Ok, I believe I've made another mistake, but in typical male fashion, I am probably going to push on and make another one. I bought a small 860 sq. foot house which I intend to make into a rental. It had a really old and very large wood stove that seemed to be made out of tin it was so light, but it does have a perfectly good 8" chimney stove pipe that goes into a double walled pipe through the attic, so I thought if I could get another stove which took an 8" pipe I would be ok. So, one Saturday morning I am looking at Craigslist and there's a guy selling one who lives just 3 miles down the road. I have not heard anything good or bad about Vermont Castings, but they obviously look very cool and I don't even know how much a person will use it if they're only renting, so I bought it. The guy that sold it to me knew a little about wood stoves and he pointed out that the damper had lost one of the pegs that allowed it to go up or down properly, meaning that the previous owner had probably left it burning wide open for awhile. I thought this would be easy to fix or else I would just do the same, let it burn at all out all the time. Somewhere along the line the linkage to the damper came undone, so we took off the side cover and finally my son decided to just take out the plates along the back wall. There was a top and a bottom piece and once the top one was out I took the linkage piece into the hardware store to get a fastener so it would not come apart again. I could see that this styrofoam piece that the catalytic combuster sits in was very fragile, with the top of it already breaking off into pieces. As I was trying to get those two plates back in and screwed down I ended up damaging it further. Luckily (I thought) we have a very good Vermont Castings dealer within 25 miles so I would just add this to my order for a damper replacement. I had already purchased the oval to round adapter from them. Then I found out from the dealer that this is the refractory assembly and it was going to be $210 + tax + shipping, which would bring it up to about a $250 part. I had saved all the pieces so I asked them if I could just put it back together with duct tape :lol: but they said that wouldn't work at all. Maybe, maybe they said it could be cemented back together, but that would be a poor substitute. The catalytic combuster looks pretty good - it has one little piece of the honeycomb broken near the corner, but it probably is original equipment. The refractory assembly is fine at the bottom, it's the top part that surrounds the catalytic combustor that is Then I found this site and lots of people who say these stoves have some drawbacks. They are expensive (I'm beginning to see that now :ahhh: ) and they can be difficult to run if you're not familiar with wood burning. And then if you have air leaks they can be hard to fix and can run too hot and so on. I paid $200 for the stove itself. I have invested about $100 in stove pipe and replacement parts so far. I am inclined to just go ahead and buy the refractory assembly rather than piece it back together. I am hoping that the catalytic combuster can be salvaged. One thing that is sort of disturbing though is that as I had it all apart and was shop vaccing the inside behind that wall I was finding something that looked like metal ingots. Not sure where they originally came from, but it looked like melted steel. The real question I have is - is there any chance that after I buy all these parts and put it back together that it will work as it was originally intended? Or will I be fighting air leaks and so on. From my naive point of view, other than needing this refractory assembly and possibly a new cat, it looks to be in good shape. It doesn't "appear" to have any warpage, but maybe I don't know what to look for? I do expect it to be used very lightly as the house is super small and generally those who rent don't have the means to haul in firewood. I' feeling a little bit overwhelmed, but it seems like I'm committed now...what should I look for to help me decide if I should just back away from this one. The thing is so heavy it's probably worth $200 in scrap, but it's so cool looking I hate to just give up on it.