Firstly I'd like to say that everything I've done over the previous two months has been mainly based on the experiences of the contributors here, so I'd like to start out by saying thank you.
Now for the long rambling post, but for those who are prone to TL:DR, how do you refuel your smoker at lower cooking temperatures, and how do you choke it back to lower the temp without billows of white smoke?
I bought a cheap offset a couple of year back and have done really well with it. I decided about 8 months ago to build my own RF and spent the next 6 months looking for a suitable barrel and coming up with cheap designs. Now unlike most of the builds here, everything I have used with the exception of the wheels and the handle/fittings has come from the work junk yard/recycling so the metal is thinner than some of your more serious builds but far thicker than the cheap offset I had. I eventually found the barrel (my avatar) and started building it two months ago (I've put a picture below), the dimensions are in line with Feldon's calculator and all in all I'm happy with it. I haven't done any serious welding since my teens (along time ago) and everything seems to have gone pretty well, though already I have ideas on how to improve it ......
Yesterday I lit it for the first time and generally I'm over the moon with it. We lit it with the firebox open and once the wood had caught we closed it in, the chimney started to draw immediately no problems at all. The cook box does need seals but it didn't leak too much. Firstly we went for high temperature grilling run and ran for 2 hours with the cook box at eventually nearly 500F, perfect clear light blue smoke (I use mainly acacia to smoke with and rarely some fruit wood, cherry etc.) We even threw a burger in to check and it was goooood.
We then decided to try a couple of hours at a smoking temperature (my thin offset I used to run no problems for 8 hours at around 170/180 on a charcoal, thin wood splits mix) When it came to refuel we opened the cook box to let it cool down, opened the fire box put new load of wood in and after 30 mins or so once it was well and truly lit we closed it back in. Now I had no problems keeping the temperature down, but the smoke was foul, though as soon as I opened the air inlet it gave a much better smoke but of course temperature went up.
I never had any problems with the cheap offset as I think I was mixing charcoal and wood, but this was started with charcoal and for the rest of the afternoon was all wood. The wood is good wood, been stored for over two years, didn't have any bark and I'm clueless how to get light smoke at lower temperatures. Reduce the amount of wood?
Anyway here is the build, only needs two shelves for the outside to be finished and then sprayed. The top of the firebox is going to be replaced with a sliding half inch stainless steel plate that will act as a plancha/griddle. Any thoughts, ideas or improvements would be gladly appreciated right now.