Rust is a factor with anything burning coal. I have replaced a few 20+ year old Alaskas but have only run across few that were rusted really bad. All the old Alaska stoves were made with 12 gauge steel (about .109). It's like anything else and how you take care of it. A little known fact is when cleaning your stove at the end of the burning season, always clean your pipes and stove with baking soda and warm water on a spounge and this will neutralize the acid in the fly ash. After cleaning your pipes, stuff them with crinkled up newspaper to absorb any humidity in the summer. Always unhook your pipes from the chimney in the off season so no moisture will get into the stove. Burning oiled coal is another way to help prevent rust. Stainless is WAY TO EXPENSIVE. Our power vent is made from 316 stainless and has increased to me over $42.00 this year alone. On our burn area, grate, it is made out of cast iron. Our grate is a really heavy duty item, weighing about 33lbs. I think it's over structured but in 11 years we have never had one back. Now that you made me give up 30+ years of secrets I'll go back to building stoves.