Glad to hear things are going well, Tom. My own experience has been similar. At least using Match Light, it takes the stove a good three hours to get to the point where it actually starts throwing good heat. And adjustment times are long as well. You can, for example, open the ash pan dampers from say 1/4 to 3/4, but don't expect to see/feel the result of that adjustment for a good long while.
One thing that my setup does differ from Tom's is that my stove does not want to burn well unless I open the restrictor (flue damper) all the way and leave it there. If push the rod in and close off the flue (even 1/2 way in), my stove will die down to the point where it's no longer producing good heat, regardless of the ash pan damper settings. I have a (cheap) magnetic thermometer on the front of the stove between the glass door and the ash pan door. When the stove is producing good heat (with the restrictor open), this thermometer reads 220-230* or more. When I close off the restrictor, the thermometer will read 180* or less. It's just an indicator I use to help me know what the stove is doing. If I close off the restrictor, it will eventually drop the stove temp down to where it's not throwing enough heat to keep the house comfortable.
I had initially thought that I had a good draft, but now I'm starting to think it's just mediocre. After all, I've only got about 15' of pipe in an uninsulated brick chimney that's on the outside of the house. Not the worst setup for a good draft, but certainly not the best, either.
The restrictor/flue damper was originally designed to keep too much heat from escaping up the chimney for folks who have a good draft/too much draft, but in my case I think my draft is only so-so, which requires me to open up the restrictor all the way and leave it there. It's a Catch-22, of course. If I close off the restrictor, I might be keeping more heat in the stove and burning less coal, but the stove never gets hot enough to heat the house adequately. If I open the restrictor, I am probably losing extra heat up the chimney and burning more coal, but the stove now produces enough heat to keep the living room at 74-76* and the back bedroom farthest from the stove at 67-69*. I'm still experimenting with it, but I think this is how it's going to end up. I'm still only using about 10-20 lbs. of coal a day, which is less than I expected.
One thing that's new with the steady colder weather we're having is the burn layer position. When it was warmer outside, it seemed to me that the burn layer was pretty much near the bottom and covered with fresh coal most of the time. Now, the burn layer goes almost all the way to the top of the bed of coal with only a thin layer (if any) of fresh coal on top, including the area under the hopper. This lessens somewhat when I shake the grates and fresh coal drops onto the bed, but by the next shaking it's back up there again. It's starting to look more like the photos I've seen of hand-fired stoves where you have a full glowing bed of coals. Of course this may be due to me burning with the restrictor open rather than the outside temps; it just seemed to start when the daytime temps began to stay in the 40s and 50s (which is also when I figured out I had to leave the restrictor open).
Looking forward to everyone else's results....