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General Forestry => General Board => Topic started by: celliott on December 23, 2020, 07:50:25 PM

Title: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: celliott 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.
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: doc henderson 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? 
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: celliott 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.
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: SwampDonkey on December 24, 2020, 05:54:50 AM
That'll keep a man and his crew busy. :)
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: stavebuyer on December 24, 2020, 06:05:19 AM
Fascinating. Very diverse group here!
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: moodnacreek on December 24, 2020, 08:05:26 AM
Anybody doing cedar oil or tan bark?
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: doc henderson 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!
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: Corley5 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.
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: mike_belben on December 24, 2020, 01:12:03 PM
How does one decide when to tap and how many taps one tree can support?
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: celliott 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.
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: celliott 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.
(https://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/20145/3A5D5DC4-50DF-4DC2-9662-94B813E60561.jpeg?easyrotate_cache=1608845206)

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.
(https://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/20145/55565D48-B490-46AD-A66F-459DF54041C4.jpeg?easyrotate_cache=1608847054)

Edge of our system, looking towards Lowell wind towers
(https://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/20145/9440FCAA-F1A5-4AC7-ABE0-D65A61533CFF.jpeg?easyrotate_cache=1608845381)

Tap tap tap

(https://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/20145/09A0ABC4-753A-470E-975D-ECB205A3AEE8.jpeg?easyrotate_cache=1608847046)


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

(https://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/20145/CE86A20C-8797-4D1F-92CA-406F2185B352.jpeg?easyrotate_cache=1608847041)


The big road crossing. Snowing before Halloween.

(https://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/20145/8D1B154E-22BA-470C-9572-67214A2ED793.jpeg?easyrotate_cache=1608845558)



(https://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/20145/96920091-562E-4226-BA82-455C0EE306F9.jpeg?easyrotate_cache=1608845675)


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

(https://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/20145/134D5E51-5561-48A4-A6DD-E09A6602302D.jpeg?easyrotate_cache=1608845692)


22 rolls of 5/16

(https://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/20145/57780AC0-207A-4CE7-B7C3-764F14AFF910.jpeg?easyrotate_cache=1608845731)


We tap those hills

(https://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/20145/B92CD985-ABA6-4205-9689-1A34C859F662.jpeg?easyrotate_cache=1608847019)


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.

(https://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/20145/7BD47745-0BC9-4A5C-9C18-4E2CB3BA3BF6.jpeg?easyrotate_cache=1608845825)


Filtered liquid gold

(https://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/20145/E083028D-7FBB-4D3C-82CB-8EF85AB0F00B.jpeg?easyrotate_cache=1608847009)


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

(https://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/20145/63D5A512-3999-4088-8533-AE48E1DBA5AC.jpeg?easyrotate_cache=1608845920)


Fueling the upper station 

(https://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/20145/A8F60AD7-4E5F-472F-BCCD-5B75400E11B2.jpeg?easyrotate_cache=1608846034)


28.5Ē is darn near perfect vacuum for a tubing system 

(https://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/20145/F62F7FB4-D809-4CC2-BA6D-4CA305D8875B.jpeg?easyrotate_cache=1608846047)


Nice section of woods

(https://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/20145/0D548AC8-DB03-48AE-A674-130207B5CCFA.jpeg?easyrotate_cache=1608846052)


Skandic loaded up 

(https://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/20145/64D2A320-EF34-4991-B04F-57CA630A43F9.jpeg?easyrotate_cache=1608848072)


Fusion saddles to tie in a small system

(https://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/20145/EADD5E5D-58D6-40CC-A97D-FDF9B8D2C49B.jpeg?easyrotate_cache=1608848971)


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

(https://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/20145/A6F62A8F-E21E-473A-810C-489CFB561D48.jpeg?easyrotate_cache=1608848967)


The big main system 

(https://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/20145/584AED40-FDB6-484D-B5F5-B144ACD91839.jpeg?easyrotate_cache=1608848960)


Pulling mainline pipe

(https://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/20145/3B6684FF-AA9D-420D-90B0-8E908F7B7832.jpeg?easyrotate_cache=1608848956)


Tracks for 6x6. Slow but goes through a lot of snow.
(https://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/20145/0023F0B9-34B6-4112-BE43-AE0A3595EB00.jpeg?easyrotate_cache=1608848590)

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

(https://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/20145/37D49F0F-5F6D-44B5-912E-B66EB7357FEC.jpeg?easyrotate_cache=1608848949)


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

(https://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/20145/EBB00510-2738-42BB-ADA9-D8308ADBE654.jpeg?easyrotate_cache=1608848942)


Yum pancakes 🥞 

(https://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/20145/E21B8EBF-DA11-4A1B-9203-DD3F3FF4FE15.jpeg?easyrotate_cache=1608847004)
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: btulloh 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!
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: celliott 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!
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: Walnut Beast on December 24, 2020, 07:44:31 PM
Pretty neat pictures of everything 👍
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: doc henderson 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.
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: mike_belben on December 24, 2020, 08:53:18 PM
Good Lord. 
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: celliott 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!
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: Walnut Beast 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 😂) 
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: SwampDonkey 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.
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: 51cub on December 25, 2020, 06:56:52 AM
Thank you for the pictures! They do make me want to get more involved again though
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: Skip on December 25, 2020, 08:01:00 AM
Never would have imagined  :o Love it . :)
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: Chuck White on December 25, 2020, 08:11:36 AM
I was laid up with hip and knee problems the last half of the Summer, but my brother and his SIL plumbed in about another 75 taps on a bunch of trees that were between two runs, then plumbed them all to run to the lower run, so we'll likely have to have 2, maybe 3 barrels on the end of the line!

Shortly after the first of the year we'll set up the evaporator, then maybe tap at the end of the month and first part of Feb.

Best of luck to all for a good sugaring season!
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: mike_belben on December 25, 2020, 08:22:07 AM
So just a dumb question here, whats different between say now and february if the day to night temp swings are the same?  Here in TN we can have 40 days and 20 nights right now.  Would sap not be good now?
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: Bruno of NH on December 25, 2020, 09:19:54 AM
I grew up sugaring it's alot of work but lots of fun.
Doing it with family and friends memories I will never forget.
Chris your son is growing.
Hope your boss let's you take him in the woods when he's old enough.
Mike,
I think it has to do with the sugar content. 
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: maple flats on December 25, 2020, 11:38:50 AM
I start shortly after Jan 1. I try to have all repairs finished and have my taps in by 2/15. Most years my best sap flow in the last 2 weeks in March, but sometimes I can get a nice run or 2 in Feb.

What's the difference you ask as to when you tap and when the sap flows. While I'm only a new B in comparison to many producers (my first year in modern times was 2003) Before that our family did 6-9 taps a few years, just in our yard. We evaporated it on the wood stove (didn't ever boil until we finished it on the gas stove). We made 5 qts up to 8 qts about every second or third year.
The difference is that the earlier taps often collect lower sap/sugar than later taps. The main reason is that each time there is a freeze thaw cycle, the sap gains more sugar. Thus the better sap/sugar% is often near the middle of the season. Seasons vary locale to locale, based on the local weather patterns. There are other factors for sap sugar % too, crown size, sun hours and intensity the summer before, adequate rainfall  and the health of the tree.
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: Walnut Beast on December 25, 2020, 01:02:07 PM
From what I remember in Minnesota the weather was not to bad seems like March or later. There was no snow and it was pretty muddy in the woods. Needed the Willyís in 4wd in  The woods. Amazing how much variation of sap flow when the temp swings are good 
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: mike_belben on December 25, 2020, 04:25:10 PM
Ive read that southern red maple (all i have) produces a very different but very good syrup and id like to try it this season on a stovetop scale to see if i should fab up a rig.  


Any of you guys done red maple or ever had the syrup?
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: moodnacreek on December 25, 2020, 04:56:46 PM
Always herd it took a lot more sap.
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: doc henderson on December 25, 2020, 05:16:19 PM
i heard as well that the other maples taste good, but less concentrated, so more sap to make the same amount of syrup.  we plan to try what maple we can find, and walnut as well.
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: SwampDonkey on December 25, 2020, 05:22:33 PM
Birches and also butternut trees were also tapped up this way. I know they do some white birch out in the Canadian west. I've tapped yellow birch, but you don't get the run nor the same window of opportunity that you get from sugar maple. And the mint flavour from the raw twig is gone when boiled down, goes up with the steam. And the sugar is fructose in birch, sucrose in maple. I'd rather have the sucrose. I told the neighbors that birch could be tapped, but they looked at me quite skeptically. :D
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: Stephen1 on December 25, 2020, 11:19:25 PM
Ive read that southern red maple (all i have) produces a very different but very good syrup and id like to try it this season on a stovetop scale to see if i should fab up a rig.  


Any of you guys done red maple or ever had the syrup?
Most of our trees are red maples. We have a dozen SM versus 300 red maples.  We get sap in the 2-3% brix reading, so I'm not sure if it takes more sap.  The syrup is great though. 
Syrup produced is like wine, Each bush has a different flavour . Now Chris might be a little different with that many taps, all blended together, but they are in the same general area.   
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: Chuck White on December 26, 2020, 07:56:26 AM
I believe FWIW, that the Red Maple is the same as what we in this area call Soft Maple!

Approximately 1/3 of our taps are in Soft Maple!

Sugar content is lower than Sugar Maple!
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: doc henderson on December 26, 2020, 08:54:59 AM
Walnut is thought to require and 80 to 1 sap to syrup ratio.  sugar maple is closer to 60 to 1, I have read.   research, not first hand experience.
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: Corley5 on December 26, 2020, 09:31:48 AM
  Our bush runs a fairly constant 2% sugar.  Early in the season it has pushed 2.75 and late it's been as low as 1.5.  Running raw sap at 1.5%  consumes a lot of energy and makes for a dark syrup.  An RO makes it better ;) ;D  2% sap is about 43-1.  We have no red/soft maples.
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: Mike W on December 26, 2020, 12:09:32 PM
No maple here to speak of, however my son loves to tap our birch trees each year as we have a lot of paper birch on the property.  Its something like 100 / 1 ratio or close to it, in rendering to syrup.  We mostly drink it straight, its great tasting water with a slight hint of sweet woody flavor, very good for you in minerals and such.  He has all the data on it (he's kind of a geek in that fashion), quite impressive stuff actually health wise.  Birch doesn't heal as well as maple, so in the 7 years he has been tapping, he still hasn't tapped the same tree twice, he averages around a gallon per day per tap, real small scale, total hobby stuff, nothing like the impressive set ups here, but he loves it, and it gives us just another reason to be in our woods (like we ever run short on reasons anyway).  It doesn't last long, need to freeze or render within a day or so of tapping, so needless, we freeze a lot, otherwise it starts to ferment quickly.  The tapping season is real short also, about 3 to 4 weeks tops, once the buds start to pop, it turns bitter flavored.

Fantastic and informative looking setups here guys, fun to see how the big boys play, thanks for taking the time to share your operations, way more to it then I would have ever thought, cool stuff.
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: mike_belben on December 26, 2020, 02:03:56 PM
Does a plain old refractometer work to check the brix?  I have one somewhere.  

How long can sap wait to be boiled off after it comes out of the tree?  


This thought process has me lookin at the back yard differently.  Ive only killed one tree with sap potentional that was pretty rough anyway.  Well, two.. But the other was where a slab is going and itd take a lot of syrup to change my mind on that!
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: Corley5 on December 26, 2020, 08:30:26 PM
  I don't like to let raw sap sit more than 24 hours.  If it's cold it can go a while longer.  It's not much different than milk and will sour.  ROed sap needs to be boiled.  The process concentrates not only the sugar but the bacteria as well.
  Refractometers work for sap.  We use hydrometers meant for maple sap.  I've got a long one I drop in the raw tanks and a short I use with a cup to check the concentrate coming out of the RO.
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: mike_belben on December 27, 2020, 12:00:29 PM
What are the rules on freezing it?  Either by accident in the bucket overnight, or during the week in a chest freezer to collect for boiling on saturday for example. 
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: Corley5 on December 27, 2020, 12:06:11 PM
It can be frozen.  Some operations use chilled milk bulk tanks, some walk in coolers, some freeze it for later.
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: Stephen1 on December 27, 2020, 04:03:01 PM
We have always boiled on the weekends, so we boiled a lot of sap that was questionable over the years. We like it when ice froze in the buckets, kept the sap fresher longer. We would save bucket ice to put in the holding tank after we gathered to give us a few more days. It definetly gives dark syrup but we never had any complaints. 
We used to live 2 hrs away from our bush. That is changing up now that we are retired and I live 2 miles away.
We get to boil fresh sap!!!
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: Stephen1 on December 28, 2020, 10:00:19 AM
We have always boiled on the weekends, so we boiled a lot of sap that was questionable over the years. We like it when ice froze in the buckets, kept the sap fresher longer. We would save bucket ice to put in the holding tank after we gathered to give us a few more days. It definetly gives dark syrup but we never had any complaints. 
We used to live 2 hrs away from our bush. That is changing up now that we are retired and I live 2 miles away.
We get to boil fresh sap!!!
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: PoginyHill on December 28, 2020, 11:57:00 AM
So just a dumb question here, whats different between say now and february if the day to night temp swings are the same?  Here in TN we can have 40 days and 20 nights right now.  Would sap not be good now?
Sap runs when the trees start to "wake up" for spring growth and sap starts to flow from it's storage in the roots to the buds. I think there are many triggers for that, not simply temperature: length of sunlight, time since fall, among other things maybe. Not a tree scientist here, but stuff I've heard or read about. Trees adapt to their local climate and spring awakening can vary a bit from year to year.
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: Corley5 on December 28, 2020, 12:52:40 PM
  It can vary a LOT ;D :)  When I was a kid and we made syrup one year we pulled the buckets on March 30th.  The following year we hung the buckets on April 1st.  Four seasons ago there were a couple days of good run here around Valentines Day.  Operations that were ready made a lot of Golden Delicate.  Then it got cold again and didn't run for a month :) :)  
  There's still more than a bit of mystery to Maple Sugar 8) 8) 
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: Corley5 on December 28, 2020, 12:55:16 PM
I got the tubing spinner out this morning.  We were going to start stringing  3/4" main line today but we're having a bit of a lake effect snow event.  Tomorrow is supposed to be sunny.  We'll do it tomorrow  ;D  
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: SwampDonkey on December 28, 2020, 06:05:54 PM
Up here, when I was a kid we tapped in March the old way. February is bitter cold up here and does not run much, mostly not. Now a days it is bitter cold until almost April. I've seen sap not run until almost April here for the last 20 years. Heck, dad planted grain in April for years when I was a kid, sure can't now, except maybe 2 out of 20 years. I here about them talking about sap running in February to the south of us when it is 15 degrees up here. It's not that much warmer in Fredericton. I'm talking here about within NB borders, not Georgia. :D
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: mike_belben on December 29, 2020, 07:30:54 PM
I think im looking forward to it.  Red maples really overseed and overtake my woodlot and ive cut a ton of RM sapplings out.. Thousands probably.. but i guess it must be a more recent takeover as there arent many large ones, they seem content to just stall in the shade of oaks and hickory, waiting their turn. 





 I have kept most of the maples in excess of 4" dbh. As the oaks get fatter and are needed for house timbers i guess theyll become the shade trees.   Atleast i get something every season from that. 
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: Corley5 on December 29, 2020, 09:17:11 PM
Pulled in just short of three thousand feet of 3/4" main line today.  We got it tied up out of the snow and will go back and add the rest of the ties later.  Nice day in the mid 20s with no wind 8) 8)  We have two short mains left to do.  They're 500 or six hundred feet and about 400' of wet dry.  The plan is to get them hanging Thursday.  We've got a little storm coming in tonight with 3-6" of snow forecast.  I'm planning on plowing tomorrow.  I haven't after the last couple snows.
  The spinner is on loan from a big sugar operation in Pickford.  It makes life easier.  I've been going to build my own out of hay loader wheels, shafts, and angle iron.  Maybe next year ;D :)  In a couple pics you'll see Brad.  He's a neighbor and helps out when needed in the bush or firewood.  Helluva a worker 8) 8)   Last season's syrup sales enabled the purchase of the tractor.  It's more practical in this application than the Bobcat  8)  It's always nice to work from home ;D 8) ;D 8)


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Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: Walnut Beast on December 29, 2020, 10:51:02 PM
Looks pretty awesome. What do you do to keep the lines from freezing 
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: Corley5 on December 30, 2020, 02:15:03 AM
They freeze and thaw naturally.  The mains and wet dry will have very little sap in them at the end of a run to freeze.  The vacuum pump and slope of the lines keeps them dry.  The 5/16" lateral lines will hold sap if they have sags.  Everything thaws as temps rise and the trees start to run.  There can be surges of sap as things begin to break loose in different parts of the bush :)
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: Walnut Beast on December 30, 2020, 02:17:24 AM
Interesting. Thanks for sharing 👍
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: trimguy on December 30, 2020, 11:20:37 AM
So, do you pull these lines every summer? Or do you leave them hanging and flush them out? If you pull them, can you reuse them again the next year? Very interesting.
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: Corley5 on December 30, 2020, 12:08:02 PM
  It's a permanent system.  We don't flush them.  We cut the spiles off at the end of the season and let the drops hang open air to dry the lines out.  The first run of the new season we run on the ground to flush.  Some operations fill the system with peroxide and cap it.  One guy I know leaves the sap in the lines to become vinegar then flushes with freshwater before the cold sets in in the fall.  Some pull taps with the vacuum on and plug the drop onto the tee after the spile is cut off.  Isopropyl alcohol is used in Canada but is illegal in the US.  Flushing the first run works for us just fine.  The sap is filtered twice before going into the RO, it literally has the $h17 boiled out of it in the evaporator, and is filtered pressed HOT.  Way better than bugs, worms, bark, leaves, rain and snow etc. that gets into buckets ;D :)
 We install new spiles every year and drops at five years.  Next year we start replacing drops.  A system as a whole should have a 10 year life span.
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: Mike W on December 30, 2020, 12:28:52 PM
In a couple pics you'll see Brad.  He's a neighbor and helps out when needed in the bush or firewood.  Helluva a worker


I'm still looking for Brad, want to see what a "Helluva worker" looks like these days, been too many years since I have been able to find one, want to be able to keep a look out, just in case:D 
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: mike_belben on December 30, 2020, 01:59:24 PM
LOL.  
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: Corley5 on December 30, 2020, 03:01:16 PM
He's a helluva worker...  But nothing technical.  Simple tools no sharp edges ;) ;D ;D  Although he has mastered the Twister firewood bundler 8) 8)
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: Chuck White on December 30, 2020, 06:49:00 PM
We got our evaporator reassembled and ready to go yesterday, but it'll still be a while before we tap any trees!
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: mudfarmer on December 31, 2020, 03:24:45 PM
Very cool stuff! I wish our production would buy a tractor  ;D Last year started selling raw sap for the first time and the sap sold paid for an expansion that doubled our tap count to 300. All 3/16Ē tubing on gravity, natural vacuum due to the intense slopes. Still boiling on 2x4 flat pan and home built arch so that is why I sold sap. Do have another 2x4 continuous flow pan and would like to rebuild the arch into a 2x8.

 Celliot the setups you show here are amazing. The guys I sell sap to have ďonlyĒ about 3k taps but massively upgraded their evaporator and RO, this is why they buy sap canít keep the big beast fed.

Happy sugaring everybody!!
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: Corley5 on December 31, 2020, 05:36:54 PM
  This is Brad 8) :)  We got the last two main lines done today along with the wet/dry extension.  1,000' feet of 3/4" and 400' of 1 1/4".  He finished tying the wet/dry and one of the mains today too.  He'll be back in the morning to finish tying the rest of the mains.  
  The last picture is where the new wet/dry meets last years addition.  I bought black 1 1/4" line from HD this time.  This section is the end of the system so excess heat from solar heating won't be an issue, it's in a shady spot over the hill, and it's cheaper than blue maple tubing 8)  Most of these components can be sourced cheaper from places other than maple equipment suppliers.  
  We'll start pulling laterals next week 8) 8)  I've got ball valves and fittings on the way to build the manifolds for the wet/dry entrances.  It's coming together :)



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Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: Gearbox on December 31, 2020, 09:53:07 PM
We found out the hard way that Woodpeckers love black tube . 1 or 2 years of patching holes and it was replaced .
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: Corley5 on December 31, 2020, 10:52:00 PM
Woodpeckers and tubing...  That's new.  Squirrels, porkies, deer, carnivores have all chewed on and crashed through lines.  There's never been bird damage.  Yet ;D  We have some black line entering it's third season.
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: SwampDonkey on January 01, 2021, 03:56:51 AM
Deer will probably play nicer than moose though. :D
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: Corley5 on January 01, 2021, 08:35:05 AM
We don't have as many elk in the neighborhood as we did a few years ago.  That's a good thing ;) ;D :)
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: celliott on January 03, 2021, 08:31:05 AM
Busy week, busy week.
Weíre up to 35,000 tapped before the new year hit. Over Christmas we got 30,000 gallons of sap!
Our new steam evaporator is here, but not ready to go. So, we have concentrated the sap and itís sitting in our refrigerated bulk tank at 35 degrees. It will keep for weeks like this. Raw sap should be processed as soon as possible, sugar makes bacteria, and can turn sap quickly when temps are too high. Concentrated sap is even worse, higher sugar. We concentrate to 30-35% which is why we use the bulk tank.

Our woods is probably a mixture of 1/3 red maple and 2/3 sugar maple. Weíve really started liking red maple (or soft maple, swamp maple, etc. itís all Acer rubrum). Not as many issues (tent caterpillars avoid them) smooth bark makes for easy finding of old tapholes, and in overgrown pastures, the density can be awesome with multi stem clusters.

Weíre hoping to get the boiler and rig ready to go soon. COVID shipping delays have plagued us all fall. Been waiting a month on a flange and air filter for a vacuum pump... electricians delayed, boiler stuff delayed, early on we had some issues getting maple supplies.
We have a few pallets of filter aid and filter papers, pan acid and RO soap, we should be ok.

January is going to be a big month for us tapping. We need to drill at least 60,000 this month. Should be doable if we donít get a huge dumping of snow. We havenít worn snowshoes yet and have been driving pickups to the woods. I think that changes next week though.
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: mike_belben on January 04, 2021, 12:15:57 AM
So what makes a good spile and what makes a bad one?  If you had to talk  your wife through tapping her first tree, what would ya tell her?  

Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: celliott on January 04, 2021, 05:36:51 AM
So what makes a good spile and what makes a bad one?  If you had to talk  your wife through tapping her first tree, what would ya tell her?  
Need some more context here Mike. 
For example, if you want to hang a few buckets, well, you need a spout that will be able to hold up a bucket. Metal ones work fine, there are some plastic that have bucket hooks. Another option is a regular plastic spout and a piece of tubing to a bucket on the ground. 
If you arenít running vacuum, it doesnít need to be complicated.
A high vacuum system get a bit more in depth. In order to run a high level of vacuum, you need a perfect tree to tap seal. Out of round holes donít seal and will leak at 27Ē+ of vacuum. We use the special drill attachments I showed earlier. We also use a thin wall polycarbonate spout that has a bit of give, they will conform to the hole, but not relax (which is important because ours need to stay tight in the tree for nearly 5 months). We have used in the past, and they are an excellent choice, a softer nylon spout. They seal the taphole exceptionally well, the issue for us is that they relax over a long period of time. For producers who tap a few weeks before the season starts, they are a great choice. 
Color has some affect too. If you have a warm woods, a dark colored spout can warm the taphole area and prematurely start bacteria growth. A colder woods (high elevation, north slope, etc) can use a dark or black spout effectively because it can help to thaw the taphole sooner. The jury is out on how much this really affects things, likely no one will ever notice. We choose colors simply to differentiate between years, in case weíve missed some pulling in the spring. We donít like the clear ones because they can be hard to see against the tree. Last year we used translucent red. This year translucent yellow.

Clear as end of season sap, right? lol

To tap a tree- appropriate size drill bit (a real tapping bit makes a huge difference) find an appropriate spot on the tree. If using buckets, be sure you can reach the bucket. If using tubing, make sure your dropline can reach. Identify any wounds, seams, defect in the tree, old tapholes (3Ē each side and 2ft up and down) drill straight in (an upward angle has proven to be unnecessary) about 2-2.5Ē maximum. A drill stop is recommended. Can simply use an old piece of tubing. Full speed on the drill all the way in and all the way out to clear the shavings. Brace your elbow and get good footing. Try to go straight in and straight out.
Take your spout and lightly tap it in. Listen to the hammer for a tone change. Most spouts seat within an inch to 1.25Ē. Donít overdrive it, not hammering a nail. Move on to the next tree. Wait. Reap the rewards.

My wife does come tapping with me on weekends sometimes. Sometimes I have her go ahead of me to pre install spouts on the droplines. Saves me a ton of time. She can get around better than me after Iíve been doing it for 5-6 days a week.
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: mike_belben on January 04, 2021, 10:06:51 AM
Thanks chris.  Context is, In a bit of a rush yesterday i whipped up 3 spiles from soft copper because it was what i had that fit the clear hose well.  Im just giving it a try to see if the juice is worth the squeeze and if the kids will help or whine and fuss.


Anyway my phone was on the charger and i dont know the dynamics of sap flow in a tree, wasnt sure if its in the cambium or sapwood or heartwood and was fearful id be plugging the flow if i went to the wrong depth so I put a long slash like a canoe top sorta.  They fit the 1/2 bores just right but i went too deep.  Probably 4" or so.  The spiles are in about 2" and on south side into buckets.  



If i like doing it i'll buy real stuff and make a continuous flow evaporator.  Finish on the propane turkey fryer maybe?  Just keep swapping pots.



What do you guys recommend for backyard filtering?  Filter the sap or the syrup?
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: mudfarmer on January 04, 2021, 10:28:11 AM
Yes to finish on propane turkey fryer! Works a treat. Filter your sap AND syrup especially if using buckets. You will get some bark, some moss, some moths in the sap :D

For syrup filtering I really hate the cone filters but they do work. Know another small scale setup that uses flat filters with seemingly few problems. Surface area is an issue with the cone filters, make one of the "optimizers" that inverts the bottom of the cone if you go that route so you get much more surface area out of it.
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: mike_belben on January 04, 2021, 11:23:46 AM
I have some new industrial sock filters.. 5 or 10 micron i think that will pass sap pretty fast.  For hot syrup i was thinking coffee filter or paper towel over a mason jar??  Thats how i filter the crisco out of frying bacon. 



I will be surprised if this produces more than a jar or two this year so efficiency is of no concern right now. 
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: mike_belben on January 04, 2021, 11:24:27 AM


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Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: mudfarmer on January 04, 2021, 11:26:21 AM
For real small batch the coffee filter will probably work fine, seems pretty close to the "real" prefilters. If you get some sediment in the syrup it will just add character and drive you crazy into filter presses and such for the future :)
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: PoginyHill on January 04, 2021, 11:39:06 AM
What do you guys recommend for backyard filtering?
Growing up, our backyard-made syrup was filtered with old T-shirts (washed preferably). Amazing the scum it would filter out.
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: mike_belben on January 04, 2021, 02:38:38 PM
Yeah ive done plenty of rag filtering in the garage too.  Actually my bar oil is usually just the best of whatever various machine oils are in a bucket.  Never the same blend twice 

:D
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: Corley5 on January 04, 2021, 03:30:43 PM
Copper isn't good for trees.
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: doc henderson on January 04, 2021, 08:07:25 PM
i have read you can get a nylon/plastic male to male coupler and it works as a spile and attaches to tubing.  the spiles are about a buck apiece of you like it mike.  stainless steel, and reusable.  
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: Corley5 on January 04, 2021, 08:16:19 PM
Clear 5/16" Disposable Spout (leaderevaporator.com) (https://leaderevaporator.com/clear-disposable-spout/)
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: Corley5 on January 04, 2021, 08:28:45 PM
Sap-Meister Ė Stainless Steel Sap Spouts (https://sapmeister.com/)
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: Corley5 on January 04, 2021, 08:45:27 PM
  We inventoried our fitting supply today.  Have plenty of spiles and tees. We'll start stringing lateral lines tomorrow and see how far our end hooks and slide fittings last before we place an order.  Filter press papers are also needed along with a couple extra hydrometers.  Always go through a couple during the season.  Placed an order with Supply House this evening for fittings and ball valves for the wet dry.
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: Corley5 on January 04, 2021, 09:03:12 PM
We'll need more 5/16 line too.  I want to use up our on hand supply before I order any of it.
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: celliott on January 04, 2021, 09:09:44 PM
Tapped some of our way out stuff today. Snowy in the woods. Took our pisten bully out because the snowmobile club groomed their portion of the trail, 8 guys and two dogs up the hill warm and dry. 8 man crew tapped 4100, I did 565. Felt real warm, had sleeves rolled up but not even a trickle of sap. 

Mike, you can just let the syrup settle and pour off the good. Old timers used to use settling tanks.
Cheesecloth works good too.
Yup try not to drill too deep, heartwood is non conductive wood and wonít run. The shallower the spout seats the better, because that depth is sealing off conductive sapwood. Some producers have experimented using a 5/16 spout and a 19/64 drill bit to get a quicker spout seal. We use 19/64 spouts and tapping bits.
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: mudfarmer on January 04, 2021, 10:01:20 PM
Good call on just letting it settle out! Another old timer trick is to pull the ice out of the buckets in the morning, in theory the water will freeze and leave you with higher sugar content so you boil less. Careful with this if it got too cold. It's like making "apple jack" or "jersey lightning" but nowhere near as fun at the end ;D
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: mike_belben on January 04, 2021, 10:10:52 PM
The bigger tree actually flowed about a soda can worth sometime this afternoon out of the left side of the teed pair so that was pretty cool.  




I did kinda figure copper wasnt the greatest but those trees are in decline as is.  If not for syrup potential theyre going to firewood.  I will find out in the next few days if i will go forward with sugaring or not. 



Thanks for the links.  these plastic checkball taps.  Any good?  Or is there reason to avoid them?  

Leader Clear Check Valve Spouts (https://leaderevaporator.com/leader-clear-check-valve-spout/)


Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: Corley5 on January 04, 2021, 10:21:55 PM
The check valve ones are for tubing systems. They are supposed to prevent sap that's potentially contaminated with bacteria from being drawn back into the tree when the natural vacuum ends at the end of a days run or the vacuum pump is shut off.  We used them our first season and haven't since.  We seldom shut our vac pump off and we did find a few of the check balls in the bottom of the releaser ;)  
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: Stephen1 on January 04, 2021, 10:33:27 PM
A good tap hole will have only white sap wood when you drill, if you see dark shavings it will not be a good runner. A tree in decline will not produce a lot a sap, so don't waste your time tapping it. Copper will not hurt, we used copper 50 years ago when we discovered sap, and we are still tapping those trees. 
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: celliott on January 05, 2021, 04:34:59 AM
Trees in decline wonít produce much sap, yes, however, if he has plans to thin them anyways, well, some sap is better than none. Death by tapping. Whatís firewood care if itís got a few tapholes in it?
For organic certification, it can be written in to a management plan that if small trees will be thinned in X years, you can tap any size small tree. Not saying itís worthwhile to install a high tech tubing system and tap a bunch of 4Ē red maple, but, the point being if youíre planning on thinning them anyways, donít hold back!

Yes, ice out of the bucket is the poor manís RO. We did a handful of buckets years ago and I set up big flat trays and put the sap in those, put in the freezer for about an hour, come down and skim the ice. Repeat a few times and it got pretty sweet. Not sure exact % but had to be at least 8-10.

Our big woods tends to run sweet compared to other big operations. In the peak of the season weíll average 2.6-3%, mixed from over 100k, red and soft. Quite often we stay above 2%. Some places never see 2%. They get more gallons of sap per tap than we do, but it averages out. Weíll take the sweet :)
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: mike_belben on January 05, 2021, 05:00:06 AM
Thanks for the great info guys.   My "woods" is presently the back 4 acres, im a 1/4 mile from mailbox to back of the lot where ill build a house out in a quiet woods. Trees and pasture, theres nothing else back there.    It was a logging site last highgraded probably in the 70s or 80s and im transitioning it to what best use i can until it just becomes "the yard" where i live.



Firewood, beef, bacon, chicken, eggs, syrup, honey and veggies are among the plethora of things i like for free or cheap so thats the long and short of it.  The red maples i have tend to be young, or poor in form and quality.. Among the lowest values in our woods mix.  and they compete for oak and hickory resources.  We grow a lot of RM that will make a nice shade/yard tree but not a good saw timber.  They spiral a lot, snap easy, and are prone to insects at any injury site.  And they grow in clumps with big goofy leaders shooting out wherever sun hits. 


 The poplars grow much faster and straighter so i favor them for an interior trim board over RM but RM agressively overseeds and tries to establish dominance of the understory... so its a big pest of sorts. and it is versatile in site selection.. Itll crowd out a oak regen on any ground we have from sopping wet to  bone dry. The bigger the tree the worst the pest.  BUT.. If it makes good syrup, well now its my friend. i will shift gears and start cultivating the best of them as the oak replacement if so.  


I have killed a lot of RM sapplings, thousands i bet and they just keep racing back up to annoy me, theyre the #1 reason i bought a clearing saw and need a root rake!  but if the location, form and overall vigor were good, i did let the very best stay.  


Any hardwood i have that isnt a strategic shadetree is scheduled for firewood or house timbers.  The straight ones stay and gain diameter until im ready but eventually theyll be gone too and ill need a bushy shade tree in waiting.  A yard full of dogwoods and RM will be okay i suppose.
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: mike_belben on January 05, 2021, 05:27:09 AM
When sugar people talk about vacuum systems, are they the same as hvac peoples vacuum systems?  Im picturing electric vacuum pumps in the sugar shack pulling down on a plenum full of tubing ends all day.  Or can they continue drawing into the night?  Does a vacuum system literally pull the sap up through the trees capillary system ..or whatever youd call it?
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: petefrom bearswamp on January 05, 2021, 08:38:33 AM
Be careful Mike lest the maple sickness kicks in.
Way back when I started out with a 18x24 flat pan home made arch in 1972
by 1977 Had 1200 taps and a 12 x 20 oil fired evaporator, 1 and 1/2 man operation.
1978 divorce called a halt to my operation.
I Really enjoy this thread to see the giant steps taken over the last 50 years.
I had wondered why the spiles are replaced every year and now see why as they arent very expensive.
BTW syrup was selling for about 12 bucks a gallon then.
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: Corley5 on January 05, 2021, 08:57:56 AM
  I don't know anything about HVAC vacuum systems and enough about maple vacuum systems to know they work and you need to keep the system tight ;) ;D :).  The first vacs used in maple were repurposed dairy pumps.  They didn't carry much for vacuum but did make a difference.
  We used to use galvanized spiles and drill 9/16" holes.  Didn't hurt the trees too much ;D.  I suppose copper for a few weeks won't hurt.  I wouldn't use it ;) ;D :)
  I'll tap declining trees and small suppressed ones that will never make it with the idea being to get what I can out of them as well as to hasten their end :)
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: doc henderson on January 05, 2021, 09:24:51 AM
the tubing and vacuum on the end, is altering the physics of the system. pulling more sap.  In college I did research on plant.  and we had a device called the "bomb" and the whole plant went inside with a stem coming out.  we increase the pressure inside until we just saw sap come back out of the stem.  that pressure equaled the vacuum generated by the plant.  we were doing water stress research, and my Professor Dr. Craig Martin motivated me by saying "we are going to rip plant physiologists a new ash hole"  good times.  Just like our bodies, there is a balance of osmotic and hydraulic pressures, and we are pulling in our favor.
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: mudfarmer on January 05, 2021, 10:06:11 AM
Mike do you have good elevation change? You can get away without a pump especially starting off. (3/16" maple tubing). There are people that still run a pump on it, and people that run "sap sucker" pumps, generally a shurflo diaphragm pump..

Here is some reading, lots and lots more out there
The 3/16 phenomenon | UVM Proctor Page | The Maple News (https://www.themaplenews.com/story/the-3-16-phenomenon/71/)

Quote
[...] lines on different slopes with 4-37 taps, and lengths from 100í-700í have generated the following estimates of expected vacuum: assuming no leaks, vacuum at the top of line in inches will be approximately 50-75% of the vertical drop in feet. Thus, for a vertical drop of 24í, a vacuum level of 12-18Ē can be expected; for a vertical drop of 40í, 20-27Ē can be expected, and for a vertical drop of 55í and more, the vacuum at the upper most taphole should be 27Ē or more. These vacuum readings should be present at almost all times when the sap is running.[...]
No electric here but plenty of elevation change :) Now need to get some mainlines up and the bulk tank that was traded for a brush hog moved home, really tie the whole thing together and add a lot more laterals. Have been using food grade IBC totes for bush tanks. Nice to pull up next to a bank along the road, open valve on tank and have it empty right into truck tank, really gravity is running my whole operation now! Got away from the gas and electric powered pumps it was just a PITA.

If you want to really maximize your setup you need to get into Corley or celliott's league, wet/dry lines and all that good stuff.
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: mike_belben on January 05, 2021, 10:27:55 AM
I probably only have 5 or 6 trees that will produce right now.  No need to complicate it, buckets is fine.  
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: Ed_K on January 05, 2021, 11:38:21 AM
 Don't use the copper or brass for that matter if it has ANY lead mixed in it. Maple sap or syrup if left for any length of time will leach out the lead. For what mike showed in his pict won't bother but why take the chance. Make a spile out of s/s or plastic.
 Sorry to come on like this but the feds are always on us >:(. I was the only sugar maker in Ma. that got inspected by the FDA, last yr >:(.
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: mike_belben on January 05, 2021, 01:14:17 PM
Welp.. It looks like urine and tastes like hot candy.  So ill probably be doing this for the rest of my life.  Time to order some spiles i guess.  


(https://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/43722/0105211210a_Film3-1.jpg?easyrotate_cache=1609870326)
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: Walnut Beast on January 05, 2021, 01:55:46 PM
From what I remember the metal taps are pretty slick. Tapered to go into the hole with a nub on top to hook a bucket. Donít know why you would want to use anything else other than a connected system
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: mudfarmer on January 05, 2021, 01:58:02 PM
Welp.. It looks like urine and tastes like hot candy.  So ill probably be doing this for the rest of my life.  Time to order some spiles i guess.  


(https://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/43722/0105211210a_Film3-1.jpg?easyrotate_cache=1609870326)

Next time put whiskey in it when it is "nearup" 8) We always have a bottle by the evaporator but sometimes use hot sap to make coffee too
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: mike_belben on January 05, 2021, 03:24:45 PM
Well woodntcha know it i got a bottle of early times settin right in the freezer.  Ill be ready next time.  



Ordered some taps, tees, and tubing.  Its awn. 
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: Walnut Beast on January 05, 2021, 04:15:49 PM
Mike when are you going to start making some moonshine 😂
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: Corley5 on January 05, 2021, 06:31:09 PM
There's a shaded spot behind a bucket or bag hanging on a tree that takes longer to thaw so the sap will run ;) :)
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: Corley5 on January 05, 2021, 06:58:23 PM
Ran laterals today and used up the 5/16" we had left and got two of the longest mains done and maybe a third of the last long one.  Our end hooks and slide fittings were almost gone as well.  I took a drive to Atlanta for 6 rolls of tubing, tees, unions and a visit with Dale and Julie at Great  Lakes  Maple  Supply - Home (http://www.greatlakesmaplesupply.com/) 8) 8)  They're our local Lapierre Dealer Accueil - …quipements Lapierre (elapierre.com) (https://elapierre.com/)  He also showed me how he does his mainline entrances without the slide fitting but with a union with a clip.  Much better deal.  I never liked the slide hooks.  Not a bit.  Should be done with laterals tomorrow and start cutting in drop lines Thursday 8) 8) 


(https://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/10027/KIMG0826.JPG?easyrotate_cache=1609890416)
 
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: celliott on January 05, 2021, 08:48:47 PM
 We tapped 4800 as a crew today. 44,000 in so far.

Vacuum creates a pressure differential in the tree. A vacuum is also a lack of air. Bacteria is aerobic, so a high vacuum helps prevent bacterial growth and lengthens our season.
We run big vacuum pumps. 3 phase motors. VFD drives. Our main station has three 25hp Busch screw pumps that are very high CFM and can go to 28Ē of mercury. Our sugarhouse has an Atlas copco 15hp screw pump that can do 28.5Ē of mercury. Two 5hp atlas copco rotary claw pumps at our remote station. 
Our other woods have Busch rotary claw pumps and we have one liquid ring pump still in use. Pulls very deep vacuum if we can keep cold water in it. 
We got away from the liquid ring pumps due to cold water reliability, and, they arenít electrically efficient. They need to run at full speed to make high vacuum. Our other pumps run off VFDís and when we get the system tight, the pump has much less air to remove, and doesnít need to work as hard. The VFD will ramp the pump speed down accordingly, sometimes to a crawl. We got our 15hp atlas pump to shut off for periods of time last season. Pump runs slower= energy savings plus way more sap. Every inch of vacuum equals, I believe, 15% more sap. 
We have releasers at the stations, to pump sap out, and keep it out of the vacuum pumps. They need to be sized accordingly and with appropriate pumps to pump large volumes of sap out under high vacuum. 
We also have transfer pumps and pump lines to move sap from one drainage to another, or circumvent property lines or get sap to the sugarhouse for processing. We have two 20hp Gouldís high pressure pumps that are capable of sending sap over 8000í through a 3Ē line, lifting 150í elevation at 150gpm. We have a 15hp pump that sends 23,000 taps through a 10,000í 2Ē line. Air pumps for the sugarhouse moving syrup and for filter presses. ROís are chock full of high pressure pumps. 
The tubing system itself is a whole Ďnother ballgame. Thatís my specialty.
Pipes need to be sized appropriately for number of taps and length, lines need to be layed out with the given topography as efficiently as possible and maintain good slope, tubing needs to be ran efficiently and tightly, it goes on and on and on. We arenít running around the woods just throwing up pipe. There is a lot of planning and design and thought that goes into it. 
And once sugaring season hits and sap runs, all this needs to be made to work with some tape and hope for about 2 months. Just kidding :D
Mike, I think youíd like it here lol
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: mike_belben on January 05, 2021, 09:05:57 PM
Golly chris thats some serious amps. Sounds like you guys need a sap powered pelton wheel perpetual motion machine to run it all. 


Mike when are you going to start making some moonshine 😂


I have some experience there as well.   ;)
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: celliott on January 05, 2021, 09:26:31 PM
Golly chris thats some serious amps. Sounds like you guys need a sap powered pelton wheel perpetual motion machine to run it all.


Mike when are you going to start making some moonshine 😂


I have some experience there as well.   ;)
Honestly, the vacuum pumps are nothing compared to how the ROís make the meter spin lol those take ALOT of juice. And weíre adding a third!
We talked about it last year, we were running 100hp worth of vacuum pumps. Pretty crazy. Power bill is big, yeah, but when youíre making 300+ gallons of syrup per hour, it pays off.
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: mike_belben on January 05, 2021, 09:54:18 PM
Thats hard to even wrap my head around. 




So is there a limit beyond what is practical as to how high you can tap a tree and run gravity feed tubing?  can tubes and livestock coexist in the same pen?  Any harm in tapping 8ft up?
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: celliott on January 05, 2021, 10:01:22 PM
You can tap as high as you can get. Theoretically sugar content is lower higher up. Practically, will you notice? Probably not.
We get a lot of snow. Iím 6í2Ē, I routinely tap as high as I can reach. On 4í of snow, thatís sometimes 12ft or higher. One year we had to cut extensions for our 36Ē spout pullers. Some were 16í up!
I would not recommend keeping tubing and livestock in the same area. They will chew it or pull it down. Guaranteed.
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: mike_belben on January 05, 2021, 10:24:06 PM
Well.. Can they exist in the same pen if the tubing passes well above the height they can reach is how i meant it. 
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: celliott on January 06, 2021, 04:26:49 AM
Probably. And maybe above is clean enough, but for us, tubing inevitably is on the ground. You build a spiderweb in the woods, and branches/limbs/trees fall and it goes on the ground. Itís a never ending aspect of maintenance on a tubing system.
Your backyard situation could be different.
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: mike_belben on January 06, 2021, 09:40:46 AM
I can picture that.. Must get frusterating.  Are the tubes self supporting or on cable guides or fence posts or...?  Do they tend to stretch, unplug or tear apart?



Im gonna be thinning this place forever as i need whatever piece of wood.. until its a pasture with shade trees.  Syrup just shifts the balance of which ones i keep long term. 
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: mudfarmer on January 06, 2021, 11:25:37 AM
The 3/16" and 5/16" tubing will stay on the trees by itself, friction. Gotta keep it tight to prevent sags. The bigger mainlines these guys hang they use high tensile fence wire, posts where needed etc.

