I was wondering if you can bypass the wood and kinda cheat by using a map gas torch to get the coal started?
Probably not, coal needs quite a bit of constant heat to get it going. No harm trying though.
Also... My stove has an outer jacket with enough space to slip in a roll of 3/4' copper tubing that I am going to tie into the baseboard system next to it, then shut down the oil burner & just run the circulator pumps. Anyone else tried this?
Most likely you won't find any benefit from doing that, by the price tag I'm assumming the unit is quite small. It won't produce enough BTU's to heat the water fast enough. Again, No harm in trying but instead I would suggest you use it to pre-heat water before it goes into the hot water heater. Our gas hot water heater barely ever runs.
We wouldn't even have one except the water coming out of the furnace comes out too damn hot and doesn't last very long.