Just some input.
RF or traditionsl offset: I built mine to do either with exhaust stacks on each end of the pit. My RF baffle is actually a series of 1/4" thick, 6"x17-1/2" plates that rest on 3/4" angle welded to the inside of the cook chamber (you can barely make them out in the pictures below)
. In the RF setup, I put the individual plates against each other to make a solid baffle. I have found cutting the individual plates on a shop shear gives you a good clean edge, they stack together tightly and seal up real good.
In the traditional setup, I just space them out a little and use them as tuning plates. In reality, I almost always cook in RF mode and I'll probably renovate the pit this summer to just be RF.
Just a reference picture of my rig, note the 2 exhaust stacks.
Here is a picture with the plates pushed together in RF mode.
Here is a picture with the plates staggered across the pit in more of a traditional offset mode.
Fuel: I use kiln dried hickory splits (think of a 6"-8" chunk of tree, quartered) 16"-18" long. I'll use some kindlng and about 4-6 splits to get a good coal bed then ad 1-2 splits every hour or two depending of my target cook temp, weather, how full the pit is and a bunch of other variables. I don't think I use any less in a traditional offset mode cook, maybe more.
Just my $0.02. I'm gonna steam clean the pit this weekend, I can get you some more
pics if that would help.
No matter what you decide, have fun, it will be a great experience and the Q will be great!