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1/4" vs. 3/8" vs. 1/2" for a stick burner?

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 

I'm looking at having a smoker built and I'm trying to decide on steel thickness for temperature stability in bad weather.  Is a 1/2" body overkill or a fuel hog?  How do 1/4" and 3/8" compare in terms of performance, fuel consumption and, temperature stability?

 

For the firebox, is an insulated model better than a 1/2" firebox?

 

Thanks,

Sid

post #2 of 13

Woo 1/2 would be real real heavy. I have one made out of 1/4 and it is just right. I'm in Florida so i don't have any bad weather but i couldn't imagine needing more. Also, most 250 gallon tanks(which are real popular in the smoker world) are only 1/4 to 3/8. I have never seen one 1/2" I'm not saying they don't exist i've just never seen one. I'm actually goin to make my net one out of 3/16.

 

Jack

post #3 of 13
Thread Starter 

Yes, the extra weight would add to trailering expense.  However, have you tried to smoke in a steady 40MPH wind or when it is well below freezing?  Thanksgiving and Christmas get togethers often involve a lot of snow and wind.  It would be nice to be able  to smoke for the holiday's.

post #4 of 13

Nope sorry,  I wouldn't know how to act in any of those conditions. I still think that 1/4 and 3/8 sealed properly would be just as good as heavy 1/2". Both those sizes hold heat very well.

post #5 of 13
That thick of steel can work against you just as much as it would work for you.

Try to heat up a cooker in cold weather made of 1/2 inch plate could take forever. I'd say better going with 1/4", a happy medium between both extremes. Go with a heavy insulated , oversized firebox, something you can really put the fuel to! Keep the cook chamber to a realistic size for what your needs are and then protect the smoker from the wind . Two Christmas's ago, it was in the teens with 30 mph winds, all I did was zip tie two welding curtains to block the wind and did just fine.
post #6 of 13
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ribwizzard View Post

That thick of steel can work against you just as much as it would work for you.

Try to heat up a cooker in cold weather made of 1/2 inch plate could take forever. I'd say better going with 1/4", a happy medium between both extremes. Go with a heavy insulated , oversized firebox, something you can really put the fuel to! Keep the cook chamber to a realistic size for what your needs are and then protect the smoker from the wind . Two Christmas's ago, it was in the teens with 30 mph winds, all I did was zip tie two welding curtains to block the wind and did just fine.

 

THANKS!!!!

 

  Your experienced post really helps!

post #7 of 13

Ditto on what Rib said, The only way steel that thick on the smoke chamber would work in your favor is if you were running the thing almost 24/7  where the steel would be great for thermal mass once heated, however a 1/2 firebox would be nice.

post #8 of 13
Where you been Sqwib? Haven't seen any posts lately?
post #9 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ribwizzard View Post

Where you been Sqwib? Haven't seen any posts lately?


I've been around, haven't you seen any of my threads?

post #10 of 13

I have used my 1/4 thick tank like others have said in sub zero temps with winds blowing 20 constant and gusting to 40 makes for a cold day but the cooker held temps really well. I did just try to block as much wind as I could, after that I cooked at 250° for around 10 hours doing pulled pork.   I do wish I would have made an insulated firebox to get some more efficiency. One of these days I may still take the time to do so.

post #11 of 13
I I think I would go 1/2 on the fire box and 1/4 on the rest. I think I would also go reverse flow, that would help stabilize the temperature in cold weather
post #12 of 13
Thread Starter 

Thanks everyone!

 

I'm pretty much settled on a 3/8ths body and insulated firebox.

post #13 of 13
Good choices.
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