Some of the different small tubing has stretch issues I guess but not most unless you really reef on it. It tears apart when a squirrel chews it all up and then a tree falls on it ;D Look up a two-handed tubing tool, it's just some vice grips welded on pipe handles like most other tools you build yourself but someone sells for lots of money. The fittings are a tight press fit and have never had one pull apart that was seated properly.
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: petefrom bearswamp on January 06, 2021, 11:58:56 AM
Mike don't say you weren't warned.
BTW what does syrup sell for now?
Retail and wholesale.
Chris how many employees on your operation and how long do you operate the RO machines on a given day.
I realize it probably depends on sap yield.
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: celliott on January 06, 2021, 07:42:08 PM
We have 12 woods crew employees. We figure roughly a man per 10,000 taps, and a few guys for other jobs. Thereís a few others as the original sugarhouse operations has a retail syrup store and is an equipment dealership. All told probably 15-17 people are employed here!
The ROís run till theyíre dirty or the sap is all processed. Time is highly variable, depending on sugar content, volume, etc. but we can drain a 13,000 gallon sap tank in less than an hour.

The tubing is pulled tight and strategically placed around other trees and branches. It sometimes will get stretched out but a good quality tubing will mostly spring back.
Our mainlines are supported on 12.5 gauge high tensile fence wire. Attached with wire ties (bag ties) every 18Ē. Our bigger pipe (2Ē, sometimes 3Ē) we run on 1/4Ē galvanized braided cable. 3Ē and 4Ē and big pump lines we run on 3/8Ē braided cable which is very rugged. Lots of posts in between and side ties to take out more tension. Posts help take sags out and maintain a steady even grade (we usually run a minimum of 2% slope but can do 1%) our big cable we anchor into boulders or ledge, thatís kind of an innovation of ours out of necessity. As tight as we get the big cable, no tree anchor would hold up. So we drill holes in rock and epoxy in steel bolts.

Crew did 4800 again today. Just shy of 49,000 tapped. We will be over 1/2 way tomorrow by the end of the day. Very good progress for us, weíre ahead of schedule actually. Little snow helps tremendously.
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: Corley5 on January 06, 2021, 08:29:12 PM
  We finished stringing laterals today 8)  Used the six 500' rolls of tubing I picked up yesterday and 1/2 a roll of different stuff that we use for making drop lines.  Should have bought 7 rolls ;D ;D  The Lapierre tubing is nice to work with.  I've got some other things that need attention in the AM but I may get to cutting in some drops tomorrow.  We're way ahead too.  The last couple seasons we were finishing up as the season was getting under way.  Not sure what our total taps for this year will be but we should be around 1,800.
  Our 3/4" mains hang on 12.5 high tensile with galvanized wire twist ties.  The 1 1/4" wet dry hangs on doubled 12.5.  Gripples are used at the ends for tension and attaching as well as attaching and tensioning the side tie wires.  Side tie wire is 14 gage galvanized soft.  It's a completely suspended system.  The only posts we have are where the wet dry runs between the woodlots.  It's hung on old power poles.  I have to put a gate in that portion to allow access to the back hay field and gravel pit.  That's coming up shortly ;D  Drops, wet/dry manifolds built and installed, end caps on the 3/4 line and we're about ready to tap.  I'd like to have that done by Valentines Day. 


(https://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/10027/KIMG0830.JPG?easyrotate_cache=1609981246)
 
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Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: Corley5 on January 06, 2021, 08:33:39 PM
  Bulk prices early last summer were $2.00 a pound.  Quarts are $15-20 or more and gallon jugs are $50-60.  Bulk syrup in our region is hard to come by at the moment.  The majority of ours goes into 55 gallon drums.  We sold to Anderson's in Wisconsin last season.  We had to get the FDA registration too.  We were already state inspected but needed the Federal one to sell in bulk across state lines.  
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: Stephen1 on January 06, 2021, 10:35:21 PM
We sell our syrup only by the liter, $25C, 4 liters  are about a 1 US gallon, so $100C. 
Do you guys run the vacuum full time? 
We have as  mudfarmer calls it  ' Sapsucker pump' it is a diaphram pump run off a small electric motor, a simple system with a check valve before and after the pump. We do about 300 taps.  
 Chris that is huge amount of increase in sap, 28" of vacuum will give you almost %400 over buckets. 
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: celliott on January 07, 2021, 05:30:30 AM
Yes we run the vacuum 24/7. The trees can retain residual vacuum in the wood and when you shut the pump off, sap is pulled back into the taphole. Once that sap has hit tubing, itís ďdirtyĒ and will contaminate the taphole, and start the healing process. A big part of our job is to trick the tree into not realizing it has a wound, and keeping the taphole running and viable.
That huge increase in sap over buckets is why itís cost effective to have so much money tied up in high tech gear. Buckets are low production but low investment. High labor involvement too. A high vacuum tubing system is high production, high investment cost, and low labor involvement (per tap) we just end up doing way more taps per man than a bucket operation ever could.
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: SwampDonkey on January 07, 2021, 05:39:42 AM
Corley, looks like you can still walk around pretty decent, no deep snow yet. Not bad here yet either. Cousins here don't do much until February, small operation, but been around 30 years. They have a RO machine to, I'm guessing they got set up funding back then. That's not cheap equipment.
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: petefrom bearswamp on January 07, 2021, 07:24:10 AM
Thanks to Chris and Corley for answering my questions.
Had a fleeting thought back in the 90s to start a small operation , when I bought my current 65 acre woodlot, but felt that growing veneer quality Sugar maple was a lot easier.
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: Corley5 on January 07, 2021, 08:49:29 AM
  We're half of our normal average snowfall right now.  No snow shoes required  8) 8)
  My woods has been managed for low volume high value timber harvests.  Specifically sugar maple 🍁.  I'm working around crop trees that are ripe for harvest right now.  The last timber was taken out about ten years ago.  The trees that would make it the next time around in 10-15 years are getting drilled  :)
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: mudfarmer on January 07, 2021, 09:32:37 AM
 We're half of our normal average snowfall right now.  No snow shoes required  8) 8)
  My woods has been managed for low volume high value timber harvests.  Specifically sugar maple 🍁.  I'm working around crop trees that are ripe for harvest right now.  The last timber was taken out about ten years ago.  The trees that would make it the next time around in 10-15 years are getting drilled  :)
Do you also get funny looks when people ask "why didn't you tap that nice tree right there?" and you tell them because it is too nice? ;D
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: celliott on January 07, 2021, 07:19:27 PM
No trees left behind here lol
The property we lease doesnít have a lot of veneer quality maple, some good sawtimber, but mostly lower grade or small sawlogs. They all make good sap. Weíve drilled holes in some real nice ones thatís for sure.

4100 today, 7 man crew. I drilled 777, highest of the year for me. Nice tap density where I was working, 80+ taps per acre on some of the mainlines.
Weíre 53,000 tapped, thatís halfway for the eden woods! 
No snow in the forecast, we still arenít wearing snowshoes, next week should be big too. Probably can finish our A system, which is the biggest at 44,000 taps. 
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: mike_belben on January 07, 2021, 08:06:49 PM
How are you keeping count of your daily and cumulative taps? 


And how is sugar bush leased?  By the acre or by a gallon royalty or a combination of factors?  
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: celliott on January 08, 2021, 04:39:29 AM
We use baseball pitch counters. The lease is payed per tap, which is by far the most common method.
Rates vary in Vermont from .40 cents to over $3 in competitive areas, but most common is $1 per tap.
Our property as a whole averages out to 50 taps per acre. So our landowner is making about 70 bucks per acre, every year, and still will have trees to cut down the road. Or lease for tapping forever. Takes a long time to grow a nice big sawlog. Not long for it to go away forever.
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: mike_belben on January 08, 2021, 09:57:04 AM
Brilliant.  Does the per tap cost have any influence on the tapping procedures or sizes or number?   Would you guys run it all the same if it was the companies own ground?
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: maple flats on January 08, 2021, 11:58:08 AM
At times I envy you with so many taps and all of the best equipment, but then reality hits hard. I worked very hard back when I had over 1300 taps, but at that time I had 3 part timers helping, college students. When they graduated I hired 2 brothers, still in high school, but after a season of having to retrain them daily I finally decided to cut back.
Before I was diagnosed with cancer in Jan 2018, I could work out in temps of zero or a little below and I kept warm dressed in layers. After my cancer surgery (which so far tests show it was successful) I was put on a blood thinner. The required 8 weeks post surgery of doing essentially nothing ruined my ability to work 6-8 hrs a day. I now seem to be doing well if I get 3 hrs in before I need to take a rather long rest. Now, even at 25F I get cold. But
I will continue. I will be starting my line repairs and changing taps, tees and all 3/16 fittings next Tuesday. Everything flows right to the sugarhouse, however I'll again only have about 400 taps. If tapping gets done and it looks like I might have 3+ more days before sap flow, I might add up to about 100 more taps. Once that does get done it will just about max my woods.
I do have a neighbor who's father planted 3 rows of maples back about 40 yrs ago, they run just over the property line from my bush. The father died about 5-6 yrs ago. As I look at those maples (a mix of sugars and reds) about 2/3 look tapable, the rest will in 3-5 years. I will likely ask and try to lease them for next year. I don't have a total count, but my guess is there are between 75-100 trees, maybe even 125. They are where I could pull all of that sap to my sugarhouse too. Those trees are planted 20' spacing in 3 rows making them rather easy to do. The landowner now, is the daughter of the man who planted the trees, she is retired and never uses that portion of the property. She is not married and has no one to pass it on to as far as I know.
For our counts, I started about 6-8 seasons ago to put tags on each lateral at the saddle with the tap count on that lateral. Then as we check for leaks we tally the counts. The tags I use are yellow plastic and they have a 3" or so tail with an enlarged spear point at the end. That point goes around the lateral or the loop to the saddle and goes thru a small hole in the tag, thus it is a hang tag. A permanent marker lasts 3-4 years on it, then we write over the old as required. Also, I get rough guesses on tap total by keeping a tap count. I count any loose taps before we start and write it down, along with the number of bags of 100 and record that. After tapping we tally any remaining taps, the difference is my rough count. Then we tally the tags in the next few days for our final count.
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: Corley5 on January 08, 2021, 04:09:11 PM
A buck a tap is going rate here with a ten year lease with a right of first refusal.  Tubing systems generally have 10 year service life although 15 year tubing is out there now.  There's quite an investment in a tubing system.  Most landowners are timber oriented around here and don't want their trees drilled full of holes.  Michigan's long standing timber culture has always ruled unlike the sugar culture in the NE.
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: Corley5 on January 08, 2021, 05:14:23 PM
  I make bundles of twenty five drop lines with cable ties.  Four bundles fit in a five bucket.  When a main line's laterals are all done I add up how many buckets I used and subtract what's left in the last bucket :) :)
  Got my wet/dry gate ready to hang tomorrow.  Figure I'd better get it done while I can still drive the truck there.  No snow until maybe next Thursday 8)  
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: mike_belben on January 08, 2021, 06:53:53 PM
can vacuum systems draw uphill or do you guys have to drain down to a pumping station to go back up?
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: celliott on January 08, 2021, 09:07:37 PM
We would set things up the same way if we owned the land, yes. 

A vacuum system can draw uphill, in a sense. Mainlines and bigger vacuum and sap lines need to always have positive downhill grade. They do not work running uphill. 5/16 lateral lines can run uphill and suck sap up about 15 vertical feet. You can also build sap ladders to achieve the same purpose. They also sell vacuum lifters, which again, same purpose. Itís always best to have gravity on your side however.
Vacuum is not a crutch for poor grade or sags etc. 
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: Corley5 on January 10, 2021, 08:53:13 AM
Made maple candy last night.  We put pecans in some.  That's pretty good.  Candy stage was 242 degrees last night.  Zach's going to make another batch today and make what's left into sugar.  That's cooked to around 265.  Off to the bush after I have couple more pieces ;) ;D :)


(https://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/10027/KIMG0835.JPG?easyrotate_cache=1610286466)
 
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Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: Tacotodd on January 10, 2021, 08:58:59 AM
Itís looking like EATING SEASON!
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: maple flats on January 11, 2021, 03:31:19 PM
Tomorrow will be our first day working on fixing lines for the 2021 season. We should be all tapped and ready to go by about Feb 10 or so.
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: mike_belben on January 11, 2021, 06:47:45 PM
So i just got a little bag of the 19cent throwaway 5/16 taps.  How deep should these be seated in the tree?  Light tappy tappy fit?  



Theres no way im gonna buy the fancy tools for what they cost and the few taps im doing.  I warmed up the tip of the tube with a bottle torch and pushed one right on, cant get it off either.  Figure thats fine for gravity feed into a bucket at each tree. 
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: celliott on January 11, 2021, 07:06:21 PM
Mike you donít need the torch either. Hot water works good too if just doing a few.
I wouldnít drill more than 2.5Ē, 2Ē or less if small red maples. The spouts all seat a bit different but generally if you go an inch thatís probably plenty. Wrist taps. If you have a wooden mallet, thatís the thing to use.
Weíre up to 62,000. Big day today. Do it again tomorrow. End of week looks warm, weíll be firing up the vacuum pumps and checking for some leaks.
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: Corley5 on January 11, 2021, 07:06:44 PM
1.5" is about how deep we drill.  Listen for the tone change when seating the spile and stop when it changes  ;D :)  Tap tap tap tunk ;) ;D
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: Corley5 on January 11, 2021, 07:15:19 PM
I need to correct myself.  I checked a tapping bit and we tap 2"  ;) :).  We slip a piece of tubing over the bit to serve as a depth stop :) :)  One of these seasons I'll invest in these Precision Tapper (adaptor only) | Roth Sugar Bush (https://www.rothsugarbush.com/product/precision-tapper-adaptor-only/)
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: Gearbox on January 11, 2021, 07:26:32 PM
mike grind a notch in a Wonder Bar to pull your taps .
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: Corley5 on January 11, 2021, 07:49:48 PM
Cheap wonder bar from Harbor Freight.  Use a 1/2" carbide bur in a die grinder to make the notch ;D :)
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: mike_belben on January 11, 2021, 11:25:25 PM
So are you guys drilling 1.5 or 2 inch and then seating to the bottom of the hole or no?  is the tap elbow hitting the bark or standing proud a bit?  
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: doc henderson on January 11, 2021, 11:43:07 PM
I think they can stand proud.  from what I am getting, you need a seal, but I think all the interrupted sap wood will drain into the hole you drilled and out.  if you tap in too far, it will block more of the openings.  the tap is kind of an adapter from the hole in the tree to the tube.  
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: mike_belben on January 12, 2021, 01:12:16 AM
Thats what im concerned with.. Plugging the veins im trying to draw blood from!
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: celliott on January 12, 2021, 04:24:08 AM
Yes there is a balance. Donít drive them all the way, thatís bad!
You are sealing off productive wood when you seat the spout, but need to do so in order to seal and have the spout stay in the tree. Also if you overdrive your spouts you can split the wood on the tree.


(https://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/20145/AC051E0A-09C4-49D0-915F-D1B089495414.jpeg?easyrotate_cache=1610443351)

This is one from last year. This is actually seated just a bit too far. Someone hit this on the side and it cracked, I was fixing the leak.
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: Chuck White on January 12, 2021, 07:23:54 AM
Mike, do like Corley5 said, "tap tap tap thunk" in post #132!
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: Stephen1 on January 12, 2021, 08:54:05 AM
Sometimes Mike I have tapped the tap in with a set of pliers, it does not take a lot. Sometimes during the season the tap will loosen and tou tap it in again. Your not hammering on "steel" .
The red maples, if they are frozen when you tap will split the bark if you hit them to hard. you will find out. 
The sap backs up in the hole and then enters the spile, 
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: mike_belben on January 12, 2021, 11:26:01 AM
Alright that helps.. I definitely went too far with one of the copper ones that hasnt flowed anything.  


What is the proper way to "do-over" a hackjob taphole?  Leave it be and pick another spot? 
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: Corley5 on January 12, 2021, 11:41:29 AM
In a tree you care about write it off and wait until the next season.  Otherwise drill another hole.
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: mike_belben on January 12, 2021, 12:41:32 PM
10-4 corley, preciate it.
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: celliott on January 12, 2021, 07:30:29 PM
If we get a tree that was drilled poorly, and the tree isn’t totally dead, we redrill them. When we do, we drill them below the lateral line. This eliminates putting a taphole in the good tapping zone, good wood can often be found lower, and snow won’t be an issue covering it up at the point we are finding such problems.

Tapping still going good. Looks like Thursday/Friday we will be checking vacuum leaks. Before that happens, I have to address a big problem we found today. A break in our 4” fusion weld vacuum line  it’s currently about 5’ apart. A heavy duty side tie broke and I think it smacked another tree really hard when it was very cold. It broke at a fusion weld, but it ripped the pipe on both sides of the weld  first time we’ve seen such an occurrence. It’ll Likely be a 1/2 a day fix. The pipe sits about 5’ off the ground so the weld will have to be made aerially. Straps, come along, etc to pull pipe together some. Generator and butt fusion welder. Sawzall. Chainsaw. Pallets and blocking. Wire and new posts. Cable to fix tie back. 17” wire ties. Sight level to put it all back to 2-3% grade. Piece of 4” pipe to splice in. 6 wheeler or skandic and jet sled to get it all there. Patience. Ingenuity.
I’m just thinking aloud the list of stuff I’m gonna need lol
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: mike_belben on January 12, 2021, 10:57:19 PM
Took me half the day to tap 5 trees and string lines to a single collection bucket today.  This is a lot more like work than i planned!  I have a vastly increased awareness of how incredibly tedious it is setting up the big systems some of you guys are running.   I cant believe how many taps you do in a day chris. 



One of the trees i did today was immediately leaking out sap, all others were dry.  Other than the early flow theres nothing remarkable about the tree.  Does that suggest it is a more productive sugar tree than its neighbor or is this irrelevant?



The tap tap tap thud lockup of a genuine spile in the right size hole was unmistakeable. 


Do you guys cut the sucker shoots off your trees or let them grown into new leaders?  Many of mine are a clump of stems from 12" dbh down to 1 inch poking out wherever sidelight hits. 
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: mike_belben on January 13, 2021, 12:47:07 PM
another thought i just had.  what if this sap actually starts running?!  i will have to do something with it. crap. 


i have an IBC tote that as far as i know has only really held rainwater in the last who knows how long.  is this something i can sufficiently sterilize without giving a bad taste?  its half full right now and I'm tempted to dump something in and drain it but I'm concerned vinegar or bleach will show up in the syrup?    


Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: doc henderson on January 13, 2021, 03:15:57 PM
Mike i am just running a line or 2 into a bucket at the base of the tree.  i can tap about 8 or 10 an hour.  I drain into a soda bottle or milk jug or 5 gallon bucket.  I got liners that are food grade for both 5 gallon buckets and 55 gallon barrels, that once held honey.  so far the volumes have been consolidated into gallon jugs, and frozen or at least refrigerated.  If we hit the mother load, i plan to fill the 55 gallon barrels on the north side of the shop to keep cold.  it has been a mild winter.  My second batch with 5 gallons of walnut sap tested at 1.25% sugar and only got 6 oz. of syrup.  i guess you could use them, but if you will not drink the rain water out of them, I would not store sap in them.  make sure they did not contain ag. chemicals.  water is boiled off but sugar and other things may be concentrated.  may taste bad or worse...
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: Stephen1 on January 13, 2021, 03:44:44 PM
Our rule for cleaning is no soap of any kind. We will use 1 teaspoon of javex/ bleach. for a 45 gallon drum of our lake water. We also go to town for some city water for cleaning once we get going for the season so it has a samll amont of chlorine in it already. 
The biggest problem of those containers is the opening is not large enough to get in and clean it. Once you put sap in something it will go moldy if not boiled or cleaned properly. 
cut the suckers, clean up around the tree. . 
1 Stem is all you want unless they are 8-10" then they are tappable
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: Corley5 on January 13, 2021, 04:59:43 PM
I cut the top out of IBC totes with a Sawzall so I can get inside with a stiff bristle brush to scrub them.  Hot water only.  No detergents of any kind.  Alcohol would be my disinfectant of choice if I felt it was needed.  Cheap vodka would do fine.  It's what some wineries use.  A steam cleaner is on my short list. 
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: celliott on January 13, 2021, 09:24:06 PM
Well it wasnít a 1/2 day repair. About 2 hours. 3 figuring gathering tools and supplies and getting to and from.
It did not go as hard as I expected. Not saying it wasnít difficult, but I was thinking we would be battling this one.
I photo documented this saga pretty good.

Hereís the problem. The 5 pipes pictured transfer about 90,000 taps to our pump station.

(https://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/20145/87F387CF-0A0E-4645-9551-C4CDB463AED1.jpeg?easyrotate_cache=1610588453)


(https://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/20145/B7321428-2414-4570-BB90-5F132450A855.jpeg?easyrotate_cache=1610587191)


(https://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/20145/E11F12D4-A558-46DD-BD58-47F710E692D3.jpeg?easyrotate_cache=1610588461)


Attach two come alongs to the cable with 3/8Ē cable wraps. Come along attaches to 4Ē pipe with a truck strap in a timber hitch. The pipe was about 5 feet apart. We could not hope to pull it that far now. I pulled as hard as I dared and got maybe 6Ē from each side.

(https://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/20145/343189B9-26D4-4E81-8112-D45FD00B00A6.jpeg?easyrotate_cache=1610587099)


(https://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/20145/1AF46497-2B67-46E1-8B30-82A041A8A7A4.jpeg?easyrotate_cache=1610587095)


(https://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/20145/3E3D2C4D-662E-434E-93F2-473B11579F2B.jpeg?easyrotate_cache=1610587008)


Now we have to build a platform for the butt fusion machine. It needs to be level, hard to come by in the woods. Stuff a pallet between the other pipes and a 2x for a post on the other side, perfect.

(https://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/20145/DF2B22B7-396B-417D-9D21-6598203115BB.jpeg?easyrotate_cache=1610586888)


The fusion weld held together just fine. I think it is a combination of factors. A high tension side tie broke and the pipe smacked against a tree. This was also the first 4Ē pipe we put up, and I think we over tensioned it, pulled it too tight. This stuff has a crazy amount of expansion and contraction with temperature swings.

(https://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/20145/3E479D37-36BA-47F6-AFA5-6A24704BC371.jpeg?easyrotate_cache=1610586767)


Butt fusion machine. Have to get pipes as close to level as possible first. Then a knife head facing machine goes in, trues up both pipes. Check alignment. Then a hot plate goes on to get it melted. Take out and smoosh it together.

(https://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/20145/8CE0175B-AA7F-4A53-9F61-4C5175E3E239.jpeg?easyrotate_cache=1610586751)


(https://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/20145/8E84FA75-0DBC-4933-A4C4-DC1EF17A454F.jpeg?easyrotate_cache=1610588485)


Locked in, letting the short stick cool down

(https://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/20145/607D8D28-515A-472D-8F3B-76563058E2FB.jpeg?easyrotate_cache=1610586621)


Cracked pipe, can see the weld inside and out.

