I also just just tried to light my channing III, which I bought tghis summer. I should say I have been trying to light it for 5 days now. I have gone through 6 mice, with no luck. tried charcoal 4 times, even soaked charcoal and a mouse in gas first. DFire would get going, but coal would not light. I am stumpped now. Never had any trouble lighting my parents hand feed coal stove 35 years ago, but can't get these modern ones going. If you get yours going, let me know what the trick is.
CoalKirk has the answer,
It takes a bit of time but relax. I clean off the shute, pile about 4 pieces of charcoal ( I have in the past soaked them in Diesel and let them set and dry, but not recently) I take a propane torch to light up the charcoal, to get them glowing around the edges. Use a old section of stovepipe cut into a half-moon as a dam at the end of the grate, this will prevent the stove from pushing the fire off the edge before it gets going.
I then plug in the stove and set it to #1. Air blowing up through the grate should fire off the charcoal pretty good in few minutes. Now, take a small handful of RICE and put it on top of the charcoal.....walk away for 5-10 mins. Add a bit more....walk away....pretty soon you'll see a glowing little coal fire. turn the feed to #2 and pull the dam out of the way and increase your heat as desired. Approx 15-20 mins from start to finish. TRUST US, it'll come and next year it'll be YOU giving advice a to a Coal Stoker NEWBIE. Now go start that Stove.