Building a smoker base/legs - 1.5" square tubing 14 ga?

Discussion in 'Smoker Builds' started by texjohn, Oct 11, 2016.

  1. texjohn

    texjohn Newbie

    Hi all,

    I'm starting a new offset (non-reverse flow) build, and am getting ready to build my base for my smoker to be supported on, but as a new metal worker, have some questions about the relative strength of 14 gauge 1.5" square tubing.

    My CC is 48" long, 20 inch diameter, 1/4 inch thick steel pipe. FB is going to be same material--so, circular, as well, approx 24" in length.

    I've found a local supplier with pretty reasonably-priced lengths of 1.5" steel square tubing in a 14 gauge, and I'm wondering if in everyone's experience, that would be a stable and durable material to make the base from.

    I'll be laying down 2 x 6' lengths as the base, about 20inches apart (outside measurement), welding 4 legs (3' in length) to those and to the chamber, and I'll add a crossbar as reinforcement on each side of the cooking chamber for the front and back legs. Once I get the FB placed, I'll probably look to add a shorter length  on the far right side, to help with some of that weight as well.

    I've seen all sorts of builds with angle iron legs, and even seen some similar materials with 1" square tubing, and some much bigger builds with 2" square (seems like overkill for my setup)--but I've never really considered the gauge that those are, since I've never really been in a position to actually use those materials myself...until now! Any help would be greatly appreciated, and if you see me omitting some serious considerations, please do let me know, this is a learning experience for me and I'm looking to soak up all your thoughts.

    Thanks for your help!
  2. Hey texjohn, I'm not an experienced welder, but I am a civil engineer, so pretty familiar with loading and materials. I entered your loading information in the online calculator below. I assumed one fixed end and one pivoting. I found that your 3 ft long, 14 gauge, 1.5" square tubing can handle a load of 10,941 lbs before buckling. Given that this is a factor of safety of about 10 (assuming 100 lbs per leg), you have plenty of strength! Obviously, an engineering calculation is not going to be your deciding factor.

    I am about to build a smoker almost identical to what you are describing, and I'm not using anything less than 2" OD, just because I want it to look solid and take all kinds of abuse, such as dragging, loading, and at worst, dropping it off the end of a tailgate!
  3. texjohn

    texjohn Newbie

    Randy--thanks for running that for me--I've not run across that calculator yet, and it is a huge help--some of the other ones I've stumbled on haven't been as intuitive. I independently made the decision to go with 2" OD as well for most of the base--in an 11 ga. When I went to look at 1.5" in a 14 ga, felt like the 2" in an 11 ga just felt like it'd keep up to more abuse. So my main legs and the bottom rail the legs rest on are 2" and I'm running 1.5" crossbars for reinforcement. I just finished welding up the support for my CC. I'll try to get a photo uploaded here for progress. Thanks again for your feedback, Randy!
  4. texjohn

    texjohn Newbie

  5. Nice! That's not coming apart easily. I've been looking at prices for tubing, and due to recent budget revelations, I will probably be choosing more based on the wallet than on looks. Maybe even salvaging some scrap instead of purchasing. That stuff is not cheap!
  6. texjohn

    texjohn Newbie

    Randy--I'm definitely with you on the price front--I was able to get a decent deal on the tubing-- actually, that was one of the few things I could find new at a good price near me. As learning experiences go, this build certainly has gone ways to get me thinking about the things I probably need to think about before jumping in again, but, bit by bit, I'm getting there. Fair to say I probably way underestimated the time it'd take me to finish, but only a few more weekends left, the way I see it. Cut my doors and made some hinges today, I'll attach a few pictures to update. I also cut the end caps for my firebox and one side of my cook chamber (the exhaust side will all he separate- I've got some more measuring to do.

    Again, can't thank everyone on this forum enough for the WEALTH of information that have contributed to what is shaping up to be a successful build.

    Thanks all!
  7. texjohn

    texjohn Newbie


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