Be glad to help.
a. Lid on all the time? Once the charcoal goes gray, lid goes on, to keep the high temps. I might add, that I put the steel plate and stone on as soon as possible as the coals are heating so they heat as gradually as possible, and only 5 pieces of pipe are needed, each corner and center. Spares are handy, however.
a2. Use wood? You could use wood, but just add a bit after the coals are gray and it adds enough wood flavor. In fact, I for one, prefer only a minimum wood smoke flavor as it can overpower pie ingredients.
b. Pipes? The cut steel pipes keep the plate and stone elevated a bit from being too close to the charcoal and permit heat circulation. Lot of coals and they are very hot.
c. Plate needed? The plate needs to be under to stone to prevent cracking from the fire/heat.
What it really does is make it possible to serve up 4 or 6 large pies fast for a crowd.
Weber gets quite hot and pies need watching. I over-charred one in just 9 minutes so have taken to measuring out charcoal and lessened it to prevent overheating in general.
I am not big on charred pies for taste and for health reasons.
The pic of oven on stone 2-pounder before freezing, and a bit overdone for freezing pie, from last week is about as dark as I go.
Pie is small, about 12 inches, Neapolitan rise with bread dough, ala Spacca Napoli (Chicago) recipe. Goldsmith uses 00 flour, which I find hard to obtain, so I do with what I have.
No bread benefits from charring, IMHO. Charring seems a recent fad and I bake for me anyway. I started late, in '74 and do only about 50 to 75 pies a year, but I always try to out do last pie.