OK tmegg, then it's hopperless and set up like the VgII but inconvienant to access the lower grate section to clean.
Mine can be shaken well and the tops of the grates can be sliced with the knife. With your saw tooth grates you can't easily slice horizontally, under the coal bed. That's probably why they went to the next version so fast, with the pan and door under the floor, so ya can poke up with something to clean the crud.
Ya the new brands of stoves may be a lot less fickle in that regard, I couldn't tell you. I think that's what you're really getting at with this thread and hope you find the answer. I read the threads of the new makes of stoves here looking for a better stove, but since I had 2 VC's, already the expense at this time didn't warrant a new one
Have you watched VigII PeaBurner's video on how he tends his VII?
Ahhhh the quest for the perfect stove!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1 Is there such a thing?