Well, I am still not all of the way through the entire thread, but I have finished a smoker. She's seasoned and all, I hope to be cooking something this week sometime.
From what I could find, I opted to get the thicker drum (18 ga) with closed head versus the open head but really thin drums. So, I would say about 60% of my work making a workable lid. I probably will never put this kind of time into another, it just adds so much work.
We'll start with the basket. 14" wide x 7" tall, with the ash pan (a pizza pan) attached.
The only things left to add are the 2" pipe smokestack, and I am going to put wood on one of the side shelves someday.
I put alot more work into the lid than I really had to. Once I cut it, I wrapped both cut side with a 1/4" roundbar to give a seating surface, then on the lid half also welded a thin flatbar around the edge to line it up over the bottom. I also added a stove gasket in that lip, so it is sealed up tight.
Thanks for all of your help! What do y'all think?