Hi VigII and Nortcam and everyone else!
Thanks for the comments and the help. With the standard firebrick on the side ledges, there is no ash build up so no maintenance is required there. While the stove produces
nice heat at 650 F, using nut burns too quickly... I think... I don't have the experience yet to see how long the coal will burn steadily until I have to absolutely
recharge the stove. I discovered that Pea burns much slower and is excellent for milder days. I use nut when I need more immediate heat, but in all cases, I have to bank the rear and sides with pea coal. This so the fire burns slower and more evenly... I think....
The original size fire box has to provide longer burn time... right now I can burn 8-10 hours... but since I am inexperienced, I have not let the fire burn too low.
When I see the coal at the middle level of the fettle, I recharge it... Blue ladies seem to last forever... that's a good thing I am told....
VigII thanks for the help on the firebox size, (I am thinking) the wider fire box (original design) might be more important than then straight side as the coal would naturally bank the sides and I would get more heat...and a longer burn time. I suspect with a larger box, I could reduce the opening of the rear inlet, right now I have to set the air intake where the edge of the flap is parallel to the lower stove "lip" ( 2"? ) this will give 700 F using nut/pea and based on the weather conditions. About an inch or less the stove cooks at 650 F. and so on.
That secondary air port on the side of the stove is always closed. I placed a lit candle to the front glass and there is plenty of air entering the front and some of that has to rise above the fire box for secondary combustion. Also the fire burns more evenly with that port closed.
Now with the deep firebox, I have resisted the urge to slice in between the grates. All I do is gently shake the grates until some flecks of embers drop in the ash pan. I try to keep the ash level 3" or less. The fire seems to burn better...I think.... when I clean off the ash on the fettle, the stove burns hotter...
The stove is placed at 45 degree angle to the corner, it comes out into the room, and there is nearly 8 feet of double walled pipe. The pipe leads to the exterior chimney which is an easy 16 + feet, higher than standard code... and the chimney is capped. Draft is I think is pretty good considering... if the pipe went straight up I have a hunch the air inlet opening would be around 1/8th of an inch or so... I think... not sure... any rate, I am really enjoying the stove and so is the family! I think the main thing is to have patience, make some observations, and eventually the light bulb might come-on. I have not had any "moments of clarity"
and don't expect any soon. So I'll just trudge the path and hopefully I'll get more consistent and really know the capabilities of the stove.
BTW... I have had no explosions or puff backs.. if run right, I think this stove is idiot proof.