I inherited this stove when I moved into my house. No manual included! I have learned a lot about it, much from this forum. I am really happy with the stove, but that said, have no experience with other stove models. I have only burned nut. I would think burning anything larger would be fine, but smaller may pose a problem with it falling through the grate. I will save you a couple of head scratching moments. It is true that the ash pan door can NOT be opened unless the "fill" door is open. My best guess is that the is a safety feature to prevent over firing. The ashpan only has 3 sides, to act as a "shovel" when you put it back into the stove. A fourth side would cause damming of ash at the back of the stove. It is quite possibly the worst design in the world, so plan accordingly for a messy extraction of ash from the stove to your disposal site.