When I was doing an inspection earlier this fall the people were replacing this VC Intrepid II throwing it away for their new Harmon Pellet stove. I thought about if for a while then took them up on their offer. I knew this was manufactured at the time when the original VC craftsmen were stilled employed. Knowing it was at the peak of their quality production. I also knew it was pre EPA, but VC had anticipated the EPA regs, and built their stoves to Oregon Specs that were actually EPA regs. This applies to the Cat Intrepid line, manufactured from 1987 forward. Originally the blue ceramic was chipped, not ugly and not bad but considering it free, a no brainier. I knew It would require new gasketing what I did not plan on was a total disassembly and rebuild. With a dust hood, respirator, and blowgun I decided to clean it and blow it out. 110 LBS of air pressure created a dust cloud. so much so, the dust actually escaped out the refectory seams. It exposed all gasket leaks as well. At this point, I knew I it required much more than gasketing. I took it a part. Using ratchet load bands and bar clamps. I was able to scrape and apply refactory cement and seal all the seams. The clamps allow me to hold it in place as I bolted it back together and to keep joints aligned. Yes I did snap off some bolts, which I drilled out, and re- threaded the sockets. Actually, other than two tubes of refactory caulk and gaskets, few bolts and pan screws, and including a new Combustor Combusters.com $59, total cost under $100. Combuster.com replacement has worked better than planned. Been burning with it for 2 weeks, practically no smoke exits the chimney. This VC stove is surprising me. It performs better than I ever expected. The Cat definitely extends the burn times. I am still regulating the primary air flow and damper cat working the heat and burn time. have read the burn time threads and there should be some qualifying info of how, their stoves are used and even loaded. If I am around I never load it to the gills but add a few pieces as needed to sustain temps. Last night load it 10:45. Open the air up get it going good 500 plus degrees. 11:00 shut the damper down and move the air to 1/4 open position. 11:30 throw 2 smaller splits in, stove temp around 500 now room temp 74 outside 21. This morning 7:00 stove still at 450 room at 72 outside 18. Open damper expose the coals open the air full, throw 3 small splits in, fire revived and burning healthy in 15 minutes. I never was able to sustain that heat level that long before the combustor replacement Realistically good volume of heat with combustor and 1⁄4 to1/3 air 6 hours at no lower than 450 degrees. Not bad for a stove close to 16 years old $100. Behind the stove is real cobble stone 6” to 8” thick, extending floor to ceiling. The raise hearth is one cobblestone high. Packed sand in the middle and a 2.5” bead of mortar, where I installed 2” thick blue stone. I basically had 4 2/2” squares used the full size and had only to cut the middle triangle the outside pieces were 1 by 4’ which I cut the 22.5degree angles. Lot of work and a lot of trial runs to get it to look right.