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Author Topic: Maple sugaring 2021  (Read 19032 times)

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Offline celliott

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Maple sugaring 2021
« on: December 23, 2020, 07:50:25 PM »
I know 2021 isnít here yet and most of you guys arenít thinking about sap for another 3 months anyways but itís time to start this thread.

Iíll have to add pictures later. Newborn baby and I gotta be up at 3:30 maybe sooner, Iím in bed in 15 minutes lol

We started tapping last Thursday the 15th. We currently have about 24,000 tapped. We also set ourselves up so we could better isolate sections of our system with valves, and we have been leak checking the last few days for what we had tapped. Even though itís frozen and no sap, if the gauge isnít pegged, thereís leaks we can find. Gets a big jump start on it when sap actually starts, weíll already be at a higher level of vacuum and get to peak quicker, maximizing production earlier in the season. So we got our 18,000 tap D system that runs to the sugarhouse checked once over and up to 27.5Ē. Weíve tapped a little on our 23,000 tap B system and have that checked too.

Weíre getting a steam evaporater this year. It should be set up before the end of the year although we will get some sap tomorrow and Christmas. We can RO and chill it.
Steam pan is a 6x10, and will do more GPH than both the 7x20 rigs. 400hp boiler, weíll get a 2nd 6x10 pan eventually and thatíll do probably close to 200,000 taps if we ever get that many.

Busy busy, Iíve drilled about 3600 so far. No snowshoes is sweet.
Chris Elliott

Clark 666C cable skidder
Husqvarna and Jonsered pro saws
265rx clearing saw
Professional maple tubing installer and maple sugaring worker, part time logger

Offline doc henderson

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Re: Maple sugaring 2021
« Reply #1 on: December 23, 2020, 08:00:01 PM »
what i have read is we can start in mid Jan. in Ks.  so can you start in the fall, or is the sugar better at the end of winter? 
timberking B 2000, 277c track loader, PJ 32 foot gooseneck, 1976 F700 state dump truck, JD 850 tractor.  2007 Chevy 3500HD dually, home built log splitter 18 horse 28 gpm with 5 inch cylinder and 32 inch split range with conveyor 12 volt tarp motor

Offline celliott

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Re: Maple sugaring 2021
« Reply #2 on: December 24, 2020, 05:17:06 AM »
We start in December not hoping for any sap till February. Simply out of necessity to get it all done by early February. Some tap in the fall and make syrup, sugar is much lower however.
A brand new spout each year, proper vacuum management (once sap starts never shut the vacuum pump off) and high, high vacuum keeps tapholes viable for a long time. Last year we had trees drilled December 14th that ran April 20th.
Gravity or buckets, open air, about 4-6 weeks is tops. The bacteria starts to signal the tree that it has a wound and needs to heal. All the steps we take are to prevent bacteria as much as possible.
Chris Elliott

Clark 666C cable skidder
Husqvarna and Jonsered pro saws
265rx clearing saw
Professional maple tubing installer and maple sugaring worker, part time logger

Offline SwampDonkey

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Re: Maple sugaring 2021
« Reply #3 on: December 24, 2020, 05:54:50 AM »
That'll keep a man and his crew busy. :)
ďNo amount of belief makes something a fact.Ē James Randi

1 Thessalonians 5:21

Offline stavebuyer

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Re: Maple sugaring 2021
« Reply #4 on: December 24, 2020, 06:05:19 AM »
Fascinating. Very diverse group here!

Offline moodnacreek

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Re: Maple sugaring 2021
« Reply #5 on: December 24, 2020, 08:05:26 AM »
Anybody doing cedar oil or tan bark?

Offline doc henderson

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Re: Maple sugaring 2021
« Reply #6 on: December 24, 2020, 08:56:39 AM »
we got our bourbon barrel syrup on Monday and it was great.  made waffles just cause we wanted to try it!
timberking B 2000, 277c track loader, PJ 32 foot gooseneck, 1976 F700 state dump truck, JD 850 tractor.  2007 Chevy 3500HD dually, home built log splitter 18 horse 28 gpm with 5 inch cylinder and 32 inch split range with conveyor 12 volt tarp motor

