From reading many of the articles / posts on the site, I can see the benefits of thicker steel for the firebox. For that, I'm planning on 3/8 steel for the "exterior" wrapping of the frame. I'm also building a shield around the sides of my removable wood tray, providing a protection to some degree from the exterior walls for the firebox.
The questions above were for the cooking chamber. Many have built smokers from 55-gal oil drums. Those are only 18 ga. If I'm not building this for competition purposes, but for personal use at family / church / school events, I was thinking the 14 ga would be sufficient for maintaining the heat for the oven area. Our Phoenix area temps dont get so cold that the smoker should stay sufficiently warm.
I'm also considering the propane burner(s) to support keeping the entire cabinet at the desired temperature. The firebox should generate plenty of smoke, and I'm hoping that the distribution of the smoke stacks will allow me the opportunity to distribute the smoke across all of the oven. I've read in forums that many add gas support in the firebox, but I'm concerned with the size of this cabinet, it would get distributed evenly enough. I thought that if I put a burner under the floor of the cabinet, below the channel where the heat from the firebox is distributed, it would keep the interior at a constant temperature, and not have the risk of the burner getting choked with no oxygen and pumping the area full of gas.
With Labor Day approaching, I'm hoping to weld the framework for the foundation of the oven, including the frame for the firebox. I'll start to cover the various frames with steel sheeting after the holiday. I'll continue to post pictures.
This build might be a little bigger than most home units, but I'm assuming that all of the principles I've read will work.
Another challenge I've not figured out yet.. how to attach the smoke stacks to the ceiling of the smoker. I'm not that good of a welder... and attaching the pipes to my proposed 14 ga steel sounds like a challenge. Should I build a flange for the stack out of thicker steel as a base, then weld that to the "roof" of the smoker?
Any suggestions are appreciated....
The costs are not that bad for such a big unit:
Steel for the framework: $350.
Shelves / grates: Pending
Exterior steel sheeting: Pending
1800-lb capacity trailer to haul / move smoker $220 (Harbor Freight... $500 on sale.. plus 25% coupon...= $220)