I burn a mixture of ash, birch, maple and oak. You must have a big stove with a big ash drawer to clean it once a year! Our stove is an indoor DAKA stove. I know outdoor boilers are a bit different. I never clean the ash out of the burn chamber (to protect the fire brick) but do clean the drawer once a week (and chimney every 6 weeks).True. I burn about 95% larch and 5% doug fir. But our old wood stove had to be cleaned out 2 or 3 times a winter.
and as religar's list shows, it does work great when stuck! i keep a bucket in the plow truck!