Platypus is the one of the Weber unicorns. In the five or six years since I sold it, I've never seen another one.
 

BobH-SCW

TVWBB Super Fan
Jon, that really looks terrific! I agree with you on the gray, makes me wonder if I could do that to the thermoset tables on the left side of my 2002 A, plus of course the right side? I had a chance few years back to snag one of those here for around 150 brand new but held off sadly. Should send pics to Tom Horseman so he can mod his like that!
 

Joe Anshien

TVWBB Emerald Member
OMG - Wow. That faux wood stuff came out excellent. I looked at the pics and wondered how or where you got those wooden tables! The wheels go great with it. That is now one sweet cooker.
 

Garry Young

New member
Nicely done! If you ever get tired of the black kettle, I think a yellow or copper color kettle would really pop against those wood finishes.
I’ve been pondering the idea when I restore my Platypus of tossing on a 70th anniversary kettle. The Hot Rod Blue or Diner Green.
I’ll probably never get to that extreme.
Your’s is definitely a one of a kind!
 
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Ed P

TVWBB Emerald Member
Love the tables! That whole grill is stunning, 'way too nice to cook on now. You're going to have to find another one now and leave that one in the house. Beautiful workmanship, Jon!
 

 

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