Steel Gauge Inquiry

Discussion in 'Wood Smokers' started by daveinchicago, Apr 1, 2014.

  1. daveinchicago

    daveinchicago Newbie

    Quick question on steel gauge.  I am looking to upgrade to a new horizontal drum smoker + box.  Problem is I can't afford to buy a Lang or something to that affect, also can't afford $500 in shipping!  Found a local guy who makes them on the side--good price for custom work, as it's not his primary job--he does it for fun.  Issue is that I asked on thickness and he only uses 14 gauge steel (1/16").  Gut says this is too thin to maintain heat as I know Lang's are 1/4 inch, however I have friends who have the same gauge and they feel it does OK.  Is this something that would work well to start, but fade over time? I'm not a metallurgist so this is a little new to me. 

    OR--if anyone knows of some great fabricators in the Illinois, Wisconsin, Michigan, Indiana area, I would love to speak with them as I'm in the market.

    Any guidance or help would be great.  Thanks!
  2. wood river bbq

    wood river bbq Smoke Blower

    I have a Lang 36 but I started with a Char Grill Smoking Pro, which I highly modified -- for what I had in it I should have put it toward the purchase of my Lang -- I was able to sell it for $250 so I got some of my money back. The reason the professional smokers use thicker steel is that it holds the heat better and allows you to maintain a more steady cook temperature. Like your friends, you can produce a decent OK cooked product on anything regardless of how thin it is but the cook process gets easier the thicker you go. That's just my opinion, for what it's worth.

    What's it going to cost you to have a unit fabricated? I know the shipping cost (mine was $450 from Ga to Tucson) of any pro type smoker is a killer but I just sucked it up because you can't buy these units at your local hardware store. 
  3. alblancher

    alblancher Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    Wood River kind of nailed it.

    I don't think 1/4" steel is a deal breaker.  The heavier steel will make it a better, easier cooker because it will hold the heat and moderate temps better.  The heavier steel will also make the smoker last longer.  If the builder knows what he is doing it is a good option.

    Just remember a good wood burning smoker will last a lifetime.
  4. daveinchicago

    daveinchicago Newbie

    He is looking for $600 and I wouldn't have to pay shipping as I can drive to Wisconsin from Chicago to pick this up so the price is right compared to what I might pay for something similar.  I included the pic below of it 75% completed so you can get an idea of that.  I feel I'm pretty good, but I am not a professional so I don't kid myself into thinking I need a $2000 unit.  I have used a Great Smokey Mountain from about 2009-2012 and always produced great results which a wal-mart product so I know you don't need a Mercedes of smokers to make good food. 


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