I just finished my first burn season using a Chubby. I do concur that the chubby shaker system SUCKS compared to the rotary crank on the Jotul 507 I used last winter. 100 shakes on average for me (100 ins / 100 outs) after an 8-10 hour burn on the chub. And that's with a brand new center-pin fire pot and new grate. I don't mind the labor so much, but the motion and stress this lesser design puts on the forearm and shoulder is rediculous. I welded my own fire poker to drive the thing, but it's still sucky. If I could put the jotul rotary grate in the chubby, i'd be happy with it for life I think.
But, pain and physical labor aside, the heat output of the chubby is incredible! I have friends that filled their 275 gallon oil tanks like mine 3 times @ $900/tank. I spent $729 total on two pallets delivered and I still got about 16 bags left, burned 24/7 from November 15th to March 31st. But I digress.
On the issue of the shaker, I've been researching some options for modifying the system. I'm thinking about linear motion guides / bearings and some sort of rotary crank and linkage. It might have to be geared to get the torque required to move that little linkage and heavy grate. It'd take quite a bit of steel work and welding, but short of buying another stove, I may not have a choice.
Anyone come up with solutions to this design flaw? The chubby stoves used to have a shaker arm assembly that swung out from the two little tabs on the bottom door, but there was some issue with that design and they stopped making them that way.