Random thoughts . . . Oh if only Dennis was here to defend catalytic combustor stoves . . . I know if he was here he would say something about not ruling out stoves with cats and then would go on to espouse Woodstock's stove line . . . (and to be honest, while I still love my Jotul I am quite excited to check out the new stove this weekend.) Hehheh . . . I really enjoyed the debate on steel vs. cast iron and overfiring. Rebuilding vs. welding . . . personally it's a whole lot simpler to just avoid over-firing your stove regardless of what type it is . . . avoid this and I think you should get many years of reliable service out of any type of stove. And yes, there may be an occasional over-fire, but I suspect that it is with regular over-firing that you will have problems. I am biased towards one of the three stoves the OP mentioned . . . the Jotul F-600. I do not honestly know enough about the other stoves to say anything pro- or con- about them and I will readily admit that my experience has been with the Firelight's younger brother the Oslo -- although this seems to mostly be just a smaller version of the same stove. One thing I have seen with just about every Jotul stove made is that the name is synonymous with reliability. If you take the time to check out the stove ratings section here at hearth.com I suspect you will find very few issues with the F-600 . . . or most any other stove in the Jotul line up. These are tough stoves . . . they look good . . . but they heat even better than they look. Side loading . . . a very nice feature. It is rare that I open my front door other than to clean it once every week or so . . . and typically it is just to remove the fly ash off the glass which I can do with a wet cloth or damp newspaper. As mentioned, if a person is getting a black glass they may have issues with unseasoned wood, draft, unseasoned wood, they are closing the air control too quickly or too much, unseasoned wood or in my own case once in a while a split will roll up against the glass and cause that area to blacken up . . . a situation fixed on my next burn. Incidentally, to burn off the gunk you would not "crank it wide open" as this sounds as though you would leave the air control open all the way resulting in lots of active flames, but rather once the temp is up you start closing down the air to achieve a secondary burn at which time the stove really cranks and the magic happens. Good luck with whatever stove you opt to buy . . . and welcome to the forum. Oh yeah . . . one more thing . . . these are not the stoves you're looking for.