I used to start the fire at the front, just inside the oven from the chimney. Once it was going, I pushed the fire to the centre and built it up big style there. When the oven was up to temperature, I moved the fire to the side. This was in accord with recommendations I had read.
Now I have introduced an extra step: as soon as the fire is going well in the centre, I move it right to the back of the oven and build it up there. The reason I think this is better is because the hot gases rising from the fire now travel right across the roof from the back before exiting at the front, surely giving out more heat before disappearing. This seems to give a small but noticeable improvement in oven performance.
Once the oven is nice and hot, I move the coals to the left, ready to put pizzas in on the right - I'm a Southpaw; if you're right handed, best move the coals to the right for pizzas on the left.
albacore, understandable. However, I have a central chimney and find the fire in the middle helps heat up the floor, then I shove it to the back. I normally cook a few pizzas, then pull the fire back to the center, to warm the floor again. This I find cooks the base quite well.
Have you ever wondered why Pizzas's are the same shape as the sun. What goes around comes around.
I think I might be addicted to dough, I don't just want it, I knead it.
I have a barrel oven with the chimney at the front, I get the fire going up where I am going to cook the pizza's and only move it to the back of the oven at the point I want to start bringing the floor down to cooking temp about 30 mins or so before I want to start cooking. I too then will pull coals forward to give the floor a boost from time to time.
I am planning on getting a door done soon for cooking bread and slow roasts, in that instance I think I will move the fire back sooner for a more even heating.