Offline Corley5

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Re: Maple sugaring 2021
« Reply #7 on: December 24, 2020, 10:14:40 AM »
  Over the holiday I need to inventory my fittings, valves, etc. and put together an order.  We'll need more 5/16" but I want to use up what we've got before I order more of it.  1 1/4" for the wet/dry extension is needed but it's a short piece at the far end of the system and I'm going to source black line from HD.  There's more than enough 3/4" to do the five new main lines that are brushed and have wire tensioned ready to hang the tubing.  That's what I'm thinking will happen Saturday.  Zach has almost all the new spiles installed in the existing 1250 taps so all that needs doing there is tapping.  Still have to order the oil burner for the arch and build a plate to replace the door and other things related to switching to fuel oil from wood.  We're going with a Carlin 601 burner.
  Not sure how many taps are in the new addition.  I was thinking 700-800 but there are more than a few ripe veneer quality trees that we'll tap around.  That'll reduce the number of taps.  
I'm thinking we'll tap the middle of February.
Burnt Gunpowder is the Smell Of Freedom

Offline mike_belben

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Re: Maple sugaring 2021
« Reply #8 on: December 24, 2020, 01:12:03 PM »
How does one decide when to tap and how many taps one tree can support?
Isaiah 63:10

Offline celliott

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Re: Maple sugaring 2021
« Reply #9 on: December 24, 2020, 04:19:09 PM »
How does one decide when to tap and how many taps one tree can support?
Typically the when part is a guess on when your first run will be, and need to be done a little before that. Historically the first run dates average out. Ours is typically mid to late February but the biggest part of our season is April. One year we made 3/4 of our yearly crop in 2.5 weeks in April. 
Need to factor time needed and available help into the equation. We hopefully will get done around the first week of February. Ideally we would wait longer but with so many to do itís just not possible. If we get a huge snowstorm our daily production drops significantly.

Tapping guidelines vary but in general you want the tree to be able to sustainably heal the stained unproductive wood and still leave fresh wood to tap. A good rule of thumb is 10Ē minimum, much smaller and youíll run out of tappable wood after a few years. We put two on 24Ē+ trees or multi stem trees. Never 3 anymore. 5/16 holes, heal way faster than old 7/16 bucket spouts.
Chris Elliott

Clark 666C cable skidder
Husqvarna and Jonsered pro saws
265rx clearing saw
Professional maple tubing installer and maple sugaring worker, part time logger

Offline celliott

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Re: Maple sugaring 2021
« Reply #10 on: December 24, 2020, 05:37:32 PM »
Just some random pics from work.

The hound likes to come along. Plenty of exercise for him.
New 6x6, nothing else works for us like these buggyís do. Workhorses.


We started using a different color dropline tubing for our end trees. Might not seem like much but helps positively identify the end of the line and helps to prevent a dead end tee from being cut in where it shouldnít. 
Yellow spouts this year, no confusion in case a red one from last year was missed.


Edge of our system, looking towards Lowell wind towers


Tap tap tap




Electro fusion saddle and valve off our 3Ē airline to run a vacuum line to a small 2800 tap lift station.




The big road crossing. Snowing before Halloween.








Brought 3 1Ēx1000ft coils, probably 120lbs each, 100lb coil of wire, fittings, two guys, probably 700lbs of stuff. Steep hill. Workhorse.




22 rolls of 5/16




We tap those hills




The real workhorses of the show. High brix ROís capable of taking 2% sap to 30% at over 100gpm permeate, 6 gpm 30% concentrate. Weíre getting a third one this year.




Filtered liquid gold




The two 7x20ís. These will be replaced by a 6x10 steam pan that will do more than the two combined!




Fueling the upper station 




28.5Ē is darn near perfect vacuum for a tubing system 




Nice section of woods




Skandic loaded up 




Fusion saddles to tie in a small system




2Ē pipe uncoiled and ready to be pulled into place.




The big main system 




Pulling mainline pipe




Tracks for 6x6. Slow but goes through a lot of snow.


3Ē wet/dry system. Needs a lot of support.




My little man. Canít believe itís been 2 months already!




Yum pancakes 🥞 


Chris Elliott

Clark 666C cable skidder
Husqvarna and Jonsered pro saws
265rx clearing saw
Professional maple tubing installer and maple sugaring worker, part time logger

Offline btulloh

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Re: Maple sugaring 2021
« Reply #11 on: December 24, 2020, 06:02:45 PM »
Very interesting. Thanks for taking the time to post those pics. 

Glad to see you know the right butter to pancake ratio. Some people think one little pat of butter is enough!

Offline celliott

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Re: Maple sugaring 2021
« Reply #12 on: December 24, 2020, 06:34:59 PM »
Very interesting. Thanks for taking the time to post those pics.