(https://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/20145/FA5BC18F-2A8A-4E5B-B63C-43C3D9B93299.jpeg?easyrotate_cache=1610588503)


Pipe is together.
The last fusion was a bugger. The butt fusion machine wouldnít pull or push the slack to face and heat the pipe. So I had to manually let off both come alongs to get the facer in. Tighten them both back up to draw it together. Let off again. Rinse and repeat for the hot plate. That was a process.

(https://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/20145/F1AB088C-D1CE-4E0C-8A84-67B5500F9155.jpeg?easyrotate_cache=1610586423)


And this is back to how it should look.

(https://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/20145/1F661D6C-F98B-4550-B90E-4F8B52F0FE9D.jpeg?easyrotate_cache=1610586403)


(https://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/20145/EA3C8F7F-0401-412B-950D-EA4D56DF2235.jpeg?easyrotate_cache=1610586315)


Sure glad itís fixed. Hope we donít have recurring issues with this. Weíre probably going to cut in pieces in the other lines to loosen them up some as well. Just in case. May have to take some back out when it warms up and the pipe shifts around again, might have put too much in. That was all we could do to get it back together that far though. 4-5í piece went in.

Weíre 71,500 tapped now. Leak checking tomorrow. Thatís why this was important, canít check vacuum with a leak that big lol
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: mike_belben on January 13, 2021, 10:57:23 PM
Yeah thats just nuts.  Completely mind blowing.
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: mike_belben on January 15, 2021, 01:06:00 AM
Think im starting to get the hang of running 5/16 and still getting it straight and pitched without support structure.  Using construction string for stress relief at each end.  Mini torch working good for getting fittings pushed in bare handed.


(https://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/43722/0114211533_Film3.jpg?easyrotate_cache=1610689416)




(https://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/43722/0114211646a_Film3.jpg?easyrotate_cache=1610689214)





(https://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/43722/0114211840a_Film3.jpg?easyrotate_cache=1610690002)




I collected 3 qts today and tried it in pans on a woodfire but i still suck at boiling and somehow burned it.  Brought the nearup inside to finish on the stove, checking with THREE thermometers.  This digital probe, a turkey poker and an ir gun.  


(https://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/43722/0114211907_Film3.jpg?easyrotate_cache=1610689787)



Temp sat at 207/208 forever in a rolling boil then climbed rapidly but never exceeded 219 on any device yet somehow a lot of it carmelized.  Only a few drops passed through a coffee filter. 


 The last moments i held the pan off the grate over a low flame but i think the damage was done by then.  I dont know if the woodfire was too hot or the propane finish or both?  Not sure where i messed up.  Tasted a bit like a werthers candy but with an obviously smoky-er and slightly burnt flavor.  I still ate it, dont worry!


(https://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/43722/0114212009_Film3.jpg?easyrotate_cache=1610690666)

Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: Ed_K on January 15, 2021, 07:05:15 AM
 The temp to finish will depend on your relative humidity. You may have syrup at 217 or 218 if the rh is high. If the syrup starts to over flow put some butter in, no more than what would coat a fork. Now I'm not sure of the rh? I'll have to check when i go to the sugar house this morn.
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: thecfarm on January 15, 2021, 07:10:56 AM
Mike, we would bring the sap up to "about" 212į outside.  Than we would bring it inside on the kitchen stove to finish off. Much easier to read the thermometer without all that steam rolling around outside. This was done on a very small scale. I don't think we ever finished off a quart at a time. Most times half of that.
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: PoginyHill on January 15, 2021, 07:18:58 AM
My family's backyard process ended inside on an electric stove. With a medium boil we called it done when the foam started to rise in the pan. Needed to be watched constantly to finish it off. If not removed at that point, the foam would overflow and make a sweet, smoky mess. We never used thermometers.
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: mike_belben on January 15, 2021, 08:36:20 AM
Okay, so that last minute was definitely the issue then.. I had quite a bit of foam but still like 3 degrees below the magic 219 number that all the blogosphere articles call for.  I will boil longer outside and pull the next batch off the finish burner at the first hint of foam.  


Thanks for the help guys.   Ive got 17 taps right now and only a few trees flowing so i need to get this sorted before it really picks up and i make larger scale trainwrecks.
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: doc henderson on January 15, 2021, 09:07:54 AM
the Werther's is the slight burnt "caramel" caramelized sugar flavor.  in the end I did it on the NG stove.  I would swirl the pan and get a bunch of bubbles, and keep checking the viscosity.  the first batch went in the bottle, but it seemed watery, so I boiled it some more.  good taste.  I think if you do not have a soapy bitter aftertaste, then you have better maple sap than me here.  as you swirl the pan you will see a texture and almost "opalescent" look.  time to stop.  you can always put it back on the stove.  the second batch started at 5 gallons and 1.25 brix.  when boiled down, it was 1 inch in the bottom of a 3 quart never washed with soap stainless steep pan, it boiled down to a 1/4 inch and was done.


(https://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/51041/2B67E851-8639-40C8-8E71-DF96E6FA8253.jpeg?easyrotate_cache=1610719492)
 

8 oz. bottle.  this is walnut.  the first batch was 1.33 gallons of sap.  it started at 2% brix, and made 3 oz. but I later re-boiled it to half that volume.


(https://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/51041/50EA0539-CB20-43FD-9414-27B559B38160.jpeg?easyrotate_cache=1610337825)
 

this is the sample that was later re-boiled.  as you recall, my maple had a bad after taste, I now think related to the budding of out maples due to a mild winter.
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: mike_belben on January 15, 2021, 10:36:01 AM
Doc if you fill it back up to the original level with jim beam i bet you wont taste the suds or buds!


Sure looks pretty. Thx for the pointers. 
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: Corley5 on January 15, 2021, 02:19:46 PM
Boiling Point Calculator (thermoworks.com) (https://www.thermoworks.com/bpcalc)

  Is what we use to get close to finished syrup.  We dial it in with the Smoky Lake and a hydrometer to set our Marcland Auto Draw.  Boiling points change with barometric pressure.  They can fluctuate a lot during the course of a boil.  We've started drawing finished syrup at 217 and finished the boil at 222.  Last season was fairly stable and 220 was a common draw point.  It's not always 219.
  Keep your foaming down.  Foaming with a shallow depth lets air get to the bottom of the pan and scorching can occur.   Butter, a spritz of Pam cooking spray, commercial defoamer, safflower oil all work.  Some hang a strip of bacon in the pan.   
  Personal use syrup you can use any of these.  If you're going to market it you get into food allergies.  Organic safflower oil satisfies organic requirements and there are new commercial defoamers that meet the same standards. 
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: doc henderson on January 15, 2021, 03:11:23 PM
none of my thermometers reflect the temp of boiling water even. I dropped my meator probe into boiling sap, and a red flashing alert with a ships alarm came over my phone telling me to remove at once or risk damage to my probe.  for small batches, the hydrometer will not work as it has to float freely, and correct for temp.  at the end of the small batch, i had the pan rocked up to a 45į angle over a low flame and just watched how thick it was.
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: Corley5 on January 15, 2021, 04:21:24 PM
An experienced old time sugar maker can tell when syrup is syrup by how it "sheets" dripping off a flat utensil.  A skill learned before there were hydrometers and other such things. 
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: woodroe on January 15, 2021, 04:39:08 PM
I like the sheeting method for backyard sugarin, close enough.
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: Walnut Beast on January 15, 2021, 04:49:08 PM
How did the old timers do it with all the tech stuff 😂
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: Walnut Beast on January 15, 2021, 04:49:51 PM
How did the old timers do it with all the tech stuff 😂
Without 
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: celliott on January 15, 2021, 06:20:10 PM
How did the old timers do it with all the tech stuff 😂
Without
They did a whole lot less and worked a heck of a lot harder for it.
Actually at the turn of the century we were producing more syrup than. we do now. Farm labor was cheap and plentiful and sugar was a commodity not a luxury. 
However we now produce quite a bit more per tap, and do more per tap.
Itís really become a very high tech business!
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: Ed_K on January 16, 2021, 08:06:40 AM
 I was taught using a syrup scoop "a pan that fits into the compartment closest to the drawoff" to slip it into the syrup close to the bottom but not touching it. Hold it up straight so the lip is horizontal and count to 1003 if it ribbons across to whole lip it's done 8) ;).
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: Stephen1 on January 16, 2021, 01:30:41 PM
we use a candy  thermometer that we calibrate every day before we draw off. It has an adjusment screw on the back . Like Corley said we did not have to adjust very much last season as we did not get alot of swings in the weather.IE: low pressure - high pressure..
Also If you are at any elevation your boiling point will be different than at sea level. 
We also use the drip/ string method. when the last bit of syrup forms a string off the ladle you have syrup. It is tried and true method and saves buying more equipment. 
Also the best is just put it on your pancakes , if it tastes good it's syrup
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: mike_belben on January 17, 2021, 09:15:37 PM
I cut 11 length links [2 rungs] off the sides of 11r22.5 bigrig chains and they fit perfect on a 36x12.5x16.5 hummer tire.  These ones have cincher cams all around the outside and are so tight youd struggle to force a screwdriver between the chain and tire. They dont make a sound.  


(https://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/43722/0117211552_Film3.jpg?easyrotate_cache=1610935512)




And for now anyways, this spare beater has made a pretty good sap wagon.  Have used it quite a bit hauling saws and gas cans and tapping gear out into the back woods.  


(https://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/43722/0114211645_Film3-1.jpg?easyrotate_cache=1610758269)



I have 21 taps in right now, leading to 6 buckets right along the one main trail, or pretty close to it.  Having fun.  If i have enough tubing i can probably tap 7 or 8 more trees and be done for the year.  


It was gray and overcast today, maybe 35ish degrees.  I got about a gallon of sap which is the most for a single day so far.  quite a few trees have not run at all yet, So i guess this means i installed prematurely.  But on the other hand i need these small test boils under my belt before i burn a 50 gallon batch or whatever.
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: doc henderson on January 18, 2021, 03:24:50 AM
well at least you will know when it takes off.  trees in the sun have been doing better for me, prob. that faster.  then I will tap another couple dozen.
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: mudfarmer on January 18, 2021, 10:19:57 AM
Late to the party, been out in the woods. Looking good guys!

A couple more tricks I didn't see mentioned here yet.

@mike_belben (https://forestryforum.com/board/index.php?action=profile;u=33722) Your construction string tensioning looks like it works good. You can also use hollow core braided rope, like a chinese finger trap thing. I think celliot showed some of the commercial wire ones back in this thread somewhere. Thread the tubing into the hollow core for a ways and then push it out the side between the strands, you can put a whole lot of tension on them and the rope won't slip.

The other is if you can/do get a syrup hydrometer you can make a "cup" for it with a chunk of copper tubing and two caps. Solder a cap on the bottom, then split the other cap like a flower petal and solder to the "bottom of the bottom" cap for feet. You can use a small diameter piece of copper tubing hammered flat and soldered to the sides for a handle. If this does not make sense I'll dig up a crude one and take a pic. Think of like a graduated cylinder, straight tube with wide base. If you do this you will want to fill it then dump it and repeat this a few times to get the cup warmed up or it will cool the syrup and mess up your temp correction!

...and the syrup addiction claims some more poor souls ;D
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: mike_belben on January 18, 2021, 06:49:00 PM
This magic moment... 


(https://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/43722/0118211658_Film3.jpg?easyrotate_cache=1611013463)
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: Walnut Beast on January 18, 2021, 08:14:12 PM
Mickey Mouse even looks happy. Looks good. How does it taste
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: mike_belben on January 18, 2021, 09:14:46 PM
Well.. I dont have very refined tastebuds for syrup, but to me it tasted like magic. I havent had real northern maple syrup in a long time and cant really remember it.. But i think this is distinctly different. Maybe i like it better.. I know it never lasts long enough to cool.



Ive been boiling in 2 small pans on an open wood fire in my grill pit thingy.  Lots of ash needing filtered out and beyond tremendous sweetness, i guess theres a little of a maybe almost buttery aftertaste, with a TOUCH of smoky, like how a hotdog over oak has a bit of smoke flavor.. which is fine with me personally. I cook stew on wood fire cuz i like it.  The smoke must settle because the bottom has more of it than the top.



But yeah open boiling sucks.  I will need to build an evaporator rig that doesnt put ash in the sap soon.  


This round i finished in the house in a teflon pot and snuck up on the finish real gentle on very low heat with a constant hand swirl and a close eye on color and thickness like was suggested.  Highest temp i saw was 214 and that was probably a bit long as i got a bit of caramel around the edges. 


I hate winter so burning syrup is a nice distraction
 
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: Ed_K on January 19, 2021, 07:09:25 AM
he other is if you can/do get a syrup hydrometer you can make a "cup" for it with a chunk of copper tubing and two caps. Solder a cap on the bottom, then split the other cap like a flower petal and solder to the "bottom of the bottom" cap for feet. You can use a small diameter piece of copper tubing hammered flat and soldered to the sides for a handle. If this does not make sense I'll dig up a crude one and take a pic. Think of like a graduated cylinder, straight tube with wide base. If you do this you will want to fill it then dump it and repeat this a few times to get the cup warmed up or it will cool the syrup and mess up your temp correction!
 

 Again, I'm going to say that if your going to use copper and / or solder make sure that it doesn't contain any lead.
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: mudfarmer on January 19, 2021, 07:57:16 AM
he other is if you can/do get a syrup hydrometer you can make a "cup" for it with a chunk of copper tubing and two caps. Solder a cap on the bottom, then split the other cap like a flower petal and solder to the "bottom of the bottom" cap for feet. You can use a small diameter piece of copper tubing hammered flat and soldered to the sides for a handle. If this does not make sense I'll dig up a crude one and take a pic. Think of like a graduated cylinder, straight tube with wide base. If you do this you will want to fill it then dump it and repeat this a few times to get the cup warmed up or it will cool the syrup and mess up your temp correction!


 Again, I'm going to say that if your going to use copper and / or solder make sure that it doesn't contain any lead.
Agreed!!!!! 1000%!
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: Corley5 on January 19, 2021, 06:26:01 PM
Our inspector doesn't want to see any soldered copper whether lead free or not.  It can cause testing ;) :) 
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: Gearbox on January 19, 2021, 09:42:33 PM
I cut 11 length links [2 rungs] off the sides of 11r22.5 bigrig chains and they fit perfect on a 36x12.5x16.5 hummer tire.  These ones have cincher cams all around the outside and are so tight youd struggle to force a screwdriver between the chain and tire. They dont make a sound.  


(https://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/43722/0117211552_Film3.jpg?easyrotate_cache=1610935512)




And for now anyways, this spare beater has made a pretty good sap wagon.  Have used it quite a bit hauling saws and gas cans and tapping gear out into the back woods.  


(https://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/43722/0114211645_Film3-1.jpg?easyrotate_cache=1610758269)



I have 21 taps in right now, leading to 6 buckets right along the one main trail, or pretty close to it.  Having fun.  If i have enough tubing i can probably tap 7 or 8 more trees and be done for the year.  


It was gray and overcast today, maybe 35ish degrees.  I got about a gallon of sap which is the most for a single day so far.  quite a few trees have not run at all yet, So i guess this means i installed prematurely.  But on the other hand i need these small test boils under my belt before i burn a 50 gallon batch or whatever.
Mike 21 taps in 7 buckets . if you get a good run you may have to dump some twice a day . I had 4 taps run over a 5 gallon bucket .
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: mike_belben on January 19, 2021, 10:45:31 PM
I hope so, but a lot of my trees are pretty small and i went with the 'squeeze em dry' philosophy on a few that are only staying if they give up the juice.  



Its no big deal to add buckets if need be.  It was fairly warm and somewhat sunny today with no flow at all.  Guess im quite early, but tapping is so rare in TN i couldnt find any definitive season. 
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: Ed_K on January 20, 2021, 09:00:38 AM
 Are you getting any nights at below 30į temps? Nights below and then the next day of 40į will get it running for you.
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: DeerMeadowFarm on January 20, 2021, 09:18:08 AM
We are getting ready here. We just did a walk through on Monday to see what we were up against. Lots of downed limbs on lines due to the severe wind storms we had this fall. Not a real big deal. The squirrels got about a dozen or so spiles. 

(https://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/26694/008~16.JPG?easyrotate_cache=1611151544)
 


(https://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/26694/009~14.JPG?easyrotate_cache=1611151544)
 

The big question now is when to start tapping. We are seeing temps below 20 at night and upper 30's-low 40's during the day; typically perfect weather. We usually tap around Valentine's day +/-. Last year we tapped a week early and had a cold spell shut everything down for two weeks after that. What to do...?

We tap around 125 trees, all of it on 8 separate runs 3/16 tubing. We are extending our lines down another 300' with an additional 30' drop of elevation. We hope to pick up another 30-50 trees and it will provide access to pump the collection tanks from a paved road (currently I have to use the tractor and slog through the mud multiple times/day to empty our tanks)
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: mudfarmer on January 20, 2021, 01:22:38 PM
We tap around 125 trees, all of it on 8 separate runs 3/16 tubing. We are extending our lines down another 300' with an additional 30' drop of elevation. We hope to pick up another 30-50 trees and it will provide access to pump the collection tanks from a paved road (currently I have to use the tractor and slog through the mud multiple times/day to empty our tanks)
You will never regret doing this for collection convenience alone 8) Will you still have good drop after the new 30-50 so they are getting decent vacuum too?
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: mike_belben on January 20, 2021, 03:51:27 PM
Are you getting any nights at below 30į temps? Nights below and then the next day of 40į will get it running for you.
Yeah,  on paper we had a solid week of correct temps but they really didnt respond.  Im kinda worried by the time the flow hits my holes will have closed up. 
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: Stephen1 on January 20, 2021, 06:40:02 PM
Mike  Barometric pressure affects the run. High pressure coming in with cold and warm, gives a great run. You can have perfect temp, but if a low pressure is here with it, very little to no sap.
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: mike_belben on January 20, 2021, 09:03:03 PM
Well ya had my hopes up.  I looked at the chart and we were coming off a high pressure (black line) with a freeze then  warmup


(https://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/43722/1611194004691.jpg?easyrotate_cache=1611194001)


 so i went out back and checked well after dark. 

Not a drop in any bucket.  Hmm
 
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: Stephen1 on January 20, 2021, 09:35:55 PM
Only in the morning, after a frozen night. 45-30 is borderline, notice your barometric pressure is dwon around the 29.
 What the forecast is and what you actually get in your local can be totally different. Remember the weather forecasters are the only people that  keep thier job even when thier forecast is wrong day after day.  :D
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: newoodguy78 on January 20, 2021, 11:17:31 PM
This is a great thread you guys have going, as someone that did it in the past with my kids itís a great follow 

Mike it definitely seems like youíve been bit by the same maple bug that got me, stick with it and donít get frustrated. One thing I figured out was the more you learn about it the more you realize thereís so much more to learn, oh and how to get the fire hotter so you can boil it faster was a good part too :D :D
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: mike_belben on January 21, 2021, 01:17:12 AM
Thanks guys.  

I just noticed i cropped the picture too much.  Black line is barometer and it was almost as high as ive ever seen on the chart.  Typically WU is very accurate but i am 25 miles or so to that station site and dont have a home barometer.  



One thing of note is that for us and this time of year weve been in a dry spell.  The trees closer to my 2 creeks have been the producers and the hill top ones have been dormant.  It just started raining tonight so ill get to see what role ground moisture plays tomorrow on the same trees i guess.   
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: Ed_K on January 21, 2021, 08:07:36 AM
 Mike, if the sap looks yellow throw it away. It's got rain water in it :o :(.
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: Stephen1 on January 21, 2021, 09:32:11 AM
Mike, if the sap looks yellow throw it away. It's got rain water in it :o :(.
Or someone does not like you and ........
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: mike_belben on January 21, 2021, 01:24:41 PM
Noted.

My buckets have lids that i drilled undersize, heated the hole with a torch and pushed a poly hose up from the bottom so it makes a tight fit thats a bit proud of the surface.  I also put the buckets at an angle on the ground to further help shed rain.  Fingers crossed on the pee!
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: chep on January 21, 2021, 09:33:02 PM
Mike you def got bit by the maple bug. Be warned it's a slippery slope!

We usually put out around 200 buckets and make 60+ gal of syrup. 
Dont give up.on buckets. I have had years with an early run (late feb) and still had good sap flow into beginning of April. So around 50 days! That's if things dont get to warm.
We use stainless 5/16 taps with hooks for our buckets. No plans on pipeline for us. We use a stainless gathering tank, storage tank and stainless  lead free evaporator and boil with wood. Doing it the old fashioned way gets us good business .

Sweet sugarin!
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: newoodguy78 on January 22, 2021, 12:28:48 AM
Not taking anything away from how anyone does it but keep up the good work chep, sounds like my kind of operation 👍
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: doc henderson on January 22, 2021, 01:17:17 AM
I finished off about 5 gallons of walnut sap this eve.  filtered mid-boil, and put it in the jar at the end.  bunch of floaties in there, so put it through the filter again.  I guess to be pretty, it takes a filter run at the end.  I also wonder if I cooked it a bit much, as it has a more caramel taste I think.  I will loose some volume with the filtering.  had a full 8 oz. bottle.  
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: Tacotodd on January 22, 2021, 02:49:01 AM
@doc henderson (https://forestryforum.com/board/index.php?action=profile;u=41041) probably some of the best tasting 8oz youíve ever had!
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: celliott on January 22, 2021, 04:09:26 AM
Weíre over 90k tapped. Should get the 106 done next week.
We finally got our snow. 2 feet and counting, snows all day. Itís bottomless too, all air, makes for slippery and deep snowshoeing. 
To give an example, we went from averaging 4500-5000+ a day as a 9 man crew, to around 3000 a day. 
Iíd been doing 5-600 a day average, I didnít get 300 on Tuesday.400 yesterday. Just tough conditions, itís part of why we start so early. If weíd had snow like this from the beginning, we would be two weeks behind, not ahead.
Almost there, then itíll be the waiting game.
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: mike_belben on January 22, 2021, 08:31:20 AM
I finished off about 5 gallons of walnut sap this eve.  filtered mid-boil, and put it in the jar at the end.  bunch of floaties in there, so put it through the filter again.  I guess to be pretty, it takes a filter run at the end.  I also wonder if I cooked it a bit much, as it has a more caramel taste I think.  I will loose some volume with the filtering.  had a full 8 oz. bottle.  
I have come to that conclusion too.  I think the pros are using fine micron filter presses.



Ive been using coffee filters into a mason jar for these micro experiment boils of mine, and they make very desireable looking syrup but plug almost immediately.  I pinch the edges up into a bag and wind them up to ring it through then walk around sucking on a spent maple filter ball because im addicted to the stuff.  




