lowfog01 wrote:the dancing blue ladies and the rising temperatures .... are indicators of a strong draft – right?
I believe a deep bed of burning coal makes its own draft within the bed. Think of the "chimney" used to start charcoal for grilling hamburgers. It's just a pile of briquettes confined in a can, open at bottom and top, much like coal confined by the firebrick, and it burns great. So you could probably have blue flames and rising temps with almost no chimney draft.
Draft too high = wasted heat up the chimney, excessive coal consumption.
Draft too low = stove will be sluggish and slower to heat up when you open the air inlet to get more heat.
A few weeks ago I tried burning my stove at every baro setting from .02 to .08, and the primary determinant of stove surface temp was how much I opened the air inlet. I'm not recommending you burn with no chimney, and I'm sure a steady draft improves and stabilizes the fire over the whole length of the burn. But I don't think there is a magic "perfect" draft that you need to strive for. If you have set the weight at .04 and the stove is burning great, send the manometer on to the next borrower and don't worry about it. (Us obsessive-compulsive perfectionist types have to just let go ....)