Set up only took a few minutes with a metal cutting blade on circular saw. I told Hugh that aluminum angle he found in my scrap pile was a bad idea and indeed a few minutes into the burn the first one melted into the barrel and I went scrambling for some iron angle!
The old auto heater core fan on the variable voltage power supply worked great, generally idling along at very low speed (or not at all) except when we were tempted to goose it up just to see what would happen. Very clean other than the paint burn-off.
These were the shredded pallet chips. Dry. Total burn time was about 75 minutes.
It was dark by the time we banked the bottom and put a tight lid on it.
A satisfying first attempt. Thank you John for the inspiration.