Does USDA frown on pan and ladel licking in a commercial setting or no?




This is day 2 with no run.  I should probably be using the opportunity to be working on a dedicated evaporator but my tig welder is in mass.  Got plenty of stainless sheet for pan and baffles.
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: mudfarmer on January 22, 2021, 09:11:34 AM
@celliott (https://forestryforum.com/board/index.php?action=profile;u=10145) same kind of snow here and same deal, snows all day but we don't have quite as much on the ground. Still makes for hard going in the woods so my hat is off to you for being out there doing "only" 400 taps/day!


@mike_belben (https://forestryforum.com/board/index.php?action=profile;u=33722) I know you've got a 55gal steel drum laying around, get a couple $20 restaurant steam table pans and break out the mig and cutoff wheel. That is what we moved to after the pot-on-a-woodstove rig. Then do yourself a favor and rig up a forced draft blower right from the start. You can move the blower to a new rig when you build it.

Love to be an enabler and see people go off the deep end if you can't tell :D We do not buy much refined sugar anymore and why would we? Plenty of maple trees, and if you don't want to go all the way to making maple sugar you can use syrup in most recipes and just account for the water volume
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: doc henderson on January 22, 2021, 09:31:39 AM
to make the sugar, do you just keep going with the heat?  I could google it, but why when the experts are here!   :)
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: mudfarmer on January 22, 2021, 09:45:00 AM
Not an expert but will reply anyway :D Yes you keep going with the heat, 50-60* past boiling then STIR STIR STIR

Someone correct me if I'm wrong I just go to syrup and don't worry about it
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: DeerMeadowFarm on January 22, 2021, 01:37:28 PM
We tap around 125 trees, all of it on 8 separate runs 3/16 tubing. We are extending our lines down another 300' with an additional 30' drop of elevation. We hope to pick up another 30-50 trees and it will provide access to pump the collection tanks from a paved road (currently I have to use the tractor and slog through the mud multiple times/day to empty our tanks)
You will never regret doing this for collection convenience alone 8) Will you still have good drop after the new 30-50 so they are getting decent vacuum too?
Yes I believe so. From the top of the runs to our new collection points will be a good 80 to 100 foot change in elevation. 
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: Corley5 on January 22, 2021, 03:51:37 PM
Heat and beat.  We go to about 262 degrees and pour it into our 20 qt commercial mixer.  Takes about 15 minutes with the paddle to make granulated sugar.  DON'T stir as it's heating.
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: Chuck White on January 22, 2021, 04:56:51 PM
Syrup MUST be hot to go through a filter, and especially through a filter press!  :P
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: Corley5 on January 22, 2021, 05:24:45 PM
The traditional way of making sugar.

Ziisbaakwot Maple Sugar - YouTube (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yFGbgAcgQUo)
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: Corley5 on January 23, 2021, 09:39:59 PM
Making maple sugar ;D :)  The bag on the right has been through the blender to bust up the chunks.  The other hasn't been.  I'd run it through the grinder attachment for the mixer but I'm not in charge of that part ;)   ;D  Some people use their Kitchen Aide mixers to beat the sugar.  Some people burn up their Kitchen Aides doing it.  If using anything less than a commercial grade mixer know that the stuff beats hard :) :)  On our list of maple equipment to add is a vibrating power sieve with screens to size nuggets, granular and powered.  The large chunks can be ground, chopped in a blender, or thrown in with the next batch and melted down.


(https://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/10027/KIMG0858.JPG?easyrotate_cache=1611453516)



(https://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/10027/KIMG0859.JPG?easyrotate_cache=1611453474)
 

(https://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/10027/KIMG0864.JPG?easyrotate_cache=1611454244)


I got the gate put in the wet dry a few days ago.  It's not as pretty as I wanted it.  My neighbor used my loader and hauled pit run out of the pit that's right there.  A 544H is more machine than his 85A Michigan and he hit both of my corner posts.  Can't see as well out of JD as you can an old Michigan ::) ;) ;D  It's pretty hard to get things straightened up right the way they were when I put them in last summer.  Especially when it's winter.  I wasn't about to start over at this time of year so it'll work :) :)  Had to re-tension all the wet dry going both ways as well.  He offered to help fix things but many times it's easier to do it yourself ;D ;D  Anyway I cut this gate I've had in inventory in half length wise to hang the tubing and installed stainless cam locks on both sides.  When the season's over I can unhook them and swing the gates open for access to the back hayfield and the gravel pit. 

(https://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/10027/KIMG0857.JPG?easyrotate_cache=1611453699)
 
(https://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/10027/KIMG0851.JPG?easyrotate_cache=1611453710)
 
(https://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/10027/KIMG0853.JPG?easyrotate_cache=1611453745)
 
(https://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/10027/KIMG0852.JPG?easyrotate_cache=1611454158)
 
(https://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/10027/KIMG0855.JPG?easyrotate_cache=1611454168)
 
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: Corley5 on January 24, 2021, 10:00:46 AM
This sums up maple sugaring very well ;) ;D :)

Sugarpoem.mp4 - YouTube (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EqreE_O6mBU)
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: Old Greenhorn on January 24, 2021, 10:32:22 AM
Savvy crowd there, I knew it had to be in VT because the crowd picked up on the subtleties real fast. That was very good, laughed so hard I cried because he wrote it so you could see what was coming. Gotta bookmark that one, thanks.
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: doc henderson on January 24, 2021, 10:47:30 AM
shared it with all the syrup moguls within a few miles of me. :) :)
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: woodroe on January 24, 2021, 06:13:04 PM
Great story.  Sometimes you should just bite the bullet and listen to the wife. 
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: woodroe on January 25, 2021, 08:02:05 AM
A sugarin' blast from the past if you have some spare time

Vermont Maple Sugaring 1966 - YouTube (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ChqvTcyrSl0)
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: Skip on January 25, 2021, 09:11:43 AM
Liked the snow ,syrup , and sour pickle . Do you guys up that way still do it ? Never heard of such . Sweet and sour sounds good . Thanks for posting . :) ;D
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: woodroe on January 25, 2021, 10:02:32 AM
Liked the snow ,syrup , and sour pickle . Do you guys up that way still do it ? Never heard of such . Sweet and sour sounds good . Thanks for posting . :) ;D
I saw that too and thought those were pickles. Not familiar with that cuisine, must be a rush for the taste buds !
Also, like the ending where at the end of the season the old sapper says probably won't do that again and the next spring he is back at it. Been there and said the same thing many many times.
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: mike_belben on January 25, 2021, 10:33:52 AM
This sums up maple sugaring very well ;) ;D :)

Sugarpoem.mp4 - YouTube (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EqreE_O6mBU)
Oh man.  Thats a emmy winner right there
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: Corley5 on January 25, 2021, 11:35:26 AM
We look forward to the beginning and ending of each season :D :D
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: Stephen1 on January 25, 2021, 01:36:48 PM
Not an expert but will reply anyway :D Yes you keep going with the heat, 50-60* past boiling then STIR STIR STIR

Someone correct me if I'm wrong I just go to syrup and don't worry about it
I buy my maple sugar,takes to long to make a small batch. :D
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: Skip on January 25, 2021, 02:04:14 PM
To be clear, Do you guys still do the snow, syrup, pickle celebration at the end of the season ? Think it is way cool . :D
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: Corley5 on January 25, 2021, 02:32:53 PM
Not here ;D :) :)
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: AK Newbie on January 25, 2021, 02:52:15 PM
That sugar poem is hilarious!!  He is quite the talented fellow!  Thanks for sharing Corley5!
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: celliott on January 25, 2021, 06:28:39 PM
Weíre right at 94,000 tapped. We are going to split our crew and start working on replacing 5/16 tubing on one of our older leases for the Cabot sugarhouse. We could finish tapping this week, but donít need to make the northern gang commute over an hour to work at this woods. So tapping will drag out a bit while 4-5 guys tap the remaining 12,000 or so. The rest of us who live near Cabot will start tearing out old tubing and running new. Itís about 6500 taps. Expect itíll take a little over a week, week and a half. 
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: Stephen1 on January 25, 2021, 07:32:11 PM
Thanks Corly, We laughed all the way through. 
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: mike_belben on January 26, 2021, 10:24:43 PM
Today was sunny and nearly Tshirt weather but there was only 2qts of sap total.  Still not here yet i guess. 
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: SwampDonkey on January 27, 2021, 05:58:52 PM
Liked the snow ,syrup , and sour pickle . Do you guys up that way still do it ? Never heard of such . Sweet and sour sounds good . Thanks for posting . :) ;D
Years ago, what general store in the country didn't have a pickle barrel by the door? :D
Around here, in New Brunswick, we never put pickles on snow candy. I don't think Corley did either.  :D
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: SwampDonkey on January 27, 2021, 06:01:26 PM
I would think this could be the year for an early tap because it's never been below the 20's much, but still not up into 40's though. So not quite warm enough. :)
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: celliott on January 29, 2021, 09:43:42 PM
-30 wind chill today, we stayed inside. Finally put the finishing touches on the steam boiler and evaporator, and got to boil the 1100 gallons of 20% concentrate, which weíve held since Christmas in our chilled bulk tank. That was 30,000 gallons of sap, at 1.1%. It turned into a little over 200 gallons of amber rich, with a very slight off flavor, but still table grade. It mostly tasted like it should be a darker syrup. I would put it on my pancakes, but not submit it to the county fair lol
The boiler is a bit intimidating, but they tell us it has so many safety features and redundancies itís no issue. Have a few leaky fittings to tighten up. The maiden voyage went well all things considered. We didnít have any level controls or auto draw hooked up yet, ran it 100% manual.
Still. Easy. Smooth. Quiet. Why didnít we do this sooner???

The back of the rig. Lots of valves :o

(https://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/20145/1639765B-5322-49C8-A71A-97FA804948F2.jpeg?easyrotate_cache=1611973598)


The boiler, 400hp, just refurbished.

(https://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/20145/55814295-EC47-4775-AA28-262215161499.jpeg?easyrotate_cache=1611973618)



(https://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/20145/F14F3090-481A-4404-88FC-19E6BF7D09A8.jpeg?easyrotate_cache=1611973626)



(https://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/20145/E0E0F94F-297D-4068-B9C4-D19362B7353F.jpeg?easyrotate_cache=1611973630)


Donít mind the ratchet strap lol our new big draw off tank that will cover the whole front of the rig hasnít come in yet. Gotta make do.

(https://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/20145/510BA8DF-4461-48DC-BEE5-2D9A4112565B.jpeg?easyrotate_cache=1611973636)



(https://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/20145/A5F869E2-3A78-4129-B3E3-CCB46A11FBC5.jpeg?easyrotate_cache=1611973644)



(https://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/20145/5A492156-5DB0-4FA1-ADFB-C9C615CF4812.jpeg?easyrotate_cache=1611973652)


A rolling boil very, very quickly. And evenly.

(https://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/20145/055D45CA-F0B4-4554-A71E-CDB38AAB7C29.jpeg?easyrotate_cache=1611973907)


Resting after work last Saturday. The pup and the boy want to relax with Dad :)


(https://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/20145/2D787BCC-0F34-4281-97B0-1C4640E16062.jpeg?easyrotate_cache=1611973755)

Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: mike_belben on January 29, 2021, 10:22:48 PM
Havent seen a cleaver brooks like that in a while.  S&W had 3 big ones when i left, just before the place became a solar farm.
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: celliott on January 29, 2021, 10:27:45 PM
Havent seen a cleaver brooks like that in a while.  S&W had 3 big ones when i left, just before the place became a solar farm.
Figured youíd like the industrial steam stuff.
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: mike_belben on January 29, 2021, 10:30:22 PM
I dont have a lot of steam experience but its interesting. With my proclivity for blowing stuff up its probably better if i just watch from the sidelines!
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: SwampDonkey on January 30, 2021, 05:05:46 AM
What a great photo Chris. :)
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: petefrom bearswamp on January 30, 2021, 09:15:35 AM
Chris, is the boiler in addition to or instead of RO
Just used for finishing concentrate?
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: petefrom bearswamp on January 30, 2021, 09:19:42 AM
Mike for a minute there I thought the S&W was in reference to a giant revolver
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: celliott on January 30, 2021, 09:31:39 AM
Chris, is the boiler in addition to or instead of RO
Just used for finishing concentrate?
The boiler is not used to boil sap, it only makes steam pressure, which is piped through coils in the evaporator, and provides the heat to boil the sap (or concentrate). Steam is incredibly efficient, and the way they build a steam evaporator, heat is transferred to the liquid so much better, it boils very fast. The pan is 6í wide and 10í long. 6 partitions inside the pan, 18Ē deep. There is 3 sets of 1Ē diameter SS steam coils stacked within each partition. So the sap is heated the whole diameter and length of each coil, VS heat just on the bottom of a pan or flues, on a regular evaporator. And you canít ever burn the syrup.
The boiler sits in an addition we built off to the side. Itís kind of noisy. Steam piped through 6Ē iron pipe to a header. In the evaporator room, itís almost totally silent. 
The boiler and piping is sized so we can run a second 6x10 steam pan, probably next year. 
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: mike_belben on January 30, 2021, 09:39:39 AM
Okay, i think i get it. So the steam is inside the SS coils which are submerged in the sap pans, right?  And the evaporators are continuous flow rather than batch i assume..?  Thx for posting chris thats an awe inspiring contraption.


S&W used process steam to heat the plant and also several plating lines with wash tanks heated by steam through submerged SS stamped baffle exchangers.  They look like swimming pool air matresses made of stainless sheet and ive scrounged a lot of them.



Mike for a minute there I thought the S&W was in reference to a giant revolver

Nope, just a giant revolver factory.  52 acres of building and i was the only "facilities mechanic" in it for 10 years.  My dad for 28 before me.  He did 40 or 41 years and my brother is probably at 20 now.
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: doc henderson on January 30, 2021, 10:55:31 AM
so it gets progressively sweeter, up to and culminating with a picture of you and you baby! :) @celliott (https://forestryforum.com/board/index.php?action=profile;u=10145) 
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: celliott on January 30, 2021, 11:14:45 AM
You got it Mike, the coils are submerged. Evaporator is continuous flow, and we can reverse the flow on the fly using some valve trickery and science. Draw down a bunch while the raw feed is shut off, lowering the level in the whole rig. Get as much syrup as you can reasonably out of the pan. When ready, open the raw (concentrate) feed to the side you were just drawing on. The lower density sugars push the higher density back through the partitions. At the appropriate time, you open the draw on the other side and get things moving. We can also now, slow down the heat to the different partitions and steam coils and likely make the process go incredibly smooth and quick. This dramatically increase the amount we can boil. Niter (sugar sand, minerals) builds up on the pan and coils more where the syrup is being finished. When you throw the lower density at it, it helps dissolve and keep suspended the niter, and itís taken out in the filter press. If we didnít do this, we would probably have to shut down twice as soon as we normally would, because the draw side gets so built up with niter. On a regular rig, you can burn your pan with too much niter buildup. The steam pan and coils will simply become less efficient to the point of minimal heat transfer and a giant pain to clean.
Phosphoric acid eats it away and gets it clean again.
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: celliott on January 30, 2021, 11:24:14 AM
so it gets progressively sweeter, up to and culminating with a picture of you and you baby! :) @celliott (https://forestryforum.com/board/index.php?action=profile;u=10145)
He is getting big fast now. Was a bit slow out of the gate, but heís coming into it. Was a wake up call when we had to take the newborn insert out of his car seat. Heís almost too tall for a 3-6 month outfit. 3 months old tomorrow, itís flying by.
Iím thankful we have gotten so much done at work I have had the weekends at home to spend with him. After sugaring season is done, Iíll be working 4 day weeks and get to spend every Friday with him. He will probably spend a few days at the sugarhouse with me too. Weíre all very happy and Isaac is very loved :)

(https://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/20145/4DCD9513-855E-479B-8A7A-B54CDC97AA2C.jpeg?easyrotate_cache=1612023679)


(https://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/20145/BDFB66E7-23CE-4AC2-8E00-281C5B359B94.jpeg?easyrotate_cache=1612023630)


(https://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/20145/B5F30DDD-E65F-4F48-84CA-D8CFB1C1BE3A.jpeg?easyrotate_cache=1612023669)

Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: mike_belben on January 30, 2021, 09:57:49 PM
Good stuff chris. I blame you for getting me hooked on this stuff, one spoonful at a time. 



(https://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/43722/0130211835a_Film3.jpg?easyrotate_cache=1612061742)




(https://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/43722/1612061403663.jpg?easyrotate_cache=1612061705)


Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: mike_belben on January 30, 2021, 11:12:56 PM
Chris can you take a closeup of the long handle extensions on the outlet tank ballvalves some time please?  Ive wanted to make something like that several times but never have.  


The even-ness of that boil really is impressive.  How many coils in each bay?
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: celliott on January 31, 2021, 05:35:58 AM
Sorry Mike, I should probably owe you some money lol

Iíll try to get a pic, I think itís just an L handle welded onto a nut on top of a ss ballvalve.

There is 3 stacks of steam coils in each bay.

Youíre gonna have a preheater and a blower and 3 more pans on that rig before you know it!
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: mike_belben on January 31, 2021, 08:57:47 AM
Well i always wanted a whiskey sugar still.


The rails are to hold more pans that ill just slide down the line as i take the hot one off and reset it at thecool end after a rinse and refill, i just have to buy a few more pans.


Gonna probably make a collector to keep the smoke and steam up over my face. 

the leaf blowers are ready though. Good idea!
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: doc henderson on January 31, 2021, 09:50:42 AM
my first little smoker would not maintain heat, so I added a copper tube, and hooked an adapter to my compressed air system.  had a regulator the would adjust to a tiny flow.
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: Stephen1 on February 01, 2021, 10:08:15 PM
Now your getting it Mike, nice evapourator!  just like sawing wood, it gets in your bood, syrup sawdust both the same.
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: mudfarmer on February 02, 2021, 02:02:30 PM
Mike, rather than a leaf blower you can build a manifold for a squirrel cage blower out of pieces of black iron pipe with a lotta little holes drilled in it and make air under fire or air over fire forced draft.

This was possibly the best thing I ever added to my home brew evaporator (air under fire, big blower), partly because at the end of a long boil it is easier to "shut down" because it is not a firebox entirely full of coals. Rather than having to time everything just right it is easier to keep a full boil nearly up until you stop chucking wood in that way. Plus it just really kicks the boil up several notches through the whole deal  ;D

Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: celliott on February 06, 2021, 11:48:19 AM
The big woods is finished tapping. Iíve been redoing tubing at an old lease, I think I mentioned. Weíve put up almost 300 rolls of 5/16 tubing so far, probably have another 70 or so to go.
We still have to tap the Cabot sugarhouse, thatís around 24,000 that we have to tap. If we bring everyone on board, itíll be a little over a week to get that all done. Long range forecast looks a bit cold, not very much like sap weather for us. Thatís ok, we make the bulk of our crop in April anyways.
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: Stephen1 on February 06, 2021, 08:22:33 PM
Our long range is winter! The snow has been sideways for 2 days now and we are going to get a lot of lake effext snow for the next week. 
Our usaul tapping is 1st week of march and our best runs come 1st week of April.
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: mudfarmer on February 07, 2021, 11:10:43 AM
A few years back everyone here that was ready in February had a bumper crop, everybody else complained about a poor season. Not looking like that this year :D 2ft snow and cold temps for as far as the crystal ball can see.

@celliott (https://forestryforum.com/board/index.php?action=profile;u=10145) I gotta commend you on taking such an interest in and being so knowledgeable about your work. A lot of people would not put in the time and brain cycles to learn so much about it as you have! Thank you for sharing with us all.
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: celliott on February 07, 2021, 07:52:10 PM
Thatís why we start as early as we do. Canít afford to miss out on any runs or be behind. Just one run could be thousands of gallons of syrup. A week of runs missed out? Could be near 10,000 gallons. 

@mudfarmer (https://forestryforum.com/board/index.php?action=profile;u=27318)  what can I say, I really do like my job. My boss (the owner) is a big time thinker. Always trying new stuff, inventing new methods or products, custom stuff. Used to be a teacher, sometimes doesnít stop teaching. We have done tubing and boiling and tapping seminars, I train every new employee also. Itís funny, a few years ago, I was the youngest guy on the crew but still running it. A bit weird telling 40 year old guys what to do as a 25 year old, but they listened because I showed them I knew what I was talking about. Now Iím 2nd longest tenured and one of the oldest. They still listen to me though lol I can still bury any of them tapping or installing tubing if I want to. Gotta pick battles 😉.
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: mike_belben on February 09, 2021, 11:58:35 AM
Mike, rather than a leaf blower you can build a manifold for a squirrel cage blower out of pieces of black iron pipe with a lotta little holes drilled in it and make air under fire or air over fire forced draft.

This was possibly the best thing I ever added to my home brew evaporator (air under fire, big blower), partly because at the end of a long boil it is easier to "shut down" because it is not a firebox entirely full of coals. Rather than having to time everything just right it is easier to keep a full boil nearly up until you stop chucking wood in that way. Plus it just really kicks the boil up several notches through the whole deal  ;D
Yeah you were right.. A hair dryer in a pipe used in short cycles even will make a big difference. 
DIY wood fired evaporator for maple syrup homemade woodstove with blower free cheap - YouTube (https://youtu.be/Q_9VjKFKakU)
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: mudfarmer on February 09, 2021, 01:11:06 PM
Yeah you were right..

Can I get that notarized and mailed to my wife please?  :D
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: mike_belben on February 09, 2021, 02:29:15 PM
Sure, I'll have my wife send your wife a photocopy of my framed certificate when she gets home.  At present im simply too tied up with doing my hair.

;D
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: mike_belben on February 09, 2021, 02:54:25 PM
I think i can tap about 10 more smaller trees on my place and then vacuum will be the only increase option until additional trees grow in from my hardwood removals.  


But vaccum doesnt make any sense yet. I maintain a 5 acre lot my dad bought a few doors down for retirement and cruised it the other day pretty thoroughly. it has WAY more sap potential than my place.  There are probably 20 trees of this size to my one or two (note my walking stick and squatting paper for scale)


(https://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/43722/0208211436a_Film3.jpg?easyrotate_cache=1612848753)



And this fat boy is the one in the background above..


(https://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/43722/0208211436_Film3.jpg?easyrotate_cache=1612849138)


My current evaporating would be overwhelmed by his sap supply. 



Trees are harvested here before they get to this diameter unless they are inaccessible or undesireable. Only yard trees are fat in rural tennessee.  Im guessing this spot was passed over because of mushy ground when it was last cut before subdivision, as i have no maple this big and my yard was once the same parcel as his yard. Mine are mostly stump sprouts grown to skinny tree clusters. Anywhere a skid trail was ...maple, poplar and black gum tend to win the spot over but stay overshadowed and stunted in the trail bed.   I suspect the boundary line path werenarrowly cleared for fencing at some point based on perfectly straight, even aged maples in a row on my place.