Glad to see you know the right butter to pancake ratio. Some people think one little pat of butter is enough!
And not enough people make their pancakes float in the syrup lol come on guys, we make enough, drench them flapjacks!
Chris Elliott

Clark 666C cable skidder
Husqvarna and Jonsered pro saws
265rx clearing saw
Professional maple tubing installer and maple sugaring worker, part time logger

Offline Walnut Beast

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Re: Maple sugaring 2021
« Reply #13 on: December 24, 2020, 07:44:31 PM »
Pretty neat pictures of everything 👍

Offline doc henderson

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Re: Maple sugaring 2021
« Reply #14 on: December 24, 2020, 08:29:27 PM »
nice to see how the big boys do it.  we will do it as a novelty here, but I often get carried away with the whole "small" idea.
timberking B 2000, 277c track loader, PJ 32 foot gooseneck, 1976 F700 state dump truck, JD 850 tractor.  2007 Chevy 3500HD dually, home built log splitter 18 horse 28 gpm with 5 inch cylinder and 32 inch split range with conveyor 12 volt tarp motor

Offline mike_belben

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Re: Maple sugaring 2021
« Reply #15 on: December 24, 2020, 08:53:18 PM »
Good Lord. 
Isaiah 63:10

Offline celliott

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Re: Maple sugaring 2021
« Reply #16 on: December 24, 2020, 09:46:59 PM »
nice to see how the big boys do it.  we will do it as a novelty here, but I often get carried away with the whole "small" idea.
Be careful Doc, thatís how it starts. For some reason sugaring does that. Start out with a few buckets and a flat pan on the grill, next you get a 2x6 rig, start thinking vacuum pumps and ROís and bigger evaporater, then you need more taps to feed it, itís a vicious cycle lol
I believe we are currently the 6th or 7th biggest operation in the US, counting our other sugarhouse, we boil from this season 130,000 taps.
Our Eden facility I believe (not totally sure) is the biggest single operation that doesnít truck any sap. It all either runs direct or gets pumped to the sugarhouse. At peak capacity right now, we can receive over 170 gallons of sap per minute, if itís a hard run. We sustained 155gpm for about 5 hours one day last year. That was a hard running day.
I have fun, I like my job a lot.
I also started hanging a few milk jugs and boiling on the grill. Loved our annual visits to my great uncles sugarhouse, eating toast cooked in the fire with fresh syrup. Please donít let the scale of where I work overshadow any smaller or hobby operations from posting. I like to see your stuff too. I enjoy sharing my pictures and work experiences and enjoy reading about other peoples seasons, strategies, and setups. 
Remember we all make the same stuff. Delicious 100% pure maple syrup!
Chris Elliott

Clark 666C cable skidder
Husqvarna and Jonsered pro saws
265rx clearing saw
Professional maple tubing installer and maple sugaring worker, part time logger

Offline Walnut Beast

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Re: Maple sugaring 2021
« Reply #17 on: December 25, 2020, 01:00:30 AM »
My only experience was I took a horse 🐎 trailer to Minnesota to a brother of a friend of mine with my 1947 Willyís 4wd Jeep truck. He had a place around Ottertail lake. Well he wasnít around but I stayed at his cabin with my German Shepherd Bruno. His hippie friend came over and said letís make some money and get some Maple 🍁 syrup. So John had a ton of 5 gallon buckets and taps and we put them out on all his trees. Put a big tank in my Willyís truck and filled up several times. Drove over to this guys that had the big cooker. We each got some cash and a bunch of maple syrup. The guy was always amazed that from Johns place he would get very neat looking crystals that would form in the bottom of the mason jars. I did remember that it needs to freeze and then get above freezing to get the sap to run. I think  (Iím no expert 😂) 

Offline SwampDonkey

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Re: Maple sugaring 2021
« Reply #18 on: December 25, 2020, 06:51:03 AM »
Great operation. Lots to keep busy at for sure with all that tubing and processing equipment. ;D

In comparison, Zak Hargrove at South Ridge Maple, And his father Gus at Canadian Organic Maple in Divide, NB tap 250,000 trees combined.  Zak and his father Gus are engineers. The two sites are not far from one another, basically from one ridge of hills to the other. I know they said they are working toward being the biggest single producer of maple syrup products.
ďNo amount of belief makes something a fact.Ē James Randi

1 Thessalonians 5:21

Offline 51cub

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Re: Maple sugaring 2021
« Reply #19 on: December 25, 2020, 06:56:52 AM »
Thank you for the pictures! They do make me want to get more involved again though
I believe in the hereafter, because every time I take two steps into the tool crib to get something I wonder " what did I come in here after"

If nothing else I'm always a good last resort or the guy to hold up as a bad example


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