Help me decide...

Smoker Clones are your own version of a commercially available Smoker. Examples are Stumps, Jambo, Backwoods, or any other you want to try to copy.
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Re: Help me decide...

Post by Frank_Cox » August 14th, 2015, 7:05 am

If you are having them do bending and cutting for you of course they're going to cost more.


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Re: Help me decide...

Post by CaliforniaSmoke » August 14th, 2015, 1:28 pm

Frank_Cox wrote:If you are having them do bending and cutting for you of course they're going to cost more.
Over 1/3 of that was the 16 gauge CR sheet (about $340 I think). The only cutting was to shear them in half so it was easier to handle. HR sheet would be cheaper, maybe by almost 1/3.

I'll shop it around, but I've always bought my steel from this place. Their stock is always clean, the few time I've bought elsewhere I got rusty, grungy stuff that I had to clean up.


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Re: Help me decide...

Post by Rodcrafter » August 14th, 2015, 6:48 pm

I bought a 5x10 sheet of 1/4" yesterday for $380.00


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Re: Help me decide...

Post by CaliforniaSmoke » August 14th, 2015, 7:13 pm

I sent the same list to three other steel suppliers in my area. One came back already at $761 plus tax. Still too high in my opinion. I priced as close to the same list as I could at onlinemetals.com and it came in at $830 plus shipping (I didn't price that because I am not seriously considering buying it there, just wanted a sanity check).

If I could find the steel cheaper this would be a fun project. It's a little frustrating, I remember buying a truckload of steel and being surprised how inexpensive it was.


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Re: Help me decide...

Post by Puff » August 14th, 2015, 9:51 pm

I'd almost swear by these numbers that the girl behind the counter has a big crush on me and gives me made up numbers ...

How did I pay $170.00 for the stuff I bought? I'm going back there this week and get a few prices for you to compare. I will admit, sometimes a piece or two will have some surface rust but it almost wipes off. Then others times, if I just brush against some, the black oil lingers on my hands for two good scrubbings
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Re: Help me decide...

Post by SmokinDTown » August 14th, 2015, 10:04 pm

California Smoke,
Looks like they are charging you 30 dollars a cut when they shear. Probably that's because they have to stop what they are doing, and are charging you accordingly. I can buy for about 80-=90 cents a pound. So this go round, I had some cuts made to the drawings, went through guys in the fab part, rather than just steel sales. If you are going to cut everything yourself and can manage it, full lengths would be the way to go.



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Re: Help me decide...

Post by SmokinDTown » August 14th, 2015, 10:07 pm

California Smoke,
Also: this is important: you are buying 4 foot long sheets. Up here, they sell you an 8 footer, shear it to 4 foot, charge for the cut too. Are you asking for your rems?



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Re: Help me decide...

Post by lester » August 15th, 2015, 7:33 am

I shop at my local scrapyard. I don't know if they have those in Ca. I guess if you're following a plan it would be tough to use scraps but i enjoyed the challenge of using my imagination to create a cooker out of things i found at the scrapyard. My cooker works amazingly well, which does surprise me but I followed a few guide lines from this awesome website and I am pleased with my outcome. Still working on my (Super Cooker).
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Re: Help me decide...

Post by CaliforniaSmoke » August 15th, 2015, 10:22 am

Lester, cool looking smoker.

I might be able to save a few bucks by not having my 16 gauge sheets sheared in half, I'm sure they are charging me something for that but in my experience it's nominal...maybe $5 a cut. I don't really have a choice on the tubing, it comes in 20 foot sticks and I can't transport that in my truck safely.

There are a couple of scrap metal places in the area, and I could probably save a bit by picking through rems and rusty bits. That may be an option, but I'd rather buy clean steel and get on to building. I could also buy some tubing and build part, then buy some plate and build another part and spread the cost out so it doesn't seem like so much but it still adds up. I'll figure it out eventually.

I have some 1/2" flat stock in the shop already, maybe I'll play with that today. I have probably 1,000 pounds of metal in the shop left over from previous projects, but it's all different shapes and lengths. Great for the odd bracket or brace, but not what I need to build a smoker.


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Re: Help me decide...