Ive been thinking about and looking harder as i drive around and i suspect red maples' lack of strength compared to oak and hickory are what prevent it from being a dominant tree.  It can grow very big but it doesnt seem able to take ground from oak.  I think its our tendency for ice storms.  Oaks.. Especially WO.. rarely lose a limb from an ice storm while red maple snaps the entire top off routinely.   


A young healthy oak almost never blows over here so they remain standing tall while the competitors get pruned shorter.  Our oaks blow over only when they get huge, due to the big broad wind curtain, sopping wet ground and shallow clay over rock.   Big blowover and selective logging that passes over a maple seem to be the only way a maple wins.  But i suspect when released they can grow like mad.  I cut one with 1/2 growth rings from getting its root system to a gutter in open sun. 



Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: mike_belben on February 19, 2021, 10:30:13 PM
I put the last of my taps and tube in at my dads place today.  Weve been in a cold spell that is to break up soon so i hope they get pumpin.  I think i have 29 taps total into 21 trees draining into 10 buckets.  id need 100 more taps and another 1000ft of tubing to exhaust his place.  which is probably more sap than i can handle this year. 



(https://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/43722/0219211439_Film3.jpg?easyrotate_cache=1613791303)




(https://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/43722/0219211432_Film3.jpg?easyrotate_cache=1613791765)




(https://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/43722/0219211403_Film3-1.jpg?easyrotate_cache=1613791173)

Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: doc henderson on February 20, 2021, 03:10:09 AM
great start!  Sweet!  as they say.
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: SwampDonkey on February 20, 2021, 03:46:03 AM
Mike, by the end of April you'll be glad it's over, but by next February you'll be just as keen to gather more of the sweet stuff. :D
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: mike_belben on February 20, 2021, 12:17:32 PM
Yeah probably true.   Deer season and sugar season are good for getting me thru the winter doldrums.. So i can get back to being tired of the garden! 

Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: mudfarmer on February 21, 2021, 08:27:16 AM
Finally strapped on the snowshoes yesterday and got out while it was nice to check lines. Got a bunch of fixing to do, in a hurry :) I don't know if this green D&G tubing tastes good or what but sure got chewed up.
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: Sauna freak on February 21, 2021, 11:51:04 AM
Getting ready to tap my trees today here in central MN.  I just produce a small amount from mine and the neighbor's yard trees for personal use, gifts, trades.  My limit to doing it for profit is boiling capacity and marketing.

Contemplated going small time commercial a few years ago.  A neighbor was running a large farmers market, and offered me $8 per pint wholesale pricing.  Doing the math, it worked out, and I went so far as to secure tapping permission on 80 acres of bottomland silver maple, secure necessary boiler fuel, reserve necessary capital for boiler, tapping supplies and miscelany, and put my day job on notice that I'd be taking March off.  I was looking at an estimated production of 2000 or more pints, and a net profit of around $6k after start up costs.  Well, fast forward a few months and a divorce dissolved the neighbors business.  Fortunately I didn't jump in with both feet, or I'd be stuck with a lot of capital investment struggling to market my syrup around my day job.

There seems to be a stigma surrounding silver maple for syruping.  There is some misinformation on the internet (whooda thunkit right?) that it makes an inferior quality syrup and that the sugar content of the sap is too low to process efficiently.  I strongly disagree with both statements.  I'm getting between 20 and 30:1 yield from silver maple sap, depending on timing during the run.  Open grown trees with high crown ratio are running even higher, right in line with typical yield from sugar maple.  It produces a syrup of equal or IMHO better quality than sugar maple.  The trees tend to run larger and grow in sunnier locations with wet soils making for an earlier and more intense run...huge sap yield.  Anybody else tapping silvers?
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: mike_belben on February 21, 2021, 01:11:57 PM
I think its trade protectionism.  Ive read you cant tap this far south, you cant use reds, you cant tap small trees, etc etc.  Then done it, and its the best thing ive ever tasted.  Im finding claims a natural buttery taste is somewhat unique to TN pure red maple sap.  A friend of my wifes from northern michigan who grew up sugaring hard maple tried mine last week and said the buttery was strong and she never tasted such a thing.  Its pretty encouraging.  


When i first started working for quarries i asked a lot of questions about my rock and without ever seeing it, the standard answer was 'that rock out there is no good.'   Now i know rock and where most of it comes from.  those same guys have quarry leases nearby.  They just dont want new competitors.



Not that i have aspirations of making money in syrup, its just something to look forward to about winter.  Im still trying to figure out my season.  On paper today should be epic, but ive had my best days so far defy northern weather logic so we will see.  My dads lot has been tapped a few days and mine since january.  If his runs but mine doesnt ill assume my holes healed up and will move taps to see what happens.    Oddly i guess, some tiny trees have been my best producers and a few big ones duds.  Maybe the big ones are slow to thaw?
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: mike_belben on February 21, 2021, 08:59:07 PM
I got about 8 gallons today combined.  Not every tree ran so i will try retapping some of the first ones to see what that does.  

I need a much bigger evaporator pan.  The firebox is easily big enough to go 5x bigger.  With a raging boil i can maybe do a gallon an hr.   


Brought the clearing saw out to my dads to make a some trail.  What an incredible improvement it is to cull off dead understory.  Dang coyotes are right in the back yard teasing me right now. Never out in daylight. 
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: Tacotodd on February 21, 2021, 10:22:19 PM
Sounds like night vision is called for  fudd-smiley
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: Stephen1 on February 22, 2021, 08:19:42 AM
Mike the barometer is the key, I have seen it raining and the sap pouring out of the trees, the barometer was rising, it had frozen the night before. The tap holes will generally heal in 4-6 week.
Maple is maple, and it all boils to maple syrup. It tastes the best on  buttermilk pancakes!
I am going to start our season today. I have the bobcat loaded on the trailer and am heading over to open the Sugar Shack yard. We are getting heavy snow for the next 3 days, with rain predicted in the middle of the mess. I will hoepfully get some of the snow moved so we can get to the Shack .The snow is the deepest I have seen in years. I went into the bush last week and the snow was up to my crotch! It will be a challenge to tap this year for sure. The taps will be 6' &7' up on some trees  , because of the snow pack. 
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: mike_belben on February 22, 2021, 09:35:48 AM
i will have to remember to look up the barometer more often.  but that still doesn't explain why one big tree is peeing out and another 20 feet away is dry. maybe its just designed to drive you nuts!



i hit rolling boil at 6:15 last night.  by 1am i put slightly over 1 cup of delicious, highly addictive syrup (my biggest haul yet, welcome to the big leagues right?) in a mason jar in the fridge then had to get up at 5:30 to put kids on the bus.  i wish i didn't calculate the boiling ratio just before going to bed because i have concluded this is the most illogical hobby ever and now i can't stop. plus i have to wash all my smoky clothes and a pile of extra dishes for it. oh and split more wood and order more tube and build a ....
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: woodroe on February 22, 2021, 09:49:58 AM
You've discovered that slippery slope called sugarin' Mike. There is no end to
the improvements needed to making it easier.
I dug out my block arch from 1 1/2' of snow yesterday and sanitized my spiles gearing up
to tap 18 trees. Shooting for March 1st tapping.
Skipped boiling last year and still have a gallon of syrup in the pantry but
would like some fresh stuff and a spring time project outside in the sun and other elements.
Hoping to make a couple gallons of the liquid gold in 2 boils. We'll see how it goes.
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: DeerMeadowFarm on February 22, 2021, 11:50:13 AM
We tapped yesterday in Warren, MA. 242 taps in all. Sap was starting to run by the end of the day as things warmed up. Weather looks promising for the rest of this week. Fingers crossed!
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: mike_belben on February 22, 2021, 01:05:44 PM
Yeah ive been on slopes.  This was a greased trap door. 


DMF You did 242 taps in a day?  Is that tubes or buckets?
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: DeerMeadowFarm on February 22, 2021, 04:25:41 PM
Yeah ive been on slopes.  This was a greased trap door.


DMF You did 242 taps in a day?  Is that tubes or buckets?
All 3/16 tubing. About half of them were simply just tapping trees we used before and replacing the dozen or so squirrel chewed drops. The rest were new lines or extended lines that I had to cut in drops and that takes time. We did 5 lines from 9:30 - lunch and the remaining five after lunch finishing around 4:00.

We have between 50 and 80 feet of elevation drop from our "top" trees to the collection tanks. We get real good natural vacuum. Of course, all the lines run down away from the sugar house since we live close to the top of the hill here so I need to take a tractor and transport it back up.  :(

But, we had power near the house and none at the bottom of the sugar bush so there was some logic to our madness. I will happily report that we added a 12-tap line this year that does feed driectly into the 400 gallon tank behind the sugar house. The problem is nearly all of our maples are below the sugar house.
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: mudfarmer on February 22, 2021, 06:33:20 PM
DMF I wish you could check out the neighborsí wild setup. They are also uphill of most of their trees. Tubing runs down hill to tanks then they have scabbed together a bunch of scrap service entrance wire and tubing running a long way down the road from sugar house to lowest tank, with a well pump pushing to head tank at sugar house. Something like you or mike or I would come up with  ;D
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: mudfarmer on February 22, 2021, 06:35:43 PM
Getting ready to tap my trees today here in central MN.  I just produce a small amount from mine and the neighbor's yard trees for personal use, gifts, trades.  My limit to doing it for profit is boiling capacity and marketing.

Contemplated going small time commercial a few years ago.  A neighbor was running a large farmers market, and offered me $8 per pint wholesale pricing.  Doing the math, it worked out, and I went so far as to secure tapping permission on 80 acres of bottomland silver maple, secure necessary boiler fuel, reserve necessary capital for boiler, tapping supplies and miscelany, and put my day job on notice that I'd be taking March off.  I was looking at an estimated production of 2000 or more pints, and a net profit of around $6k after start up costs.  Well, fast forward a few months and a divorce dissolved the neighbors business.  Fortunately I didn't jump in with both feet, or I'd be stuck with a lot of capital investment struggling to market my syrup around my day job.

There seems to be a stigma surrounding silver maple for syruping.  There is some misinformation on the internet (whooda thunkit right?) that it makes an inferior quality syrup and that the sugar content of the sap is too low to process efficiently.  I strongly disagree with both statements.  I'm getting between 20 and 30:1 yield from silver maple sap, depending on timing during the run.  Open grown trees with high crown ratio are running even higher, right in line with typical yield from sugar maple.  It produces a syrup of equal or IMHO better quality than sugar maple.  The trees tend to run larger and grow in sunnier locations with wet soils making for an earlier and more intense run...huge sap yield.  Anybody else tapping silvers?
St. Lawrence Nursery up here by me sells (sold? No longer same owner) what they called Sweet Sap Silver Maples. Incredibly fast growing, super high sugar content sap. Can vouch for the fast growing part but have not tapped any.
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: mike_belben on February 22, 2021, 10:34:55 PM
DMF I wish you could check out the neighborsí wild setup. They are also uphill of most of their trees. Tubing runs down hill to tanks then they have scabbed together a bunch of scrap service entrance wire and tubing running a long way down the road from sugar house to lowest tank, with a well pump pushing to head tank at sugar house. Something like you or mike or I would come up with  ;D
Im scheming on a tractor pto vaccuum collection system for next year.  
This affliction just keeps getting worse.  Evaporator 2.0 should be running tomorrow.  It better be cuz my maples got the runs today and i have no means to store.
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: DeerMeadowFarm on February 23, 2021, 08:42:45 AM
DMF I wish you could check out the neighborsí wild setup. They are also uphill of most of their trees. Tubing runs down hill to tanks then they have scabbed together a bunch of scrap service entrance wire and tubing running a long way down the road from sugar house to lowest tank, with a well pump pushing to head tank at sugar house. Something like you or mike or I would come up with  ;D
It's kinda scary you mentioned this. My buddy has a well pump, band new in the box. We are scratching our heads on how we can use it to pump sap up to the sugar house. Problem is, over 2,000 feet you end up leaving a lot of sap in the line to drain back!
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: mike_belben on February 23, 2021, 09:49:47 AM
Air pressure ontop a tank full of sap is a very easy batch transfer method.  I did it with waste vegetable oil and C02 tank many times which is as thick as finished syrup. 

   The air will clear the line. Minimal drainback.
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: mudfarmer on February 23, 2021, 01:14:44 PM
The next time I see them I will try to remember to ask how they handle that? It seems to work well. Definitely a lot of sap if 2000ft of pipe! Looks like ~326gallons for 2". If you use 3/4" though it is only 45.9g
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: DeerMeadowFarm on February 23, 2021, 02:23:06 PM
The next time I see them I will try to remember to ask how they handle that? It seems to work well. Definitely a lot of sap if 2000ft of pipe! Looks like ~326gallons for 2". If you use 3/4" though it is only 45.9g
The pump calls for 1" pipe.
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: Corley5 on February 23, 2021, 05:56:18 PM
The 1,000' run of underground 1 1/2" from our releaser/pump house to the sugar house holds around 60 gallons of sap.  We've had bacteria build ups late in the season and back flush with fresh water to clear it up.  The warm ground invites bacteria colonies.  The next sap run goes into a 55 gallon drum and then we start checking with a sap hydrometer for sap before switching the valves to the collection totes.  :) :)   The line is back flushed at the beginning and end of season too.  Our releaser has a submersible well pump in the bottom controlled by a float switch  
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: Sauna freak on February 23, 2021, 07:53:31 PM
Still zero run here in Central MN despite 2 days in the 40's.  Just got off 2 weeks of subzero, so the stumps are probably still frozen soundly.  Once the frost starts letting go, might be looking at a floodgates kind of year.

Last year was about perfect as we got a slow and steady run and I was able to keep up boiling about the same rate as collecting.  I just have a slow batch system of a 6-7 gallon pan that is continuously topped off until I'm ready to take it down and finish boil.  The wife doesn't like to handle more than about 3 gallons at a time inside.  She's the expert on finishing and canning so her word is law LOL.

I'd like someday to advent a more efficient boiling system, but never seem to get around to it.

Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: Sauna freak on February 23, 2021, 08:06:47 PM
i will have to remember to look up the barometer more often.  but that still doesn't explain why one big tree is peeing out and another 20 feet away is dry. maybe its just designed to drive you nuts!



i hit rolling boil at 6:15 last night.  by 1am i put slightly over 1 cup of delicious, highly addictive syrup (my biggest haul yet, welcome to the big leagues right?) in a mason jar in the fridge then had to get up at 5:30 to put kids on the bus.  i wish i didn't calculate the boiling ratio just before going to bed because i have concluded this is the most illogical hobby ever and now i can't stop. plus i have to wash all my smoky clothes and a pile of extra dishes for it. oh and split more wood and order more tube and build a ....

Sounds like you're on a path like I took.  The first year, we made almost a whole gallon on a makeshift cinderblock fire box with one of the wife's canning pots that I had to replace later.  My spiles were 3/8 PEX fittings hammered into the trees.  Fast forward 6 years...

Last year we made about 18 gallons, the first year we've used some gallon jugs for bulk storage, and began first marginally successful production of Acerglynn (maple mead).  It was pretty sharp, but had plenty of gravity, so I'm calling it a win!  I still take a pretty minimalist approach.  Upgraded to "disposable" PE spiles (still on my first set after 4 years, they pull out of the tree well).  A few efficiencies have been worked in, but I'm still tapping directly into 5 gallon pails.  I have a small "sugar shack" scabbed onto the side of my garage with salvaged barn tin and 2x4s.  My boiler is a "boxwood" cast iron stove with removeable top.  Miraculously a 6 gallon steam table tray fits perfectly on top and takes fire/heat directly to the bottom.  When actively tending the stove, I can boil down almost 50 gallons of sap in a full day.  When I take a more passive approach and stoke the stove, damp down the air and let it steam off, and putter with other stuff around the yard, I'll go through about 25 gallons a day, plus a few overnight while I sleep.
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: mike_belben on February 24, 2021, 01:39:48 AM
I got a good run yesterday and a bit less today altho one fatty thats been dry gave 3gal today.  Yesterday I pulled and redrilled some taps at my place since theybe been in a while.  It was about 50/50 whether they started running right away or not, so there were some healed up taps.  But today proved that also some of the taps i pulled were still running.  Im out of spiles or id have stuck some in.  Learned something atleast. 


At this point i think tapping around valentines is about right for TN, will be watching close for bud formation. 


Ive got some promising mods done to my evaporator the last 2 days and have 20 gallons waiting to boil tomorrow.
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: DeerMeadowFarm on February 24, 2021, 08:22:29 AM
Checked the lines yesterday after work. They were all running, just kinda slow. I have a gage on one of my lines and I was getting between 15 and 20" of natural vacuum. I'll have to keep an eye on it, if it doesn't go up in the next few days I'm going to have to check for leaks. I usually get 26"+ when it's running good. My northern-most line barely ran at all. Tanks have around 1" in them. Problem is it hasn't gotten as cold at night as they predicted.
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: mike_belben on February 24, 2021, 09:05:05 AM
Whats your method for leak detection?
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: DeerMeadowFarm on February 24, 2021, 01:08:37 PM
Whats your method for leak detection?
When it's running good a bad leak you can hear but mainly I look for lots of little bubbles in the line.
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: Stephen1 on February 24, 2021, 09:10:23 PM
I opened the barn yard yesterday, the snow is real deep. It is raining now and going down to below freezing. I am hoping it will freeze hard enough to walk on top of the snow tomorrow and  friday so we can tap.
(https://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/13648/IMG_1094.JPG?easyrotate_cache=1614218826)
 
(https://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/13648/IMG_1092.JPG?easyrotate_cache=1614218782)
 
(https://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/13648/IMG_1093.JPG?easyrotate_cache=1614218787)
 
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: mike_belben on February 25, 2021, 12:58:03 AM

(https://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/43722/0224211403_Film3-1.jpg?easyrotate_cache=1614230889)




(https://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/43722/0224211538_Film3.jpg?easyrotate_cache=1614232414)




(https://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/43722/0224211740_Film3.jpg?easyrotate_cache=1614232402)




(https://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/43722/0224211538a_Film3-1.jpg?easyrotate_cache=1614232300)




(https://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/43722/0224211721b_Film3.jpg?easyrotate_cache=1614232632)
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: Walnut Beast on February 25, 2021, 01:37:01 AM
Your getting serious 
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: newoodguy78 on February 25, 2021, 09:11:55 AM
Heís definitely been bit by the maple bug
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: DeerMeadowFarm on February 25, 2021, 09:28:57 AM






(https://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/43722/0224211721b_Film3.jpg?easyrotate_cache=1614232632)

Is that galvanized Mike?
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: DeerMeadowFarm on February 25, 2021, 09:37:18 AM
Well, my sap was running well but my line with the gage was still showing lower than normal vacuum. I followed the line down until I got to one t-fitting that had bubbles coming out of it every 1/8" in the line. The fitting had some squirrel chews on it but they didn't seem that deep, however when I put my thumb on the fitting, the bubble pattern changed to a normal pattern. Of course, I didn't have my handy electrical tape with me so I'll wrap it today and see if the vacuum increases.

One of my other lines had a similar situation in the 3rd tree from the tank. 

Dan G. squirrels! 
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: mudfarmer on February 25, 2021, 09:39:32 AM
I gotta get things tapped today and tomorrow, looks like the trees are going to start pumping! Have to run to the supply store and get some tubing and fittings for repairs and maybe a couple extra rolls for some new lines, maybe go "big time" and hit 300 taps this year? :D :D
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: mike_belben on February 25, 2021, 12:52:11 PM

Is that galvanized Mike?
No, just a sanitary coating of rust and industrial enamel.  I burned it off pretty hot before the sap went in.0
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: mike_belben on February 25, 2021, 01:19:22 PM
Heís definitely been bit by the maple bug
Its awful how tree water becomes suddenly addictive and then invents entirely new problems in ones life.


I got a sunburn yesterday, it was 66 in the shade and only 36 the night prior which was the first good run ive had.. I think 14g from 29 gravity taps?   But yesterday i got another 12.  This is the 3rd hot day above freezing nights in a row.  Today will tell me a lot about TN red maple adaptation to southern climate.


A. I figured that our run was over.
B. I had 30ish gallons with nowhere to store and was gonna lose the entire season's effort. We have a week of rain looming too.


My test rig boiled like .5G per hour.  So i worked my butt off, revamped it to take beat up steam pans that i just so happened to have, and also with an eye on raising fuel efficiency and mostly getting all that smoke out of my face.  Its often windy here and open boiling blows sparks across the yard, blows your sap out the pan etc. No money spent, no trips to forage outside my junk emporium.  Had all that treasure in stock.



It still needs more tin work before i will sign off on the smoke situation, but i want to order 2 new big steam pans and finish it for those.  The little ones keep me crazy busy and with mangled flanges there are just too many flame leaks causing ash.
It looks like i got the whole table filled by 5:30pm.  I think it holds 7ish gallon... So thats like a 15x improvement!  I quit at 6am after putting the kids on the bus. I reduced all of the stored sap but just couldnt stand anymore so i topped them up with clear, backed the flame down and came in to crash.



In a few minutes i will find out how big of a disaster that is.  Small pans are very annoying however in this sitation i shoulnt be able to lose more than a cup to charred caramel.  


I loosely timed one full 5gal bucket reduction at 2.5 hours if i really keep it raging.  That used to take me 10 on the experimental base rig.  But i need it to do 5 an hour, and i need an RO for this to not suck.  Stay tuned
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: mike_belben on February 25, 2021, 02:10:41 PM
2.5 gallons of nearup to battle another day. Phew.
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: DeerMeadowFarm on February 25, 2021, 02:19:52 PM
These were taken yesterday. This first tote had about an inch in the bottom on Tuesday. 116 taps on five lines feeding it.

(https://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/26694/IMG_75435B15D~0.JPG?easyrotate_cache=1614280575)
 

This one had no measurable amount in it on Tuesday, but this is what it looked like yesterday. 114 taps on 4 lines feeding it.


(https://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/26694/IMG_75445B15D.JPG?easyrotate_cache=1614280483)
 

My northern most line has 12 taps on it and has barely run at all so far.
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: Chuck White on February 25, 2021, 02:55:51 PM
We are all tapped here, 1,300 or so taps all on gravity flow!

Once the sap starts to run, we'll tap and put up about 50+ buckets!

We've got a "Murphy Cup" to check out this year, we'll see how that goes!
Waiting for things to happen!     popcorn_smiley popcorn_smiley popcorn_smiley
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: mike_belben on February 25, 2021, 03:45:57 PM
Good grief thats a lotta taps.  Whats a murphy cup? 


