I burned a 1977 VC Vigilant(next size down) in my old house for 5yrs. before getting an Avalon Olympic. Family friends in my home town burned a mid70's defiant untill they sold the house 2 yrs ago . Lot a heat, lot a wood. I also used up draft initially for few months untill i figured out how much better the down draft was. Fill it up, char all the wood for maybe 30min. close the damper and come back in 8-10 hrs. to add wood. I had decent draft so it worked well and I don't think I could haver over fired it in down draft mode if I tried. I did find it easy to over fire in updraft with a short lapse in att. ie dogs, kid, football. The one thing I didn't like was the daily removal of charcoal like chunks that never burned all the way. My Olympic burned to a very fine ash and usually needed removal only once a week with 24/7 burning. News stoves = much less work and someless wood. If I had to replace again I would seriously look at Englander 30 at Home Depot for $800. You would spend 3x as much and maybe not get a better stove. I put one in my Sister and brother in laws place and it runs great. They burn 24/7 from like Oct-april or may. They have a big old house outside of Ithaca NY. The thing made me regret paying $2200 for my Olympic, though mine did look a little better, I thought. You can get gold legs and doors for it from web site. I wouldn't spend to much on the VC after using newer stoves. My VC also developed a crack in the fireback. I called around for a while to several places inc. local VC dealer and no one could help. I didn't know about this site 4yrs ago.