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In Reply to: Re: WSM heat control posted by rkjhawk on May 31, 2014 at 21:40:24:
You say you are using 3 or 4 chunks of wood...cautionary comment.
I found that when using multiple chunks, sometimes the chunks would catch fire, causing the temperature of the fuel pile to escalate, so I am careful about wood.
First, I very mush prefer using one large chunk (rather than multiple chunks)...if I use multiple chunks, I place the chunks such that they take the shape of 'one' chunk (for example by placing the flat walls of the chunks next to each other so as to emulate ONE CHUNK.
My reason for using (or emulating) 'one chunk'...I believe ONE piece of wood has less tendency to catch fire on it's own if there is not another chunk nearby to catch fire also (ever build a campfire with only ONE piece of wood...the campfire won't burn if there is not a another piece of wood in the pile - use (or emulate) a single (larger?) chunk.
Second...I put my wood on the bottom of the fuel pile...if the wood should per chance catch fire (with briquettes above the wood), the 'burn' will cause the briquettes to ash over and fall onto the burning wood hence cutting the oxygen supply to the wood...the ash sort of extinguishes the wood.
Third...my favorite shape of wood - a disk about the size of a Frisbee...maybe as much as 2 inches thick...placed on the bottom of the fuel pile of the 18" WSM.
Starting the fire...I agree with the QSis method above...start the fire off small with very little bottom vent...it rations your oxygen supply so that the temp of your fuel pile don't run itself up.
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