I bought a drafty old dilapidated house this summer that didn't have a heat source (just a rusted out oil furnace in the basement). I found a used Stratford SC 100 stove to heat with. It's rated for "12,500 to 100,000 BTUs per hour". The door glass was replaced with a sheet of steel and the middle grate was warped upward a bit, but not so badly that it wouldn't operate.
I've had one good fire going. It was hell to get started, and it was out after the second morning. Since then, I've gotten two more, but they take me hours to get started, almost constantly standing there with the blow gun pointed at them. Closing the door is almost a guarantee that they go out. The first of these two seemed to be doing ok once I finally got it started, but was out by the next morning (I started it in the evening). The other one was a disaster. It never got very hot at all, and took me hours just to get 3/4's of the bed lit.
With my best fire, I was able to take my coat off when sitting right in front of the stove, but everywhere else was as chilly as ever.
On all of these tries, I had the air intake wide open. The barometric damper, I'm not entirely sure what to do with. I had it set so it occasionally open slightly. The manual says it should be set to .04". Does that mean I should move it to the '4' setting on my damper? The options are 2, 4, 6, and 8.
My door gasket was pretty pathetic and the sheet of steel that replaced the window had a 1/16" gap in the upper corner, where a screw was missing. I decided to replace it with glass and make everything air tight. So I went into town and bought a $100 plate of glass, tried to install it, and realized the reason that screw was missing was because it was stripped. So I wedged another piece of metal in with the bracket, to make it tighter, not noticing this moved the bracket ever so slightly closer to the frame of the door. I went to close the door, the bracket caught, and my brand new window snapped in two...
I tried to glue it back together with the gasket cement, which marginally worked, but left me with as big a gap as what I had with the steel sheet. I decided to give it another go -- I started the file with charcoal, got it going nice and good with air gun, and closed the door. In less than a minute, the window was completely fogged up with condensation. I opened the door after a few minutes and water was practically running off of it. I kept fidgeting with it. The fire would do significantly better when I had the door open than when I closed it. Finally, I messed with it enough that the top piece of glass (a bit less than 1/4 of the total) fell out. I figured this approach was doomed, so I grabbed some leftover insulation that I had used to line the stove pipe at the chimney connection and stuffed that into the hole left by the missing glass.
Now I have my best fire yet going, and no condensation on the window. I also have the air intake wide open and the barometic damper set to 8 -- it's heaviest setting where the flap never opens. This is the first time I've tried the barometic damper in that position for an extended time, and I'm hesitant to mess with it. Is it likely that the loose window was my entire problem?
I also bought a manual damper at a junk store over the weekend, and have that installed, though I have it set wide open and haven't tried anything else with it.
The exterior of my stove (which has an air gap) is at 230° and the stove pipe, at the entrance to the chimney, is at 160°.