Here's a link to the manual from Harman if you don't have it.http://www.harmanstoves.com/doc/marksm.pdf
You should see many posts here giving lots of help, but basically
you want to start out with a nice wood fire.. hardwood,, not pine etc.,
and once that fire is going good, start adding coal a little bit at a time
and let it go until the coal is starting to turn red, and burning nicely, then
add a little more coal. (patience is key!) with a couple good shovels of coal, the stove should
start to warm up, and the bed of coal will glow orange. once that coal is all
nice and orangeish, and the fire is seeming good and hot, you could add more
coal until you fill it to the top of the firebrick. it would end up sloping down
to the front gradually. depending on your draft (the pull up the chimney from
the heat of the chimney) the fire will require more or less air thru the control
know on the lower ash door. most people are 1- 2.5 turns opened once there is
an established fire. you shouldn't have to poke or shake this new fire until you go
10-12 hrs, then we get into the shaking/reloading procedure. poking usually doesn't
need to happen until a few days into the burn when some ash may build up, usually in
the front of the stove where the bed of coal stays shallower.
i guess i could write all day.... best thing is to spend some time reading the info on these
boards, as there are lots of experienced people here.
and welcome to the coal forum!