@dmf how are you sucking the totes out? 


Sharing this handy link here steam table pan sizes and volumes.

https://www.katom.com/cat/hotel-pans-food-pans/guide-steam-table-pan-sizes.html

  Im considering switching to a single full pan and silver soldering in a drain spout then stacking another ontop for a warming pan to drain down into the finisher.   That way i can load 80 gallons and walk away for an hour. 
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: Corley5 on February 25, 2021, 05:51:18 PM
  We wouldn't be without a Murphy Cup.  Murphy Cups and Floats Archives - Smoky Lake Maple Products, LLC (https://www.smokylakemaple.com/product-category/testing-instruments/density-testing/murphy-cups-and-floats/)
We started tapping today.  Have a crew setup for tomorrow and Saturday.  Should be all tapped out by the end of Saturday and maybe collecting some sap late tomorrow.  We'll have more than 1,500 but less than 1,600 taps.  Looking at the weather we may get the rig sweet Sunday.  Takes a thousand gallons to do that ;D  Monday looks to be cold but the rest of the week looks promising.  Here we go 8) 8) 8)
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: Chuck White on February 26, 2021, 08:03:53 AM
Our evaporator is a CDL, 3X8 with raised flues!

Soon as it warms up a little bit we'll likely be boiling every day unless the weather takes a break and stays cold for a while!

Good luck for another great season, everyone!
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: Ed_K on February 26, 2021, 08:21:23 AM
 Just getting started setting up. Going to Bascomb's maple supplies this morning to get things we need out in the bush and to get 2 plastic tanks hooked together, the close handles broke last spring so that need fixing.
 Mike; try some wood stove rope they use to seal the doors on wood stoves between your pans.
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: maple flats on February 26, 2021, 11:49:30 AM
We are all tapped here, 1,300 or so taps all on gravity flow!

Once the sap starts to run, we'll tap and put up about 50+ buckets!

We've got a "Murphy Cup" to check out this year, we'll see how that goes!
Waiting for things to happen!     popcorn_smiley popcorn_smiley popcorn_smiley
Chuck you will really like the Murphy cup. Just remember, the needle points to what the hydrometer should read at that temperature. It's really just a thermometer with a different face, but it makes getting the proper density far easier. I've been using one for years, I bought it when Smoky Lake first introduced them. I used an Accu-Cup before that, the Murphy is way faster, no calculating when a temperature is in between two readings.
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: newoodguy78 on February 26, 2021, 12:35:24 PM
Mike itís interesting that you noted Valentineís Day is when you figure tapping in would be ideal. When I tapped it was in southwest NH that was the date we used too, wouldíve thought being that far south it would be earlier but who knew 
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: DeerMeadowFarm on February 26, 2021, 01:31:22 PM
@dmf how are you sucking the totes out?
We have a Honda gas powered pump and another tote that goes on the back of my tractor. I'll be moving sap this weekend so I'll try to get some action shots.

We put the evaporator back together yesterday evening. Temps went in the 20's last night and it's above freezing and sunny today so the sap is running good!

I would not be without my Murphy Cup either!
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: Chuck White on February 26, 2021, 02:26:33 PM
Good to hear that the "Murphy Cup" is endorsed by several members of the forum here!
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: Corley5 on February 26, 2021, 04:18:41 PM
We're better than half done tapping.  We'll get it done tomorrow.  Didn't run enough today to say it did.  It was pretty cold last night and even though it was in the very low 40s today the wind is stiff and trees are frozen hard.  Not as cold tonight and low pressure moving in and 40 tomorrow and Sunday.  Maybe we'll get the rig sweet Sunday night :) :)
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: mike_belben on February 26, 2021, 08:55:49 PM
What does it mean to get the rig sweet? 


Yesterdays heat turned it off.. I rounded up about 3gal total and for lack of refrigeration it spoiled.  Which im okay with for now. Few too many other hot irons to juggle this week. 
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: Corley5 on February 26, 2021, 09:03:15 PM
With a continuous draw evaporator you don't empty it of "sweet".  Liquid stays in the pans.  A rig is sweet once it's a had it's first draw of finished syrup.  The "sweet" stays in the pans until the next round of boiling.  We need about a 1,000 gallons of raw sap before we draw any syrup.  After that initial boil three hundred gallons is about the least amount I'll fire the rig for.
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: mike_belben on February 27, 2021, 03:34:39 AM
Gotcha.  Whatre the general rules for shutting down for the night and leaving sap in?  How long before it spoils?  
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: Chuck White on February 27, 2021, 08:25:22 AM
MAKE SURE that the fire is OUT before you leave, also close the feed valve that allows flow into the evaporator!

If you have concentrate (sap that has been run through the RO) in the evaporator, do not leave it more than a day or so without finishing it off!
If left approx. three days or more, bacteria will grow and when you fire it up, the back pan will rise up like a loaf of bread.

If this happens, Kill the fire and dilute the back pan!

NOTE: Best to leave raw sap in the back pan rather than concentrate!
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: mudfarmer on February 27, 2021, 09:18:30 AM
Picked up supplies yesterday for repairs and enough to add another 100 taps, should bump me to around 250. 

Got the worst string patched up and the 30 there tapped, sap was flowing even pretty late in the day. Nice drop overnight and super fast warmup, it is flowing good already. Some cold in the forecast, will get shut down for a few days but sounds like a lot of folks locally are missing some good runs because they did not want to tap in the deep snow. BSing at the shop I said I was behind the game had to get going, they said no worries tons of folks not tapped. Sleep in your snowshoes boys there is work to be done  ;D If you normally burn the candle from both ends, syrup season is the time to carve some wax outta the middle and light the wick there too


(https://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/37318/AC28676D-D0BE-4020-837B-2AE8911EEF1A.jpeg?easyrotate_cache=1614435149)
 
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: mike_belben on February 27, 2021, 10:39:23 AM
Thanks for the explanation chuck.  Ive got a batch of dark nearup in the fridge waiting for a finish.  How long you reckon thatll last?




And is there any harm in adding fresh clear sap to this when i do my finish boil.. Just to run it all at once?  
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: mudfarmer on February 27, 2021, 11:04:26 AM
If it is close to syrup should keep quite a while in the fridge. Nothing wrong with adding raw sap at finish just will take a lot longer to boil off that extra water.

It is pouring rain in the woods and I am hunkered down in an old shack...  ::)
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: mudfarmer on February 28, 2021, 04:15:11 PM
Donít laugh(too much), this is my poor manís tubing tool. $6 for the cheapest knock off vice grips money can buy and the rest scrap. Has been going good for 5 years and have even loaned it out to some poor souls down on their luck   :o


(https://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/37318/7AF5895A-3455-49A0-BB74-DCDA3541156D.jpeg?easyrotate_cache=1614546783)
 

Got my tanks all cleaned and 105 taps in, sap has been running since Friday 


(https://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/37318/21C0B48B-240C-43AB-86E8-4834C944C730.jpeg?easyrotate_cache=1614546617)
 A long drop to the tank from here, about 100ft and a real chore to snowshoe in this wet heavy snow!
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: snowmountain on February 28, 2021, 06:59:54 PM
Finished tapping in Western Mass today. Had the boy helping.

(https://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/57370/CB08740E-5651-4DA6-B242-633E1BAFD0BC.jpeg?easyrotate_cache=1614556344)
 
900 taps on 3/16Ē. Steep in places, 200í from top to bottom. MudFarmer you are right...the snow has been tough. 2-3í in my woods and the snowshoes really not working well this year.
Have a double diaphragm pump but too many chews to make vacuum yet. Found about 40 today (10-12 fox or coyote and the rest squirrel).
Should start running good. About 1000 gallons in the last 48 hours.
Have fun out there folks.
Jack
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: Corley5 on February 28, 2021, 09:23:51 PM
Finished tapping yesterday and got the vacuum tightened up.  DanG squirrels >:( >:(  There's more than 1550 and less than 1600 taps.  Ran 500+ gallons yesterday.  We've got 6 275 gallon totes full now and pumping into a 7th.  There's talk of a flash freeze in a couple hours and cold for a couple days.  We redid our head tank set up today, got the filter press assembled, membranes in the RO, general sugar house clean up, plus ran about three cords of firewood for the operation.  We're 10 days or two weeks early.  I've got to hook the RO plumbing up in the morning and do a wash and rinse.  Hope to be making steam before 1PM.
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: mike_belben on March 01, 2021, 12:18:39 AM
@mudfarmer (https://forestryforum.com/board/index.php?action=profile;u=27318)  

Whatd you weld into the jaws?  Split alltread coupler?   I have a valve stem seal puller i made that way.  Duckbilled vice grips and a slidehammer welded on back.



  I will have to make a tubing tool.  been warming the end with a micro torch and pushing on by hand.  Its a chore.
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: mike_belben on March 01, 2021, 12:20:16 AM
Today i discovered a splash of syrup in a glass of milk is a real treat.
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: Ed_K on March 01, 2021, 07:08:55 AM
 I won't laugh mine looks like that with only one set of vicegrips. I find hot water works just as good tho. If the water gets to where it's not hot enough it;s time for us to take a coffee break.
 Mike, split all-thrd worked for me.
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: mudfarmer on March 01, 2021, 07:11:58 AM
@mudfarmer (https://forestryforum.com/board/index.php?action=profile;u=27318)  

Whatd you weld into the jaws?  Split alltread coupler?   I have a valve stem seal puller i made that way.  Duckbilled vice grips and a slidehammer welded on back.



  I will have to make a tubing tool.  been warming the end with a micro torch and pushing on by hand.  Its a chore.
Yup you nailed it. Drill out end of coupler so it fits tubing+fitting then split with grinder or bandsaw or whatever and smooth out the threads so they donít chew up the tubing like a squirrel  :)
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: mike_belben on March 01, 2021, 07:48:42 AM
so you guys bring hot water out into the woods for tube slinging?  in a thermos or something?  

today the grass has some greener clumps and its pretty warm.. i think my season is over.  i'll be better prepared next year. 
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: mike_belben on March 01, 2021, 07:50:48 AM
are there any mechanical vacuum pumps/tanks out there or do they all take electricity?  


I'm thinking a big weighted syringe sort of system would draw plenty until it hit bottom, then when lifted would transfer sap out and start over.
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: Stephen1 on March 01, 2021, 07:53:07 AM
A diaphram hand pump can work, ours just has an electric motor and a cam, and a check vavle on each side
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: mike_belben on March 01, 2021, 08:03:10 AM
you just gave me the lightbulb stephen.  hand bilge pumps are $20 on eBay.  with a valved vent line it can be a transfer pump and a vacuum pump that i don't have to worry about getting stolen.   8)
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: DeerMeadowFarm on March 01, 2021, 09:31:46 AM
@dmf how are you sucking the totes out?

Mike - Here are photos of how we get the sap out of the woods. Here my buddy is running the pump:

(https://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/26694/IMG_75555B15D.JPG?easyrotate_cache=1614608629)
 
Then it gets pumped into a tote I keep on my back forks:

(https://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/26694/IMG_75585B15D.JPG?easyrotate_cache=1614608705)
 
When that's full, I drive it back up to the sugar house and unload it into our stainless steel milk tank. We have a 400 gallon tank and just yesterday, we set up this "new" 600 gallon tank that we bought over the summer.

(https://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/26694/IMG_75605B15D.JPG?easyrotate_cache=1614608661)
 
We also loaded up the sugar shack woodshed with wood and we ran water through the head tanks and evaporator to ensure all out floats were set correctly and that we had no leaks. We also gathered another 275 gallons yesterday so we have around 525 gallons of sap at the moment. We will probably have our first boil of the season this coming weekend.
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: sublime68charger on March 01, 2021, 10:17:46 AM
not as fancy as alot but we are only tapping 15 trees and run only on weekends

this is the stove setup for this year.  in the back section will be a warming pan sitting on top of the stove pipe exit and will ladle the syrup over to the 2 pans sitting ontop of the fire box.  Ran it yesterday with just water and seemed to work okay and Didn't have to eat alot of smoke to get this going.


(https://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/40453/maple_stove.jpg?easyrotate_cache=1614611756)
 
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: mike_belben on March 01, 2021, 11:12:38 AM
that stove looks like it was made for steam pans sublime.   8)
 


@dmf.. thats awesome.  i have contemplated putting a pto shaft coupler to a dead gas engine and check valving it for a sucker pump to pull collection vacuum off my tractor in the future but it may be a few years before i have that volume of sap.  the quad is working fine to fetch and swap out buckets.


(https://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/43722/0224211806_Film3.jpg?easyrotate_cache=1614361596)


Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: sublime68charger on March 01, 2021, 02:01:17 PM


This was the setup I ran last year which was my first year running sap,

Block stove did 95% of the work then finish off in the small barrel stove this year hoping to due it all on the wood stove and just finish off in round pots on top of stove when we get down to the final boil down.  syrup had some smoke flavor so hoping to tone that down on this years run.






(https://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/40453/block_stove~0.jpg?easyrotate_cache=1614625362)
 
(https://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/40453/kent_stove.jpg?easyrotate_cache=1614611722)
 
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: mike_belben on March 02, 2021, 11:06:20 AM
There was ice this morning so maybe hope is not lost yet!
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: DeerMeadowFarm on March 02, 2021, 02:50:59 PM
Our tanks all have a skim coat of ice on them
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: mudfarmer on March 02, 2021, 02:54:41 PM
We went from 39F to 0F in around 9hrs with serious below zero wind chill. Weather says no sap until Monday, glad we got what we got :snowball:
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: Corley5 on March 02, 2021, 07:27:47 PM
Long string of days here and many more to come.  I love being a farmer ;D ;) ;D :)
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: Corley5 on March 02, 2021, 07:30:07 PM
Fired up the vacuum this afternoon and had none.  Quick inspection revealed carnage to the wet/dry from a beech snapping off in the high winds.  A real mess :-\ :-\
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: Stephen1 on March 02, 2021, 09:08:06 PM
Fired up the vacuum this afternoon and had none.  Quick inspection revealed carnage to the wet/dry from a beech snapping off in the high winds.  A real mess :-\ :-\
And you still like being a farmer?  :D
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: mike_belben on March 02, 2021, 11:01:04 PM

(https://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/43722/0302212155_Film3-1.jpg?easyrotate_cache=1614743848)



Think thats it for my first season.  It was fun. 
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: Corley5 on March 03, 2021, 07:21:12 PM
  Cutting in drops on laterals, manifolds on the wet dry, and the extension connections from a while back.  
  The tree that took the wet dry out and three of the mainline connections.  The top blew out of the biggest one.  The other one wasn't much better so it came down while the lines are down before it blew down with the same result.  Took exactly one tank of gas through the 2156 Johnny Red.  Chainsaws are great but I don't appreciate running them anymore ;) ;D :)  I'll repair the line tomorrow.  Two 3/4 tees, an 1 1/4 3/4 tee, three new 3/4 X 3/4 barb fittings, teflon tape, MAP gas and it'll be whole again.  Four of the side tension wires need redoing too.
  We made about 10 gallons of syrup last night and the rig is sweet.  Looks like Sunday is our next run.  It ran some today but because of the carnage...  Heading to Sugar Bush Supply in Mason Saturday to pick up our fuel oil burner.  We're going to make the change 8) 8) 


(https://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/10027/KIMG0867.JPG?easyrotate_cache=1614814981)
 
(https://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/10027/KIMG0866.JPG?easyrotate_cache=1614814988)
 
(https://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/10027/KIMG0871.JPG?easyrotate_cache=1614814999)
 
(https://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/10027/KIMG0873.JPG?easyrotate_cache=1614815006)
 
(https://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/10027/KIMG0874.JPG?easyrotate_cache=1614815015)
 
(https://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/10027/KIMG0875.JPG?easyrotate_cache=1614815025)
 
(https://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/10027/KIMG0885.JPG?easyrotate_cache=1614815059)
 
(https://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/10027/KIMG0885.JPG?easyrotate_cache=1614815059)
 
(https://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/10027/KIMG0886.JPG?easyrotate_cache=1614815068)
 
(https://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/10027/KIMG0888.JPG?easyrotate_cache=1614815090)
 
(https://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/10027/KIMG0890~0.JPG?easyrotate_cache=1614815114)
 
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: Corley5 on March 03, 2021, 07:28:24 PM
It tipped over a really nice maple and took down a couple laterals as well.  I'm hoping the maple will re-root and survive.  It's just leaning hard now :)
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: Chuck White on March 03, 2021, 07:50:15 PM
Made a little over 6 gallons today!
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: Corley5 on March 03, 2021, 09:35:09 PM
Sap sugar content has been low here.  Only 1.5% and syrup was darker than I thought it would be.  Graded Amber Rich which is fine :)  I thought it may have been Golden Delicate.
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: mike_belben on March 03, 2021, 11:18:08 PM
Thats some big tubes corley.  At what point does one decide that 5/16 to a collection point is too small?  Do ya go by taps, trees, gallons?



2 days of morning ice then daytime highs but everythings dry so far.  
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: Corley5 on March 04, 2021, 07:21:13 AM
  Number of taps.  When we put this high vacuum system in the rule was no more than 7 on a 5/16 lateral.  Now I hear no more than 4.  5/16 into 3/4 mains into our 1 1/4" wet/dry. 
  Way back when we had gravity 5/16 and had 25 taps as a goal on a line that fed into a 55 gallon drum.  Worked then ;D :) 
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: mudfarmer on March 04, 2021, 10:14:03 AM
Corley with those train loads of firewood logs coming in you are making the switch to fuel oil? What gives ???
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: Corley5 on March 04, 2021, 10:38:38 AM
  Too much time, effort, and dollars in burning wood.  It needs to be bought, processed, stored to season, and then fed into the evaporator every 7 minutes during a boil.  A contractor size wheel barrow will last our rig 21-28 minutes.  We run two wheel barrows.  It takes a bit to get the boil rolling and it takes even longer to cool the rig down so you can leave the sugar house for the night.  With oil you hit the switch and you're running.  No temperature fluctuations every 7 minutes to fire with wood.  The boil is constant and the draw off consistent.  If there's a problem you flip the switch and the fire is out, no wood fire to idle down and let go out, at the end of the boil you can empty the head tank of condensate into the flue pan, and boil the crap out of it to sterilize it and then shut the rig off without worry of burning the flue pan.  With wood some condensate needs to be left in the head tank to avoid damage to the flu pan.  This way  there isn't any left over to sour and waste.  And the draw off, filtering etc. of finished syrup gets more attention because you don't have to man the fire.  That's what gives :) ;D :)  I'll sell the firewood and buy oil smiley_thumbsup smiley_thumbsup
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: mike_belben on March 04, 2021, 12:20:22 PM
My lifelong best buddy up north is on his 3rd year of sugaring and was just telling me about someone he bought supplies off who switched from wood to fuel oil for all the same reasons.  Said its perfect...  Except if youve been sugaring forever you can taste a slight hint of pretoleum in the syrup.  He said customers cant tell. Not sure what brand of rig he bought. 
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: mike_belben on March 04, 2021, 12:32:40 PM
Changing gears.. I tried a sock filter.  Literally an upside down gallon jug screwed to a wood post with 2 really fine knit,clean boot socks one inside the other, wired to the bottle neck. 

 It passes 90% of a pour really fast and i let the other 10% drip into a catch pan that gets reincorporated periodically.  This really cleaned up my ash problem.  I then boiled my finish batch in a thick bottom stainless pot over a propane turkey fryer really slow and managed to finish without any scorching on the sidewalls above the water line for a change.  The hot finished syrup got poured through a super fine stainless mesh i forgot i had.  That took out the sugar sand.  


I poured into whiskey bottles but the next day had a gray sediment settled on bottom so i started pouring clean top syrup off and condensing the gray junk for further settling.   


When i turned the now dry sock filters inside out just now they were full of gray powder.. Pure ash like a firebox.  So that definitely helped a ton.  After settling the gray out i have my first clear, uncloudy batch which feels like an achievement even though this is the stupidest time wasting hobby ever if i even start tallying hours.  No, start tallying days. Ugh.  




Next step for me is modding the cap on a big glass handle rum bottle with a drain valve so i can fill it and settle upside down to drain off just the ashy junk and then put the clean syrup in mason jars from the handle.  Ittle be a while before i break 5 gallons a year. 


Im also gonna try some filter fabric i have over a bucket with a vacuum drawn from a hole just below to pull finish syrup through a fine micron filter. 


Day 2 of dry buckets and beautiful sun.  I guess its a february thing here. I bet the leaves are forming an hour from here, 1000ft lower elevation. 
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: Corley5 on March 04, 2021, 02:09:44 PM
If the syrup has a petroleum taste, no matter how faint, there's an issue with exhaust or raw fuel fumes inside the sugar house.  
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: DbltreeBelgians on March 04, 2021, 02:34:09 PM
Well let me start off by saying Iíve been reading the ďmaple sugaring ď posts for several years but Iíve never posted in it. I started trying to make maple syrup back in 2015 while on LOA from work for my final colorectal cancer surgery. I bought a kit of 8 stainless taps, bags and bag holders.
I only put out 2 taps because I didnít have a clue as to what I was doing or what to expect. Everything was done on an antique 3 burner cast iron burner dialed in for propane. I made a little syrup that year and I was hooked.
Many changes and upgrades later Iím loving it. I had a buddy of mine in the millwright shop Tig up a nice little 12Ēx6Ēx30Ē stainless pan with a draw off valve back in 2016 and it works fairly decent. Big thing I learned was you donít fill it all the way up. Man did that take a lot of time and propane. Lesson learned. I keep it around 2Ē now and add slowly to maintain that level. 
So spring forward to 2021.
I got a burr up my rear to increase my productivity and reduce time for my little hobby. I decided to jump up to a whopping 8 taps that I originally bought in 2015 that were made for bag holders . Note: I gave up on bags after the first year. They get holes in them from the wind slapping them against the tree bark.
Anyhow I use those same taps with 3/8Ē ID poly tubing attached dropped thru a tight fit hole in the lid of 5 gal food grade buckets from Menards.


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I also decide to build a maple arch. Didnít have a clue about building one but I think it turned out pretty good for 99% of it being repurposed materials I had on hand. Only thing I bought was the 3 sections of 6Ē stack pipe and a couple boxes of 1Ē firebrick. My neighbor had the 2-1/2Ē firebrick salvaged from an old corncob burner from back in the day when all everyone had was pickers and the only corn sheller was at the local CO-OP. Everything else I had on hand.


