For the fuel thing, I don't use lump in my offsets just because it's such a fuel hog. I'll go stick burner for its intended purposes, but then when I use charcoal it's briquettes, I do agree that the ash gets to be ridiculous fast, I just raised up my grate in the fire box, another piece of expanded metal, and I empty it out with a cookie tray I put underneath, just pull it out and dump it into my ash bucket. Gloved hands, of course. I empty it when I refuel, and I've still got more than enough airflow, just wouldn't before the next (possible) refuel.
The Life of the Knife is Ended By! The Wife.