Post by Puff » August 15th, 2015, 11:39 am

So as I see it, 1000 lbs is about 5 foot of 1/2" ..... :D

I have this thing I made for my pick up. They switched us to 96 gallon trash barrels on wheels but I live 1/2 off the road and it has to be brought to the street..... Imagine this, if you make something like this but up side down and just behind the tail gate when it's lying flat, you might easily transport long lengths with the proper flags and stuff? Sorry but just thinking out loud

You may need to assemble this sequence in your mind but I think you'll get the idea.
I'll lean the barrel back and just slide it up on the flat, strap a bungee and drive it down the road
image.jpg
If you make one that hit the receiver and extends back beyond the tailgate, you can add enough support and some tie down uprights ... Might do the trick
image.jpg
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Re: Help me decide...

Post by CaliforniaSmoke » August 15th, 2015, 3:49 pm

Puff, something like that might help. I've carried 14" lengths of wood in my bed, tailgate up, strapped down, and that's a little dicy. A rack that extended over the cab would be the hot ticket I guess, but for the 3 or 4 times a year I need to deal with long material it's not worth it.

I just spent a couple hours cleaning up the shop and looking at my metal. My son has been using my metal shop a lot lately building copper rolling ball mazes. He's really into it (he's 15), but not so into putting stuff away. If he were home he'd be doing it, bad timing on my part to get motivated when he's not here.

Anyway, here are my piles, shorts and longs. I have a 4' hunk of 1/2" x 6" CR flat, plenty to make the firebox proper. I may fiddle around with that this afternoon.

Short bits of tubing, plate and what not
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Longer lengths
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Re: Help me decide...

Post by Puff » August 15th, 2015, 6:43 pm

Gotta be more tHan a thousand pounds! I moved the 1/2" piece from my truck to the saw horses, I'd swear it's a thousand pounds. I just don't have the strength I did 20 years ago. That's a nice pile of stuff...must be a firebox and charcoal chute in there. Those bends ... Do you do those there?

By the way, I have that same issue here....I would love having a rack but for the 3-4 times I need it....not worth doing that with the truck.


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Re: Help me decide...

Post by CaliforniaSmoke » August 15th, 2015, 8:35 pm

Puff wrote:Those bends ... Do you do those there?
I have a bender, but those are pre-bent with an internal mandrel so they stay consistent. I use them to build headers and exhaust for the Studebaker. And a couple of chopper exhaust tubes. The bender does a great job on thicker wall tubing like 1/8" wall stuff. I built a roll cage for a car and a round tube crossmember for a couple of hot rods.


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Re: Help me decide...

Post by Puff » August 15th, 2015, 9:11 pm

So, very little experience then? That's terrific. I don't have anywhere near that kind of precision. I'm trying to fix a persistent exhaust leak on my f-150 and that year, Ford decided to use a domed header flange and a slightly flared down tube to the catalytic converter. There's no gasket and after 15 years and 298,650 miles, it has scaled and corroded enough to keep it from sealing. I loosened the two flange nuts, shimmied the tube enough to fit a bit differently and then tightened it back up. Was good for two months but that telltale " tif, tif, tif " leak sound is back. Summit sells a doughnut that might fit in there to crush around the irregularities. The problem is... It's a pita to get under there in all twisted positions and do this job. I live on a dirt road and as soon as you tap anything, a shower of sand rains down in your eyes, hair, face...you know I'm sure.

By the way...how many cylinders is that Studebaker....there's a lot of bends hanging there :D
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Re: Help me decide...

Post by CaliforniaSmoke » August 15th, 2015, 9:14 pm

a shower of sand rains down in your eyes
I *hate* working on cars that actually drive :)


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Re: Help me decide...

Post by Puff » August 15th, 2015, 9:15 pm

Ha....that's a good one


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Re: Help me decide...

Post by NM_Wanderer » August 17th, 2015, 2:36 pm

CaliforniaSmoke wrote:I just called in my steel order. I already have enough 1/2" plate and other misc stuff on hand. I rounded up to allow for waste. I had everything cut down slightly so it will fit in my truck and be easier to handle in the shop. They are pricing it out now, and will call me back to confirm I can pick it up tomorrow. Hopefully I'll have some 16 gauge sheet left over because I need to make a new floorpan for the studebaker, I cut the original one out so I could lower the seat.

