This is my first season burning coal ( Vigilant II). The only modifications are vertical fire bricks atop the
shelf where the angle brick sits. The box is narrower, but there is no ash build up to deal with. Burn time
is 8-10, (possibly longer) hours depending on my schedule. If I bank a fresh load along the back and sides, I seem to get a longer burn, It's a hunch that pea will burn even longer, but I am too inexperienced and have not tested that notion yet.
Before shaking, I push the dead ash off the front fettle and down into the grates and I push the slicer in between the grate and the vertical firebrick.
I try to avoid the slicing under neath the bed. I do this by shaking the grate , opening the ash door, and I look for a bright red glow more or less evenly dispersed through out the ash pan. This indicates there is plenty of
oxygen for the fire. This avoids making a huge mess. When sweeping any ash reside, I open the front or ash pan
door, so the fine ash is sucked into the stove. I use a "Swiffer Sweeper" towel to remove the fine particle on the front ledge and below the stove (as a final clean-up).
Considering what I have read, I was a little concerned, that the Vigilant II would not perform well. I almost
wanted to sell it before I had it installed. I thought for sure it would be a lousy stove.
In my limited experience, this stove is super easy to use and kicks out heat if needed.
When the weather is mild, I can operate it at 350-400 (F), at night or when the temps dip, I load her with more nut than pea and get her to 650- 700F.
The draft is adequate, the outside north chimney is tall, really tall, I think 20 feet or so, but 2 bends from the
stove pipe, a tee and another off-set around the eave have to detract from the pull. The inside stove pipe is double walled. My friend says this is good because more heat is directed up the chimney, but I am losing some heat from the stack. I don't know, seems to be working.
The stove is easy to use, safe, and very efficient. Now I am green-pea... never had a stove, relied on oil or
gas my whole life. Believe me I was worried I would screw this up. Well it's be burning non-stop since mid-November.
My friends built me a 2 T coal bin in the garage, we are getting a truck load of Reading pea this coming week.