Been my experience, once you try weldedseam SS flue pipe, you won’t ever go back to the other options. I guess it is the insulative quality of stainless, that at least on my stove, the creasoate build-up, is reduced by more than 50% compared to running plain stove pipe. Wish I had a catalyst on my stove, for reducing creasoate build-up, probably nearly eliminating it. I burn around 2 cord a year.
I use a 1/4" hardware cloth type spark arrestor, in the rain cap, with a homemade ‘ember collection tray’…probably sounds over protective, but, flying sparks is not my idea of fun. Most store bought spark arrestors use 1/2" holes , I guess Calif. standard is 3/8" holes…give that 1/4" a try, it is easy to clean and will clog up quicker, but …that is the point.
Bill S. you said something about banging around on your flue, to dislodge creasoate build-up, you might thing about scraping it out. Do you remember JO’s house boiler service video?—well he made a special sheetmetal scraper to clean his apparatus. I think he has the right idea when it comes to scraping stubborn deposits. I made my scraper in less than an hour, out of a piece of sturdy ‘cone or bell shaped’ sheet metal, and hooked it to an long piece of 3/8" all-thread rod, the cost was minimal…the cone shape sheetmetal cuts the build-up on the down stroke. As for me, I insulated the flue, above the roofline almost up to the rain cap, about 2" all the way around the flue, I think this keeps flue temps. as high as possible till it exits, which I think generally helps reduce build-up in the flue, I know for sure it stops excessive icicle build up from stove pipe melted snow.
That new stove is a big improvement in heat value, and looks nice also. As for drying your wood, ‘air stack it’, you know 2 pieces down one way, then 2 pieces crosswise, all the way down the line, this will make your stack, twice or even 3 times bigger than regular stacked, but if you gotta get the stuff dried quick and you have the room, air stack it, especially if you have more than 1 row of wood, I regular stack mine 5 or 6 rows deep, and air will not go thru it. But if air stacked you will get better firewood.