Fire Box ( how thick 1/4" or 3/16 " )

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Fire Starter
Original poster
Feb 4, 2011
Need help on how thick i should go. 1/4" thick will be about 300+ lbs 3/16 will be about 100lbs less. will 3/16 warp ? the box size is 30x30x24 . my steel guy is trying to talk me into 3/16. i know 300 + lbs is alot of weight but i think if i brace it to the frame of trailer i should be ok. Need your help on this one. Thanks


Legendary Pitmaster
Staff member
OTBS Member
★ Lifetime Premier ★
Jun 1, 2008
I have the same decision to make. My firebox will be 35x35x35. I have been told that 3/16 will be heavy enough but I am still uncertain.


SMF Hall of Fame Pitmaster
OTBS Member
★ Lifetime Premier ★
Nov 12, 2010
I have built many wood burners for my hunting friends for their tents. I used 10 ga for the box and 3/32 for the cooking surface. Weight is a big issue. The firebox was filled about 3" with dirt. Worked fine. Firebrick or sand works well also. Thermal mass is used to achieve consistent cooking temps. It is a preferance thing. 

Personally I use firebrick in my whole pig cooker. It seems to keep more heat in the firebox. The bottom of the firebox stays cooler.


Meat Mopper
SMF Premier Member
3/16 will not warp,, but as alway 1/4 will hold the heat a little better, I live in florida and our winders are not an issue and I use 3/16".

Good luck on your build and let us see some pictures too.


Master of the Pit
OTBS Member
SMF Premier Member
Sep 24, 2009
Independence Mo
My recommendation would be to buy the thinest 1 1/2" square tube and build a box frame.Skin the inside with 10 ga or roughly 1/8". Insulate the middle. And skin the outside with 16 or 18 ga. Have the sheet metal shop break it in 3 places being the back and both sides. Have um make you a top with a flange so it overlaps the sides. And then just a single sheet for the bottom. 

All in all you should come in at or about the weight of the 3/16" plate. And you will have a firebox you can set your hand on.

I have been doing alot of reading about the stumps clones cookers and it seems this is an awesome way to go. 

I know it sounds like a ton of work but I really think its worth it. My next rig will be built in this mannor. 


Smoking Fanatic
Jun 28, 2010
Lincoln, Ne
If weight is an issue I think Tom37 has your answer. I used 1/4" on the firebox with a 1/2" door but weight didn't matter and I couldn't beat the price. is reader supported and as an Amazon Associate, we may earn commissions from qualifying purchases.