I've been a tad concerned how the slider grates will work, as opposed to the rocker grates we have now. But, in order to control our burns better, I've pretty much taken to doing clean loads every time; so if I continue that, clinkers, rocks, and bridging isn't as big a concern. It's a pain, but at least with our present stoves, I know exactly how to load it, get it started, and how to control it the entire burn. Hot loads are just puff-back roulette.
Part of the problem we had last season was that our last delivery of 6/8 tons was almost completely dirt, with some gravel coal mixed in. I need to premix/layer every load with twigs every couple of scoops. I've almost burned through it all now, so I'll be more careful next time and inspect the next coal at the yard before I let them load the dump truck and bring it to the house.
Our first two loads a year or so ago were great, softball sized chunks on average. This dirt coal has a tendancy to want to bridge if it's not mixed with twigs. But, the fact with this stove that I can get 100 lb loads in it is a blessing, meaning that even on our cold days, I should be able to get a 24 hour burn. That the ash pan will catch all the ash if I don't let it overflow is another bonus.
I do still feel a little like this stove should be in a museum or something, but we could really use a stove that's a good fit for our coal, something we can afford, and that doesn't need extensive rehab. We certainly seemed to have found it. And the present owner said a couple of times to me, that he really wanted someone to have it that will appreciate and use it.
He has the original paperwork and sales receipt. He sold it to us for what the original sales price was. He charged us a couple hundred extra for building a custom shipping crate for us, and he knows shipping up here costs a bit - so he says he thinks it's fair for everyone.