Mine has been lit for about a week. Get it going with a good bed of burning coal, fill up the hopper to the top, and let it go. I leave the adjustable damper on the back set at around 12 o'clock with the front vents closed. I shake it down between 12 and 15 hours. Just shake it until you see red coals dropping into the ash pan. When it gets colder, I will get the fire cranking with more air. Takes some getting used too, but don't get discouraged.