All's well that ends well. Even when I had this stove "professionally serviced" by the tech from the local independent dealer (Woodstove Warehouse) all he did was brush and ShopVac the heat exchanger. The same thing I've been doing up to this point. Granted this teardown was a 12 hour ordeal, I was hand scrubbing parts in the kitchen sink, wire wheeling every bolt and screw, and retapping every threaded hole for ease of reassembly. That's how I do things, nothing ever get slapped back together without 100% attention to detail. That's why the 12 hours. Sandblasting the heat exchanger wasn't totally needed but I was after brand new performance. I might have a 5-10% heat output with that, maybe a little less I dunno but in my own mind it was worth it.