Originally Posted by landarc
I am not so sure about a top loader being the most efficient setup for feeding fuel, heat retention or draft control. I think feeding fuel from the end works really well, doesn't let all of the heat out and drafts straighter.
Thanks for the suggestions!
Draft was always designed as a low to high cross draft. Intake blast gate low on the firebox side, outlet ducts high on the smoke chamber side.
I am second guessing having only the top opening for loading though. You make a really good point on heat loss. The top sliding door will be sealed well with gasket, but I am liking the addition of a side door for in-cook loading more and more. Easy as cutting one in. the top will only be opened for the initial add, and to get the fire basket in and out.
I also considered segmenting the top door. 16" on the smoke chamber side and then a smaller 8" piece on the firebox side. That way, I could slide the small piece out a little to add and then slide it back. It would still be a high opening, but I could keep it behind the fire, to minimize somewhat the heat loss. My thinking is that that opening won't be much worse than a large enough side opening on the same side which will still have open air above the fire level where heat can escape. Thoughts?
That brings up another question: How high to make the firebasket? The firebox is 18" deck to top. If I go side load, I will need room to get over the side to add a split or chunks or coal, thoughts?