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Old 11-02-2009, 09:39 AM
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Default Thickness of sheet metal for a door

I went to the hardware store this weekend to look for door materials and thought that I'd just get a 24"x30" piece of sheet metal and cut it to fit. The idea was to mirror the door template so that I could bend the metal, making a 1 to 1 1/2 " gap in between faces that will eventually hold some insulation. My issue is that I'd need metal thin enough to be able to cut with aviation snips, but sturdy enough to stand on it's own. What gauge of steel should I be dealing with?
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Old 11-02-2009, 09:59 AM
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Default Re: Thickness of sheet metal for a door

I made mine out of aluminum - I recall it being around .050 thick, 16 ga.

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Old 11-02-2009, 10:09 AM
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Default Re: Thickness of sheet metal for a door

Was that easy enough to bend by hand? I don't really have a lot of tools for this type of work, so I was going to bend it over a board and hammer it flat.
I like your door, by the way.
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Old 11-02-2009, 10:15 AM
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Default Re: Thickness of sheet metal for a door

Thanks. I had access to a brake to bend the channel that made up the edges. That will be the challenge - after that, it was very easy to work with.

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Last edited by Les; 11-02-2009 at 01:38 PM.
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Old 11-02-2009, 01:07 PM
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Default Re: Thickness of sheet metal for a door

Hello, 16 gauge mild steel will be a bear to cut with aviation snips, but it can be done. 20 gauge (there's even a 19, if you can get it--many cars are made with it) will work fine. Without having access to a brake, hammering the strait parts over an edge is a classic and easy way to make a sharp bend. Bends on curves are tougher, but can also be hammered into steel using a mold (made of hardwood, etc) and occasionally annealing the piece with a torch. Maybe if you need to bend on the curves you can make individual tabs instead of metal stretching the whole curve. If you choose aluminum, both the straits and the curves will be much easier. The curves on the old Porsche 356s were entirely hand-hammered aluminum over wooden bucks. Good luck!

Eric
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Old 11-02-2009, 01:12 PM
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Default Re: Thickness of sheet metal for a door

Ooops, I forgot. Once you hammer the edge on the piece, it will be much stiffer than the original sheet. You'll be amazed, how even a thin sheet can be so strong and stiff.

Cheers,
Eric
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Old 11-02-2009, 03:08 PM
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Default Re: Thickness of sheet metal for a door

Alright, so it looks like 16 gauge aluminum is the way to go. Thanks to both of you for the advice.
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Old 11-09-2009, 09:28 AM
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Default Re: Thickness of sheet metal for a door

After all of that discussion, I couldn't find a big enough sheet of 16 gauge aluminum, so I went with 22 gauge steel. I was able to cut it by hand easily enough, then used a 1.5" piece of angle iron and hammered it over that so that there is a 1.5" gap between the outer sheet and the sheet facing the oven. I'll eventually close off the sides and put some insulating material in it. I still need to trim a bit of material from the top so that it slides in a bit more easily, but I think it looks pretty good. I'll take pictures and post when I have the time.
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Old 11-12-2009, 08:52 AM
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Default Re: Thickness of sheet metal for a door

Aside from a little grinding that needs to be done, the door is fitting nicely. I put some handles on it (see below). I was a little worried about the heat, but the outer face of the door and the handles remain cool.

Gatehouse at Lowe's: 4 - 3/4" Zinc Screen Door Pull
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Old 11-12-2009, 09:03 AM
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Default Re: Thickness of sheet metal for a door

Look forward to seeing it!

Eric
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