The most important thing is to make sure your wood is dry. It takes
up lots of energy to dry off wood in the stove before it will burn.
All or most of the combustion air should be admitted on or above the
fire level (not under, that is for coal and brickets)
Dense heavy hardwoods are best but you've gotta burn what you've got.
If your wood is light when it's dry, you're just gonna need lots of
When your stove is up to temperature, there should be no visible
emmissions from the chimney. If there are, your wood is wet or there
is a problem with the design of the chimney. The upper portion of the
chimney needs to be insulated.
Depending on the design of your stove, the lower portion may need to
be uninsulated to release additional heat into the room. See