Sorry I didn't reply. I've been beyond busy at work. As posted above, I would bend it. The beauty is that this smoker is just a piece of steel. And you might be better served by starting a new thread, just in case people read part of this thread that gets bumped, decide the subject matter isn't for them, and then don't even get to your post.
Glad to hear you dumped the thermometers. They respond terribly slow, and since you are going to be running digitals anyway, they are pointless IMHO. I don't even look at mine anymore.
Again, sorry I couldn't respond sooner. Good luck!