Hey, I'm new here, but I have been surfing around trying to learn before I posted. I bought a house and it has this stove in it but I am sure I am not suing it properly. A friend saw the instal and said it looked really nice, custom apparently (the vent stack). Anyway, I am a total newbie to using a wood stove and I am trying to understand the basics. I downloaded the owners manual but am still left with many questions. The stack/vent pipe has a thermometer in it, but from what I gather I should get another one to put on the griddle to help me decide how to run it. The main thing about the manual that left me wanting confirmation was about closing the damper. Is that not how the smoke gets out? I understand (now) you can get a second burn, but if I am reading the manual correct it says to close the damper (http://www.stovesandspas.com/pdf/resoluteacclaim.pdf) totally (I think once the griddle is over 400 degrees F. WHat happens as that falls though?). I can get a good fire going if I pack the stove. The heat it throws off is good for a while, but I have to frequently replenish the wood. I read about people getting heat for 6 hrs or more and I am no where near that. I am sure I am burning thru the wood too fast, but it seems to need that to keep the heat up. I fully attribute that to user error. I am open to any and all suggestions. Here is what I have been doing thus far. Light the fire, wood stacked up about half full with staggering for air gaps. Damper open, airflow lever on the bottom all the way to the right (fully open I believe), door open a crack. Fire can usually get roaring pretty good after a bit, then I close the door. Basically that is all I have been doing. Sometimes I will close down on the lever on the bottom, sometimes I need to open the door the again again to get it hot. Some specific questions I do have - can I really close the damper? What temp (at the stack, or the griddle) should I be looking to attain, and what steps should I take once I attain it? Should I always have a flame, or am I just looking for glowing embers? When is the proper time to add wood? I have read people here talking about the first burn, then reloading. I usually just add a piece or two when it looks low and there are not a lot of flames or wood left to get a good burn. We are in the single digits this week and I figure it is about time I get some of the value out of this stove besides the asthetics. Thank you in advance for any thoughts or suggestions. Oh, and I see that a lot of people feel this is not the best stove. This specific stove is several years old, maybe many years old. In any event, be that as it may, is is what I have at the current time.