Hopefully never, but please feel free to show me where any helpful info is hiding. Here's my story:
Last year I burned a couple of bags of coal in my garage stove. It's an old parlor stove called a Round Oak. Very cool stove and this encouraged me to look into a stove that I could burn wood and coal inside the house as there was no way I was going to just burn oil this year.
So this summer I bought an Elmira Oval with coal set up and I got it for a fair price. I got a cook stove because 1) it burns both wood and coal, 2) we can use it to heat and cook on in the event of a power failure and not rely on the grid. 3) it's a nice stove and should I decide to sell it it should hold it's value to at least get my money back.
Early October I finally got around to cleaning it up, getting the pipe hooked up after the chimney in the house was inspected and repaired correctly.
By late October I was burning wood in it to get a handle on it and make sure there wasn't any glaring problems.
Saturday I went to a local yard and bought 6 bags of Blachack (sp) coal and tried it out. All in all, things went good. I'm at work right now, who knows if the wife has done anything with the stove.
Lessons learned so far:
I should have tried to research more stoves before buying one, but that's life. This one will do what I want, but I have run across 4 or 5 models that seem a better fit for my needs.
I should have inspected the stove much better and made sure it was ready to go. I assumed it was because the PO had used it in their home. I now realize I have to replace bricks and inserts and I probably could have negociated the price accordingly.
You can't be too safe when it comes to solid fuel heating. GET A NEW carbon monixide and smoke detector. Install the stove pipe properly.
Take your time getting things working right, have a back up plan. I have a full tank of heating oil for the furnace so I don't have to force this to work.
Learn everything you can, and then keep asking questions.
Specific annoying newbie questions to follow...