I have burned in a 3 Wood/Coal this winter to test one for a friend. The 5 we are using has no coal grates, so we hand rake also. If you burn wood, you cannot control the creosote, and we are burning oak flooring (unfinished - got wet in a warehouse, got it for the trucking...) We start with that for base coals, and add nut coal as required. It is not a pretty situation to be sure, but it does make btu's, but ashing is another story...as you know! My recommendation is to burn the LEAST amount of wood you can, and at your leisure, look at stokers. The 'Fire Cmpany' should be in your speed dial if you burn wood that isn't absolutely dry. The manual clearly explains this problem and suggests you burn a few bags of anthracite if it gets too bad.