Hello Terry. I do tend to over-build things. You might get by with 3?16" or you can even use 1/8" plate and then seal the leaks caused from warping.
I do also. I looked up the metal thickness on high-end production smokers and you are correct in that even the cooking chambers are often 1/4" thick.
You haven't told us so I don't know your metal working skills.
Somewhere between pre-beginner and beginner. I aspire to be a beginner. I have made about a dozen or two small welds on odds and ends things and I think one of them actually looked okay. My welding skills are somewhere between nil and whatever is less than that.
I hope I didn't offend you; I didn't mean to. I am also sorry for writing a novel. I just wanted to explain my thought process.
No offense taken at all. I really appreciate the information you are sharing. Novel on!
What are those cast iron doors on?
No idea. I found it for sale on ebay - starting bid was $1,000 - a bit out of my league for a set of doors.
I assume you realise that each door is REALLY heavy and the molten iron has been poured into a mold forming one single piece.
Being a piano rebuilder, I am actually quite familiar with the characteristics of cast iron (most pianos have a plate of cast iron weighing somewhere around 300 to 600 lbs. or so!
It's not so much of the door warping ON the cook chamber as warping during the building process. I do feel your pain using a small tig welder. You also didn't explain your build process, do you plan to just tack the joints and then seal the seams with high temp silicone or do you plan on a seal weld?
Hadn't really planned ahead that far. I know so little about welding that I didn't even think to think about that!
You raise a good point about my offset smoker and smokers in general. Smokers are usually made from thin gauge steel but the plate for smokers and such things are cut on a shear. Then the plates are rolled or bent on a press brake keeping to welding to a minimum. The designs also sometimes take warping into consideration. The welding is also usually done in a jig to help reduce warping. Welding techniques are also used; weld so far left to right, start the other end right to left. Start in the center, weld 6", weld 6" on the left then 6" on the right in opposite directions. When fitting pieces you purposely tack the pieces out of square or out of level and allow the heat from the tacks to "draw" the steel to square or level. We all know how well smokers are built, that's why folks sell so much high temp silicone and stove rope. BTW, the offset in my AV leaks smoke like a sieve and NOTHING fits as it should.
Oh man. Alright, forget about me doing ANY welding!!! How about if I just get a piece of 1-inch thick plate cut for the doors and keep it simple?!?!?!?!?
Seriously thought - what about 1/4" thick and no welding except for hinges and the sort?
If you have access to some of this equipment and/or the metal working skills then you might be ok with the 1/8".
Of course, I guess I could always just go to a welder with a drawing and specs and have someone weld something up for me. But what about just a plain 1/4" plate steel set of doors? Wouldn't that be a lot more simple? About the only thing to weld to it would be the hinges, the latch and a piece of bar welded to one of the doors for the seal between the two doors (down the center - top to bottom)???
I'll need it - thanks! I just want to smoke some meat in my smoker. The only reason I am doing any of this is that the wooden top and "door" I made for my smoker was just temporary until I figured out what I really wanted to do - but that was 15 years ago and they are absolutely falling apart. Maybe that is my solution - if a temporary el-cheepo wooden top and door lasted 15 years, maybe I should just make a good top and doors out of wood - heck, those should last maybe 25 years or more! After all, I'm a woodworker - maybe I should just stick to what I do best. Hmmmmmm. I'm going to give that some very serious thought. You've scared the begeezus out of me with your welding info. I honestly didn't know any of that - welding sequences and all that and distortion from welding. Wood sounds better to me all the time.......
Keep us posted.
Will do. I'll post pictures. My only question now is whether I should varnish the outside of the new top and doors!
As you might be able to tell from my description of my welding talents (or lack thereof) and the pictures of some of my piano work below, I am much more skilled working with wood than welding steel!!!