There seems to be regular mention of people who have to turn the stove down because the heat is excessive. I don't know if I'm misunderstanding or missing something altogether, but my stove gives out the greatest heat when the flames are turned down?
We let it burn for 15-20 minutes or so with all the vents open, and then once all the wood is charred/blackened close them down (not right down) until the flames are just flickering, and watch the thermometer go up and up - far more heat coming off then when the flames are roaring, that's just going straight up the chimney.
No soot build up this way either, the sweep got about a cup full of soot after one winters use when he swept it last.
At bed time we open everything up again so it burns out quickly.