Somewhere around 350°F the cracks started to open up. I haven’t seen any smoke come from any of them. Should I grind these out and re-mortar, or will they just come back? I assume these are normal expansion cracks and nothing to worry about?

Also, last night when I first fired it up and was getting a lot of smoke through the chimney, the stainless thermal break face got pretty hot and broke free from the mortar as the metal started to curl a bit. It was a pretty loud pop, scared me a bit till I figured out what it was. You can see the separation in the photo. Once it cooled off it came right back but I’m going to have to come up with something to prevent that or I’ll never get a good seal there.

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