Well, it appears the writing is on the wall people. After 1/2 a dozen attempts, or so, I've come to the realization that my Surdiac 513 only has the capacity to burn no longer than approx 5-6 hours, before the grates clog themselves with ash, and the fire begins to wane. I've played with intake and exhaust damper settings, and have woken to an intake damper wide open, and a very ugly bed of a 1/3, dull red, coal fire surrounded by 2/3 full pile of klinkers, and a hopper loaded with waiting to light fresh coal. Once I clean the grates of powdered and packed grey ash,(which allows the fresh coal to drop onto the cleaned grates), and leave my ash pan door open for about 10-15 mins, the bed becomes the highly desirable color of yellow and orange, and enough heat to make global warming look like an after thought.
I originally was under the impression I was losing the draft, but now because I've found the ash covered air pockets through and around the grates are just choking off the air supply., and the intake damper is wide open, then I can only assume if the grates aren't manually cleaned every 3-4 hrs, I will be rewarded with a wasted pile of waiting to burn Blaschak anthracite pea coal, laying inside my Surdiac hopper, with no chance of ever finding a healthy burning bed of coals. My only glimmer of hope is to either find some type of coal that will produce less ash, or peel off some sections of my glass door gasket to allow a little more "controlled(?) bleeding of fresh air.
To any and all who have already known about this stove, I appreciate you allowing me to lavish in the thoughts that I could be heating my home the entire heating season, without ever needing to deprive myself of an 8 hr sleeping session. That being said, I guess I need to accept the fact, this stove is good for daytime weekend heating only, where someone can tend to the coal bed every couple hrs or so, and clean it out Sunday morning, reload, and refire . Or if you have a weak bladder, and need to visit the john every so often in the wee hrs of the nite, (morning?), then it could also prove beneficial. As for me, I'll live with it this season, and maybe look for one of those "really cool" looking nostalgic Kenwoods, or such, to occupy my new stove surround and piping I just fabricated and installed last season. Now, as my stove has begun to act in a manner we all all know and love, with a clean set of grates and a fresh supply of incoming air providing a proud looking bed of coal, I will attempt to recover a few lost hours of Sunday morning sleep. Take care all.