DIY Reinforcing Members Mark 36″ 4 Burner Griddle 2


A fun little project I just completed was reinforcing a Members Mark brand 4 burner griddle to prevent future warpage. The more expensive BlackStone griddles already have this reinforcement. Money saved with same end result = Winning.

TL;DR

Too Long; Didn’t Read (Wifey just taught me about this so I am excited to try out a summary for you folks that just like pretty pictures)

  • Member’s Mark griddle, made cheaper no reinforcement under griddle surface.
  • Concerns about warpage.
  • Bought angle iron, cut, welded on
  • Party on, saved ~$50+
  • Stir fry

Brand preference

If you are reading this then you likely either already bought a propane griddle or are thinking about buying one. There are differences in pricing and features and typically the price reflects it. This is an experiment in buying the cheaper product and upgrading it yourself to make it like the more expensive product. Is it worth it? guess we will see…

Today we are talking about griddles, but really the principle applies to all products. If a product has an Achilles heel the manufacturer has not addressed (or doesn’t plan on addressing) but you have the tools to fix it, just save some money and do it yourself!

Blackstone 4 Burner Griddle

This is the more expensive ‘cream of the crop’ best griddle you can buy. These already come reinforced with angle iron from the factory. Check it out and read the reviews so you are prepared in case you ever find yourself in Sam’s staring at the cheaper Members Mark model.

Reinforcing Members Mark 4 Burner Griddle
Here is a review from an Amazon member showing the backside of the Blackstone 36″ griddle which comes with reinforcement. It is an older review but the only one I could find that showed the backside.

Here is a link to a forum post discussing the reinforcement on one of the smaller 17″ BlackStone Griddles that I am loosely basing my reinforcement on:
https://eggheadforum.com/discussion/1204938/help-17-blackstone-burner-problem/p3

Members Mark 4 Burner Griddle

This is the cheaper Members Mark grill available at any Sam’s Club. There is about a $75 difference between this model and the Blackstone as of this writing.

I am by NO means saying this griddle will inevitably warp without reinforcement. This project is because reviews and forums for other similar versions of griddles have warped and the premium brand reinforces theirs which means it is likely that warpage is a common issue.

https://www.samsclub.com/p/members-mark-outdoor-gas-griddle/prod22750694

Reinforcing Members Mark 4 Burner Griddle
Sam’s stock photo from their website linked above.

Members Mark Griddle Top – Analysis

Reinforcing Members Mark 4 Burner Griddle
Members Mark 36″ 4 burner griddle top
Reinforcing Members Mark 4 Burner Griddle
Members Mark 36″ 4 burner griddle from bottom (notice no reinforcement of any kind)
Reinforcing Members Mark 4 Burner Griddle
With the griddle upside down I threw my level on it and the griddle has a slight bow up (about 1/8″) in the middle. I assume by design because it was very uniform. Probably for grease drainage to the sides so you aren’t having to cook in a pool of grease.

Adding Angle Iron Reinforcement

Reinforcing Members Mark 4 Burner Griddle
First step, get some 1″x1″x1/8″ angle iron and cut to length (34″ in this case)

Side note: I finally had to change out my 1st diamond cutoff wheel after MONTHS of usage and now am using another one. I swear I will never go back to fiber cutoff disks.

I decided to get ‘fancy’ and do an X. This was extra work and probably unnecessary but seemed like a good idea at the time. As you can see in the review pic at the beginning, the Blackstone units just use three straight cross braces. It is not likely they would ever do an X or anything that overlapped due to additional manufacturing costs.

Reinforcing Members Mark 4 Burner Griddle
With the griddle upside down I grabbed my 4.5″ angle grinder with an 80 grit flap wheel and ground off the paint/sealant/undercoat from the bottom. Not sure what it was but it was stuck on there.
Reinforcing Members Mark 4 Burner Griddle
Before welding I put the griddle on the floor and stood on the angle iron to flex it to match the contour of the bottom of the griddle (remember in my pic above it has an 1/8″ bow to it).
Reinforcing Members Mark 4 Burner Griddle
The second part of the X is the more challenging part to cut and lay out.

TIP: For marking the cuts. When looking directly down from above, I marked a straight line where the peak of the angle iron was, then marked where the bottom of the angle iron was. I then connected my lines which showed me the angled line of where to cut.

Reinforcing Members Mark 4 Burner Griddle
Once one side was done, rinse and repeat on the other side.
Reinforcing Members Mark 4 Burner Griddle
Not bad for eyeballing it. Had to clearance a little extra on the lower right side since it was hitting the weld below.
Reinforcing Members Mark 4 Burner Griddle
Burn it all in! Be sure to tack it at each end. This angle is thin enough and long enough that if you go to town on one end it will warp out of position before you get to the other end.
Reinforcing Members Mark 4 Burner Griddle
Finished welds on the X
Reinforcing Members Mark 4 Burner Griddle
After welding, I flipped it over and double checked that it still had the factory bow to it. All checked out fine.

Stir Fry

Reinforcing Members Mark 4 Burner Griddle
Boom! Stir fry.

Conclusion

So the question is, Do I buy the cheaper product and upgrade the weak points or do I just whip out my checkbook and buy the ‘best’ product of every category?

The answer is really ‘it depends’. Depends on your skills, how much you like working on things, and how much time you have. If you have a welder, enjoy projects and have time for them, Great! If not then congratulations, I am surprised you read this far on a DIY Metal Fabrication post ;-)

Hope this helps! Now YOU, go work on something!


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2 thoughts on “DIY Reinforcing Members Mark 36″ 4 Burner Griddle

  • David L. Gonzalez

    Ooo……. awesome article. The images are so much detailed. Every portion of the product is visible. Surely this information is gonna solve all of my problems. My confusion about this products is fully cleared today. Thanks a lot for sharing this awesome article. Helped me a lot.

  • Chris

    Awesome article! Thank you much for posting so many details on how you solved this. I just bought this griddle from Samsclub, and I’ve been reading about all of the warpage complaints on it.
    I’m curious about one detail though. Did you need to do any preheating of the top in order to prevent any warpage while you welded the angle iron to it?