I went down to the local scrap metal dealer this morning and grabbed 2 pieces of heavy expanded steel. I was looking for 3/4" 9 gauge, and found out they mainly sell full 4' X 8' sheets of the stuff. I told him what I wanted (a piece about 8" - 12" wide and maybe 48" long, and he pointed me to the "small pieces" rack and told me to see what they had. I walked over and the first two things that jumped out at me were 2 pieces of very heavy expanded steel, both 48" long, one 9" wide, and the other 11" wide. I asked how much they wanted for them, and was told $1.00 per pound. I snagged both pieces and took them over to be weighed so I could pay for them. They totaled 10 lbs, so $10 later, I was on my way home again. I was gone a total of 20 minutes.
My luck ran out shortly after that, however, when I tried to bend this heavy stuff. O. M. G! Never again! I got home with the steel at about 10:00 am. I finally got my charcoal basket wired together at 3:00 pm. That's 5 hours spent trying to bend a 4' long piece of steel into a circle.
I've been reading the Mother of All UDS Threads since the day I signed up on this forum (I'm currently on page 508,) and I can tell you that I either got some seriously heavy steel, I'm a lot older and weaker than I thought, or it's made of Kryptonite. "Oh just bend it around a propane tank," goes the conventional wisdom. Yeah - right. Not with this stuff.
I'm out of money for the UDS this month, so I kind of made due on my charcoal basket for right now. Next month, I'll take the other piece of expanded steel to a few metal fabrication shops and see what they'll charge me to put it on the slip roller and shape it for me. Then I'll ask my neighbor to weld it up for me (I don't think he's bought his own beer since I moved in.)
So - right now, I'm getting everything together to fire it up and do a seasoning run and see if I can learn how to control the temps. I have some el cheapo store brand charcoal to fire up for the seasoning run - after that I'll use the better quality stuff. I just couldn't see paying for good quality stuff just to season it and not cook anything.
Film at 11...
My lesson learned? Pay the pro when you don't have the right tools to do a job. Five hours is way, way too much time to spend on a simple thing like this, no matter how cheap I am.
OTS - UDS - Don't have a UDS? Well why not?