I used it sunday and it worked great. Easy temp control and used very little wood.
SWEET RIG!!! Love the slide extension, too! Tons of prep space. Makes me wish I lived where I'd have easy access to hardwoods to fire a stick burner with. For now, I'll just have to settle for propane and charcoal...sigh.
From the thread title, I sensed you're looking for ways to start the fire, but I didn't see it asked in text. Some use a burn barrel with rebar grate to start the wood and burn down to coals before adding to the fire (helps to keep the heavy start-up smoke to a minimum?). Some use a few charcoal briquettes to get some heat going in the fire box and add smaller splits to get a small, hot fire for a coal base to build up initial temps, then keep adding small pieces for quicker starting and less heavy smoke.
Come on back if your needing help from experienced stick burners...I'm not one of them, just passing on what I've read that others have done.
Very nice build. I use the charcoal and wood method, works like a charm for me. On my RF smoker, I have a 24 x 24 firebox, with a 22 x 21 wood/charcoal box on slides inside the firebox with an ash pan beneath. I put afew inches of briquettes (Kingsford blue bag), then 2 half chimneys full of lit on top. Both air intakes fully open and firebox door open and inch or so. 15-25 minutes temps are at 225+, then I start adding chunks or sticks of mesquite and oak mix until temps get around 300, then back off of intakes and close door and away we go. I usually give it a few minutes before putting any meat on just to make sure she doesn't spike.
I like your RF Smoker. It's about the size I want to build. What size is your tank? Looks like a 250 to me? I have someone giving me a 250. Do you think the tandem trailer is needed or would a single axle carry the weight? I have an old trailer that I built a few years back to haul wood stoves on, just curious if I could lengthen it to use. It has a single axle, although I'd change the axle on it.