We have been in the sweet spot for this stove (with my setup, layout and heat retention that my house possesses) for about a week. It’s been 40-50 for the highs, 30s for the lows. This little bugger shines here in that range. That’s honestly about our average winter temps. It could handle a little cooler as I’ve not been pushing it at all. In this range, I don’t hate the lack of user air controls and haven’t touched the flue damper. I just load it and go about my business or go run some errands. Those record lows a few weeks ago had me struggling, but I’d like to experiment with those conditions some more with different wood and or loading schedules. We just don’t see it like that too often.
I’ve been burning a nice split or two (small ones) during the day, and feeding it every 2-3 hrs. As the evening sets in, I’ll give it two splits about every three hours or so.
Last nite I put in three splits around midnight and let it do it’s thing.
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I woke up around 4am and checked it. I still had good coals, could have reloaded but didn’t. I finally got up for good at 6, and the house was 69F with outside temps in the mid 30s. SST was maybe around 250F and the flue probe was 225.
I take the rake and pull the coals up, then I like to nestle the rake into the ash under the coals just behind the air vents and shove the ash bed all the way to the back wall. Two or three stokes of this method, then pull the coals off the surface back to the front leaves me with an ash bed in the back, and all the coals are piled up front at the air vent. I dropped on two smallish splits, that should cary me until late morning. They light right up without fussing with kindling.
The next two nights are going to dip down into the upper 20s. I suspect I’ll have no trouble, but the early morning inside temps will probably be closer to 65F if I don’t get an early morning reload in the wee hours.
Also, the little smudge pot works great as a steamer. It had some really awful chemical smells when initially seasoning and the first round of steaming with it. I had to take it outside and burn it off for a couple hours over charcoal. About an hour in, it just quit stinking, but I let it go a while longer. After it cooled I re-seasoned it in the oven with no detectable smell.
About 1-2 times a day I too it off. I filled it last night, and it’s half way empty this morning. It is shaped right and of an adequate size to allow me to put my thermometer on the actual cook plate, which gives me the hottest, most accurate readings compared to my IR. I’ve been steaming cinnamon, orange and clove water, and it’s quite pleasant when the scent catches you from time to time.
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