Hi Charlie, yep, I removed the grate, and have a rectangular hole for the ash to fall into. It does fall for the most part, but sometimes hangs up and backs up. So.....
I'm going to make a open frame that fits in the same rails as the grate did, and put a piece of thin steel on each side that is just above the firebrick 'V' sides.. on this thin steel I'l weld a few 1/4" high ribs.. Just enough to aggitate the ash and encorage it to fall down into the pan. This wide funnel with a 7"x16" bottom opening will be attached to the shaker mechanism of course, so it will be just like shaking the grate, except this will be shaking the funnel.
Photos when I get time to make it. I'm preparing for a road trip.
I think Will Burt gets over $6K for the smallest stoker.