I was about to embark on a 55gal barrel build because a buddy was giving me one. But I just ran across some 1/4" diamond plate. So now I am torn, because I know a barrel will not last as long over time because the metal is not as thick. The barrel will be a cheaper build and I know my 130 amp welder can handle it. I have seen some nice looking barrels, but it does not have the appeal that smooth metal has (not that diamond plate is smooth.) The barrel may be a better first time build, but I am going to spend the time to research and design before I build so it's not like I am planning to knock this out in a few hours.
So here are some questions for the experts:
1. With the metal prices as they are right now, does 1/4" diamond plate 4'x8' priced at $75-100 seem like a deal?
2. Does anyone know of any deals in the KC area for plate or pipe?
3. Do you think 1/4" is too thick for the cooking area? I am thinking 2'x2'x3'
4. Are there any gotchas to diamond plate to where you should not use it for a build?
Lastly, there is a bbq festival in Weston, MO this weekend. Is there anyone from here going? I would love to see someone else's handiwork up close.