1.5" x 1.5" x .065" wall square steel tube, 80' cut in 10' lengths for handling
.75" x .75" x .125" HR Angle, 30' cut to 10' lengths
1" x 1" x .125" HR Angle, 30' cut to 10' lengths
16 gauge cold rolled sheet steel, three 4' x 8' sheets cut in half lengthwise (~ 4' x 4')
.75" x 9 gauge expanded steel, half sheet (4' x 4')
1/4" steel plate, qty 1 @ 19.75" x 48"
1/4" steel plate, qty 1 @ 10" x 48"
.5" x .5" CR steel bar, qty 1 @ 48" long
.5" CR round steel bar, qty 1 @ 48" long
3.5" OD x .25" wall (or 3" schedule 40 pipe), qty 1 @ 8"
9" channel x 24"

I just called in for a quote to my local steel supplier for the following items:
80 ft 16 gauge 1.5" sq tubing
40 ft 0.125x0.75x0.75 angle
40 ft 0.125x1x1 angle
10 ft 0.25x10" flat
10 ft 0.5" rnd bar
10 ft 0.5x0.5 square bar
3 sheets 16 gauge 4x8
1 sheet 0.75x9 expanded

Grand total $367.03.


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Re: Help me decide...

Post by CaliforniaSmoke » August 17th, 2015, 4:06 pm

Wow, that seems like a great price.


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Re: Help me decide...

Post by Puff » August 17th, 2015, 6:44 pm

I have to think so as well and I know now that the price I paid was within normal limits.


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Re: Help me decide...

Post by NM_Wanderer » August 17th, 2015, 7:39 pm

BTW all of the steel I quoted was Hot Rolled. Cold Rolled was almost double the price.


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Re: Help me decide...

Post by 4-Barrel » August 17th, 2015, 8:46 pm

NM_Wanderer wrote:BTW all of the steel I quoted was Hot Rolled. Cold Rolled was almost double the price.
Howdy NM_Wanderer,

Sorry to be blabbering if you're already aware of this, but even if cold rolled was the same price you'd probably want to shy away from it for use in a smoker. Cold rolled has a great deal of internal stresses from the manufacturing process, because it's cold-formed under tremendous pressure. OTOH, because hot rolled is just that, hot rolled, it's formed while in a soft, pliable, plastic state, so it has comparatively little internal stress.

So why does that matter? Cold rolled will release all that stress when heated (as in a smoker or grill!), thus it'll warp far more than hot rolled. It can be a really ugly surprise.

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Re: Help me decide...

Post by NM_Wanderer » August 17th, 2015, 9:55 pm

Thanks for the info. Learn something new everyday!


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Re: Help me decide...

Post by CaliforniaSmoke » August 18th, 2015, 9:20 am

4-Barrel wrote: So why does that matter? Cold rolled will release all that stress when heated (as in a smoker or grill!), thus it'll warp far more than hot rolled. It can be a really ugly surprise.
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To me the biggest considerations around CR vs HR are:

1. Cost, CR is often twice the cost of HR stock. As a quick example I priced 1/4" x 10" x 20' HR flat was $177 at one online distributor, 12' of the same flat stock in CR was $431.

2. Working properties. CR stock is clean, no mill scale. The edges are crisp and square. HR stock has a mill scale that is difficult to remove and the edges aren't as crisp. For a smoker it doesn't matter. Most guys are going to stick or MIG weld it. To get a really nice paint job you really should remove the scale, but again, not a deal breaker. Personally I like working with CR better. I can't imagine heat cycling with CR would be an issue in a smoker. I've built headers out of all CR and they are subject to more severe heat cycles without any problems. Except for the firebox, the smoker isn't ever going to get over 400 degrees. For machining, CR is generally a poorer choice. The hardness works against you and it doesn't machine as well. I used to make these swoopy exhaust flanges for Harley exhausts out of a block of steel. The HR material cut like butter and left a much nicer surface finish.

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Re: Help me decide...

Post by Puff » August 18th, 2015, 9:06 pm

Hey, can I use that flange for my F-150 exhaust?

Here are some exact prices here in the PAVEMENT STATE..NJ

1 x 1 x 1/8 angle 10'........................$6.26 ea
3/4 x 3/4 x 1/8 angle 12' .................$7.24 ea
1/2" cr round 6' ............................$4.73 ea
1 1/2 x 1 1/2 x 14ga 10'...................$10.52 ea
1/2 x 9 HR Flat bar 6' special price .....$35.00
Polka dot red welding cap................$ 9.95


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Re: Help me decide...

Post by 4-Barrel » August 19th, 2015, 5:05 pm

CaliforniaSmoke,

My point was that if you take a thin flat sheet of CR with no brakes or bends in it anywhere, by the time a light straw colored heat discoloration happens it's already started moving. Welding or cutting will really make it warp. Headers OTOH are welded to the flange and collector at the ends, and the bends in the tubing add additional rigidity. Plus, the tubing itself is a cylinder, one of the strongest structural shapes.


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