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my reverse flow build comments suggestions please - Page 3
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See if you can get your hands on some lump or splits of wood about 3" x 12", put them on top of a bed of charcoal and lay a couple on top of the firebox to be warming up prior to putting another load in the fire. Open the bottom vent all the way and crack the top one to start with, you need to get a good fire going before opening the top vent to far, that may be why you were getting smoke out of the top one last time you did the burn. Keep us posted on how cutting the RF plate works.
Did you read this thread? It may help your condition.
Dave O posted this about installing a heat shield, This is probably what you are going to have to do if you want the temps more even. One end of mine is a little hotter than the other , but I kind of like it and use it to my advantage.
the heat shield needs a gap around the edge to allow for expansion,1/8" - 1/4" will work..... 1/4 - 1/2" gap is adequate to diminish the heat transfer and heat loss through the top, and reduce the heat to the RF plate, immediately out of the FB..... The heat shield is suspended by 2 bolts to allow for expansion....
How far it extends into the FB is "per smoker"... I would guess about 1/4 of the RF plate length.... The heat shield can be installed at any time.... even after the build and test runs... The smoker may operate just fine for you.... A hot spot, near the FB, may be a good thing....