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As you can see in this next photo I might have had a little to much wood and too much draft. Itís new to me so thereís a bit of a learning curve.  ;D


(https://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/31436/A9EA5B27-3A99-4123-850F-9FF9E2C6585D.jpeg?easyrotate_cache=1614880156)
 



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As you can see it works pretty good for not know what I was doing.
Today Iíll try out my new Murphy Cup I bought from Smoky Lake.
The one on the left is my original cup I made from the barrel of a worn out ďNeumaticsĒ brand stainless air cylinder and the one on the right should help me get my density perfect. I also bought a nice filter kit from them


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Sorry for the long post but I think I better let anybody new to this know to be careful because itís addictive. Iím hooked!! fishin-smiley
Thank you to everyone on here for helping me through this addiction and all the great info to get me where I am today.

Brent

Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: doc henderson on March 04, 2021, 09:20:42 PM
well the jet engine coming out of the stack should keep the whole thing on the ground!  :D air_plane smiley_beertoast fire_smiley
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: BLink on March 04, 2021, 10:30:31 PM
I am considering a small scale RO system to run a few hundred gallons of sap.

Does anyone have any recommendations for pumps and filters?
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: snowmountain on March 05, 2021, 02:33:54 PM
Really nice build on the arch Brent. Well done! You should check out mapletrader.com for you RO questions. Dozens of threads over there regarding homemade RO systems. Some threads have complete parts lists.

Good luck.

Jack
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: DeerMeadowFarm on March 05, 2021, 03:36:38 PM
I am considering a small scale RO system to run a few hundred gallons of sap.

Does anyone have any recommendations for pumps and filters?
Look up Bucket RO's. I bought a system from him and mounted it all to a board. Works great!
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: maple flats on March 05, 2021, 03:49:50 PM
You might want to look at The RO Bucket, they offer 3 or 4 sizes, and both complete units as well as kits.
About the flames shooting out the stack, that is not a flame that is going all of the way from the firebox to the top of the stack. It's wood gases, that consumed all of the oxygen and then re-ignited as they got more oxygen. Putting in less wood will not stop it unless you use so little the wood gases don't consume all of the oxygen. Not usually something people do on a smaller rig, but air over fire (AOF) would fix it. AOF is high pressure air that is blown in from about 6" below the pan, thru nozzles every 6" aimed down about 15 degrees. The blower needs to be high pressure, not high volume. The air then creates a lot of turbulance and burns those gases under the pan instead of at the top of the stack. It increases the burn efficiency. You can read about it, look at the Vermont Proctor Maple research site and read the file on Combustion Efficiency. A unit like yours could use a blower for a bounce house, a small one would be fine, but you'd need to make a manifold with nozzles, likely 1/4" black pipe, aimed down at the opposite side of the firebox. Those nozzles would need to be on both sides and across the back to get optimal turbulance.
When I added one to my 3x8, I went from firing every 7 minutes to 9 minutes and I gained about 18-20% more evaporation, while saving wood. I also lost the flames out the top of the stack.
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: mike_belben on March 05, 2021, 08:11:38 PM
Ive been watching the proctor research vids.. Great stuff.   In stove building thats typically called "secondary air"
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: DbltreeBelgians on March 05, 2021, 08:45:34 PM
Thank you for the info Maple Flats. Like i said, I didnít have a clue as how to build an arch. I probably would have bought one but by the time I got around to it everyone was out of stock and lead times pushing 8 weeks.
I was also wanting a 2x3 pan but same story, Long lead times. So I decided to build the arch and use my little pan I already had and just put the deck plate on the sides to fill the gap for this year. Thereís 2x2x1/4Ē angle iron under the edge of the pan with gasket material to help seal the pan and Iíll remove that next year. I built the arch for a 2x3 initially. Iíll buy one during the off season and try to up my game next year. Any way you cut it Iím way ahead of what Iíve ever done before and Iím having fun and thatís all that matters. Itís just a hobby for me.

Brent
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: Stephen1 on March 06, 2021, 07:14:05 AM
Thank you for the info Maple Flats. Like i said, I didnít have a clue as how to build an arch. I probably would have bought one but by the time I got around to it everyone was out of stock and lead times pushing 8 weeks.
I was also wanting a 2x3 pan but same story, Long lead times. So I decided to build the arch and use my little pan I already had and just put the deck plate on the sides to fill the gap for this year. Thereís 2x2x1/4Ē angle iron under the edge of the pan with gasket material to help seal the pan and Iíll remove that next year. I built the arch for a 2x3 initially. Iíll buy one during the off season and try to up my game next year. Any way you cut it Iím way ahead of what Iíve ever done before and Iím having fun and thatís all that matters. Itís just a hobby for me.

Brent
You have to have fun doing it or it is just work. We haven't heard from Celliot in a while, but I was thinking the other day he probable has a lot of snow to contend with and its not so much fun. 
We will finnish re & re  our last 40 taps and we should be ready to for the run this week. We have to run a new line from the sap tanks to the barn and are going to hang it from the trees up high, away from my bobcat, the little kitty hooked onto the line this summer and it is not going to work this year. 
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: woodroe on March 09, 2021, 04:19:29 PM
Bump, sap is finally running here in the north country.
Late start but shaping up, trees are waking up . Started collecting from my 20 taps yesterday
and hope to have a boil this weekend if I can collect about 30-40 gals. sap.
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: Chuck White on March 09, 2021, 06:33:35 PM
The first decent run started here midafternoon today!

Expect to gather around 400 gallons first thing in the morning, then another 300-400 late afternoon!

We'll be busy RO'n and boiling for a while!
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: Corley5 on March 09, 2021, 07:59:42 PM
We've got about 35 gallons of finished syrup in the canner.  20 more and we'll fill a drum ;D 8) ;D
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: mudfarmer on March 10, 2021, 05:55:38 AM
Ran pretty well here yesterday, today is going to be a gusher :-X

celliott must be busier than a one armed paper hanger
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: Chuck White on March 10, 2021, 07:08:12 AM
Well, we should get a really good run today, the temps are supposed to reach near 60į this afternoon!

Started out this morning at 18į, so all indications are good!   thumbs-up
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: Corley5 on March 10, 2021, 11:49:17 AM
  Didn't freeze last night but the vacuum sucked sap all night to the tune of about 350 gallons from 9:30 last night to 7 this morning when I walked into the sugar house and it's still sucking it.  The releaser is cycling about every 6 minutes.  Yesterday it was it 2.5 minutes.  I've seen it run harder on less taps than we've got this year.  One run last year it was pumping every minute and 20 seconds on 1250 taps.  We've got more than 1,550 and less than 1,600 this year.  It's raining now.  That should give the trees a charge.  It's been a dry winter here.
  RO is chewing through sap now.  We're squeezing to 10% this year.  Did 8% last year.  We had a 275 gallon tote left from yesterday's run.  We'll fire up this  evening.  I like a full tote of concentrate to start.  
  Sugar is low so far this season.  The first early run was only 1.5%.  It went to a bit over 2 and now is a bit under 2.  Our bush typically runs a steady 2% from beginning to almost the end when it'll drop.  It was 1.5 when we pulled the plug last year.
  We got our fuel oil burner but made the decision last night not to attempt the switch with the season underway.  I've got everything to make the plate to replace the firebox door, filter, fuel line and 600 gallons of fuel.  We'll do it off season so there's no pressure ;) ;D :)  I adjusted the air in the wheelbarrow tires yesterday :D :) 
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: rastis on March 10, 2021, 01:15:42 PM
I did an Air Over Fire and a couple of other mods on my evaporator based on the UVM articles a couple of years ago. We saw a massive increase in efficiency. Refuel time increased from 7 to 8 minutes, but the huge increase was the boil rate. The stock 2x6 drop flue pan set would boil at about 25gph. After mods we are now at 50 gph. I have a couple of ideas I may implement this year to increase the boil rate even more. Last night we boiled down 250 gallons of sap for a 6 gallon yield of syrup.
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: Chuck White on March 10, 2021, 05:01:25 PM
The sap didn't break loose as early as we thought!

We went out and gathered 300+ gallons around noon time, and expect the temps to stay up, so we'll have to gather again later tonight! 

Likely crank up the RO first thing in the morning!

We'll see!   :o  ::)
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: Corley5 on March 10, 2021, 07:20:28 PM
  Some pictures of today's boil.  I finished 30+ gallons in 3 hours.  Fired the evaporator @ 3:30 PM and had the last draw @ 6:30 PM.  The syrup in the canner is heating up now so we can fill a drum later tonight.  Sap's still being sucked in.  It's pulled almost a tote full since I shut the RO down at 3:00 PM.  Might have enough to fire up again tomorrow.  Supposed to freeze tomorrow night and Saturday looks promising :) :)


(https://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/10027/KIMG0901.JPG?easyrotate_cache=1615420988)
 
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Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: Walnut Beast on March 10, 2021, 09:03:04 PM
Quite a operation you have there 👍
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: Corley5 on March 10, 2021, 09:19:16 PM
1st 55 gallon drum of the season filled and sealed :) 8) :) 8)


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Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: mike_belben on March 10, 2021, 10:32:01 PM
Corley ive done entire boils that amount to what youve splashed around the drum bung there!  

;D :D
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: Corley5 on March 11, 2021, 10:02:40 PM
We're back in the sight glass again 😎🍁
(https://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/10027/KIMG0907.JPG?easyrotate_cache=1615518009)
 😎
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: Ed_K on March 12, 2021, 07:57:17 AM
 Rita an I finally got tap out yesterday and boiled some water in the pan to sterilize them. Today I'll start pumping sap up to the hold tank above the sugar house and see if there's enough to sweeten the pans. We ended up tapping around 275 taps but not sure of exact #. Lost a lot of tap numbers by thinning the bush yr for last.
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: woodroe on March 12, 2021, 04:12:45 PM
The week started off good with most trees giving up 1/2 gal. sap per day and
yesterday had a couple give up a gal ea. but today not so much as it was warm overnight.
1st boil Sunday, don't recall ever starting this late. Back into single digits overnight Mon/Tues
and sap should start running good again Wednesday.
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: Corley5 on March 12, 2021, 07:23:58 PM
Cold and windy today but sunny.  Pumped over two hundred gallons of sap.  We'll be able to fire up the RO early tomorrow.  Seventeen for a low tonight and 36 by ten tomorrow morning, sunny with a high of 47 later.  It'll run.  Maybe we'll fill another barrel tomorrow night ??? 8) :)
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: woodroe on March 13, 2021, 03:27:31 PM
You just never know , cold wind today but sap ran good, most trees giving 
up a gallon by the end of day. 


Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: Corley5 on March 13, 2021, 07:26:35 PM
  Had this mess to clean up today.  Another beech went down in the high winds we've been having.  Got it fixed up before the run really got going.  It was a slow start with last night's teens and this morning's stiff winds.  Once it took off there was no hesitation.  Our first good run of the season.  The releaser was and still is pumping about 10 gallons per minute.  We're going to fire up about 9PM ;D :) 8) 


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Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: mike_belben on March 13, 2021, 09:28:31 PM
Whatre the pink flags for?
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: Corley5 on March 13, 2021, 11:39:05 PM
Layout :)  That's one of the new lines we put in during the winter.
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: Corley5 on March 14, 2021, 01:15:45 AM
We flag the line routes in before brushing them.  After brushing we adjust the flagging.  The side of the tree the flag is tied on is the side the wire and tube will be on.  Maybe ;) ;D  Adjustments are made :) :)
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: Stephen1 on March 14, 2021, 09:58:46 AM
We had a run on thursday and the vacuum pulled all night. Then it gotcold on Friday and no more run. We only nade 8 liters. With the warm temps, the bush flooded and we lost  2 tanks, floated and flipped over, the road flooded, the ditchs were full. the main bush was good, flooded so I couldn't work on leaks. We have 18" vacuum on one branch line, but I only had 6" on the other line, soreally only have 6" on all . 
I was out yesterday afternoon and fixed a couple of leaks,, changed out some more old fittings and got up to 10" on line 2. I am at 18" of vacuum on line 1, when I seperate with the valves. I need to keep working finding leaks, as I only get 10" with both lines open. 
 I am thinking we are tapped inot a hollow tree somewhere.  ;D
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: Corley5 on March 14, 2021, 10:27:27 AM
   Just came back from firing the RO up.  When we left the sugar house last night around 1AM there were 4 full 275 gallon totes of sap.  This morning there are 5 and a 1/3.  It froze up last night and isn't supposed to get too warm today.  Catch up day ;) :)
  We're not far from having enough syrup to fill another barrel  8) smiley_thumbsup     
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: Corley5 on March 15, 2021, 07:29:54 AM
Zach put a light in the finish pan hood.  No more flashlight 8) ;D :)  We filled a second barrel last night.  The new funnel didn't work out.  It fits too tight and escaping air burps out.  Not good to have 185 degree sticky liquid splashing about ;D  Going to fire up the RO now.  Still have 4 totes of sap and it's going to run today.  15 degrees now but low forties later.  It did run well yesterday.


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Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: mike_belben on March 15, 2021, 08:21:26 AM
Corley are you a wholesaler, retailer or just a guy with a really bad sugar habit?
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: Corley5 on March 15, 2021, 01:57:12 PM
  95%+ of our syrup goes in bulk.  The rest is sold farm direct, gifted, and experimented with :) :)  
  I suppose it's a sugar production/equipment habit ;D ;D  I need a bigger RO.  It's never ending ;) :D :) :)  After season it'll be a couple months before I can bring myself to have anything maple.  Too many samples fresh out of the filter press does that :D :D  We keep shot glasses next to the press :)
  Off to fire up the evaporator.  It's beginning to run a bit but the wind is cold.
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: mudfarmer on March 15, 2021, 05:23:19 PM
We had a couple small early runs but season proper going to kick off tomorrow I think.

Note to self, buy 3 pallets of unions before ending up at the top of a run fixing squirrel damage with an end of line blind tee (again)  :D  :(


(https://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/37318/B6D94721-DE49-4032-BEE5-D71EE4617928.jpeg?easyrotate_cache=1615843270)
 
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: Corley5 on March 15, 2021, 09:17:14 PM
Didn't run well at all today.  About 250 gallons from the whole bush.  It was cold and windy well into the day before it warmed up a bit.  The trees ran pretty hard Saturday and Sunday.  Time for a break.  Maybe tomorrow.  Finished close to 30 gallons of syrup.  Not quite enough to fill drum.  There's a full tote of sap for the RO to get a head start in the morning :)
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: Corley5 on March 15, 2021, 09:18:36 PM
The end of line fittings seem to be preferred by squirrels in this area too.
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: Magicman on March 15, 2021, 11:07:41 PM
The rest is sold farm direct, gifted, and experimented with :) :)


(https://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/20011/IMG_8835.JPG?easyrotate_cache=1615863186)
 
So here is proof of where some of it goes.  :)
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: woodroe on March 17, 2021, 06:37:03 PM
Spring has sprung finally, most trees giving up a gallon of sap today, even some reds.
Almost 1/2 way to another 40-50 gal boil. 
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: Corley5 on March 17, 2021, 09:53:02 PM
  Third drum ;) ;D 8) :) smiley_thumbsup  Still some left in the canner.  Maybe 5 gallons?  It holds 60.  It was FULL  ;D  
  I chained our totes together today ;D :)
  Haven't had much for runs the last couple days.  Looks better through Saturday but beyond that...  Could be an end to the season.  It might freeze Saturday night then it's highs well into the 50s and lows in the 40s through late next week before it goes back to 40s for highs and 20s for lows.  Can't take much stock in forecasts.  They can't get it right 6 hours out let alone a week.  We'll see what happens ;D :)



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Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: cutterboy on March 18, 2021, 08:05:30 AM
Corley, each barrel you fill has two little bottles of syrup on it. What is that for?
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: Corley5 on March 18, 2021, 12:37:51 PM
Those are sample bottles for grading and testing by the buyer so the barrel seal doesn't have to be broken.  Last year's buyer didn't care.  The top three grades all paid the same and he graded and tested as it was dumped into his bulk tanks.  Other buyers test brix and grade with the samples.
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: Corley5 on March 18, 2021, 11:51:32 PM
Good run today.  I opted not to fire the evaporator tonight.  Instead I ran the RO and have 250 gallons of 10% concentrate to fire off in the morning.  I'll start the RO when I fire the rig and dump into the head tank.  There's about 700 gallons of raw sap still to process.  The RO is washed and rinsed, ready to go.  The fire is ready to light in the evaporator, and the wheel barrows are full of wood.  Push buttons, turn a couple valves, put the weed burner in the fire box for a bit and we'll be making steam ;D :)  If things go reasonably well I should be caught up about the time tomorrow's run begins.
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: SwampDonkey on March 19, 2021, 05:43:11 AM
As far as I know, my cousin's haven't done anything yet. That doesn't mean much, because his father was always late and used to run his wall clock 15 minutes fast. :D :D  I can hear it now, 'we're awful busy'. His father was busy trying to round up the boys to get some work out of them. They were always hiding somewhere. :D My father always planned ahead and was ready for the job. Like night and day. ;D
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: Ed_K on March 19, 2021, 08:16:55 AM
 I finally got enough sap to boil again and made around 5 gals. The sap hasn't run very good, few days then nothing for rest of the week. I don't think this is going to be a very good yr for making syrup >:( :(.
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: woodroe on March 19, 2021, 09:39:28 AM
I came up with just over a gallon syrup 1st boil, calling it medium amber with VG flavor. 
Typical backyard operation.
Snow is going fast and will be mostly gone by weeks end so my sap hauler 
won't have anything to run on next week. 
So this week is it for me, should end up with 2-3 gallons for home use. Plenty
for 2 people.
Good luck to everyone else boiling.
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: Corley5 on March 19, 2021, 12:41:12 PM
  In for lunch.  Made about 30 gallons.  I finished yesterday days sap at almost the same time the woods started to pump.  When I left the sugar house it was pumping in at about 10 gallons a minute.  Quick lunch and back to fire the RO up.  I changed the filters, rinsed, washed, and rinsed it while the evaporator was cooling down.  Hit the buttons and get running by 1PM and we'll fire the rig around 6.  I might have to pump into my over flow totes ;D 8) :) ;D  I have to run off some more firewood too.  There should be enough for tonight's run.  That'll be for tomorrow morning. 

(https://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/10027/KIMG0920.JPG?easyrotate_cache=1616172018)
 
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: Corley5 on March 21, 2021, 08:16:24 AM
  Busy weekend.  The canner is full and there's 40 gallons in five gallon buckets to barrel up.  It almost froze last night.  The bush may have as some places still have snow cover.  We should catch it today.  It might freeze again Wednesday night and it looks good for a few days after that.  We may make syrup until the end of the first week of April.
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: Corley5 on March 21, 2021, 12:01:02 PM
Barrel #4 8) 8). Should have enough for another one later today.  Sap's pumping👍


(https://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/10027/KIMG0922.JPG?easyrotate_cache=1616342382)
 
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: Tom King on March 21, 2021, 01:40:15 PM
Some puppy buyers brought Pam a gift basket from their state.  It included a bottle of Organic Maple Syrup.   Isn't all of it organic?
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: maple flats on March 21, 2021, 03:58:28 PM
Yes, BUT, to be called organic you need to pay a fee to have it certified organic. For that they ask lots of questions, fertilizing, spray and so forth. Most don't do either, but if you tap trees close to a field that gets either you won't get the seal of approval.
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: maple flats on March 21, 2021, 04:09:36 PM

About the flames shooting out the stack, that is not a flame that is going all of the way from the firebox to the top of the stack. It's wood gases, that consumed all of the oxygen and then re-ignited as they got more oxygen. Putting in less wood will not stop it unless you use so little the wood gases don't consume all of the oxygen. Not usually something people do on a smaller rig, but air over fire (AOF) would fix it. AOF is high pressure air that is blown in from about 6" below the pan, thru nozzles every 6" aimed down about 15 degrees. The blower needs to be high pressure, not high volume. The air then creates a lot of turbulance and burns those gases under the pan instead of at the top of the stack. It increases the burn efficiency. You can read about it, look at the Vermont Proctor Maple research site and read the file on Combustion Efficiency.

Secondary air usually doesn't mean high pressure air, AOF must be high pressure to create the turbulence needed to be effective.
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: Corley5 on March 21, 2021, 09:44:48 PM
  Canner's full again 8) 8).  I've got a half tote of sap, 8 gallons of sweet, and whatever the vacuum sucks in tonight and tomorrow which won't be much.  I'll fire up for a short run sometime tomorrow.  Get the brix high in the flue pan to keep the bacteria low until we run again.  40s for the lows the next three nights and maybe freezing Wednesday.  If the buds don't pop too much the next few days the end of the week and weekend looks good.
  I looked into organic certification.  It's a fairly expensive three year process until certification and then an annual fee and audit to keep it.  The premium paid on bulk organic syrup in the amounts I can make aren't enough to make it pencil.  A sugar bush can be certified on a farm that otherwise isn't as long as there are setbacks from active fields.  I forget the exact distance.  That's a change.  It used to be the whole property had to be organic.  You couldn't have an acre organic truck patch and use atrazine on corn on the back 40.  The big things they wanted were organic cleaning supplies, organic defoamer or proof of use of an organic oil like safflower, a current forest management plan, production and records of where all production went.  Lots of questions :)
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: BLink on March 21, 2021, 10:58:49 PM
Is there a way to test sap that may have spoiled?
I dumped everything in the woods today because I was concerned it may have warmed up too much.

Also, last time I cooked I scorched my pan and there is black stuff on the bottom.
I bought some Stainless Steel Pan Cleaner - Oakite 84M. Any idea if that will loosen it up?
Will anything else loosen it up?
Will it affect the flavor from this batch?
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: SwampDonkey on March 22, 2021, 04:34:27 AM
I noticed the sap flowing into the pales Sunday a little. But last two nights have been above freezing and 40F this morning. I suspect it's not that great this spring for sap around here. Too warm. Especially when you have to leave windows up in the house. :D
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: Corley5 on March 22, 2021, 09:53:03 AM
  This is what I use.  Milk stone cleaner from TSC and a BRASS wire wheel on a drill.  I cover the bottom of the pan with about 1/4" of the cleaner, let it sit for as long as I can and hit it with the brush/drill.  Works great.  I've got a smaller brush for the corners.  White vinegar will work as well.  I treat the pan with baking soda and water when done and flush it a couple times.
  The smell test is the best way for bad sap.  If it has a sour smell it's not good.  A yeasty smell isn't necessarily bad nor cloudiness.

(https://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/10027/KIMG0926.JPG?easyrotate_cache=1616420350)
 
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: doc henderson on March 22, 2021, 09:57:20 AM
have not heard from you @celliott (https://forestryforum.com/board/index.php?action=profile;u=10145) in a while.  hope you are just busy, and all else is going ok.  
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: Corley5 on March 22, 2021, 10:36:35 AM
Barrel #5 is packed 😎😎.  Sap is running a bit.  That's an advantage of high vacuum.  Off to do leak checks in the tubing system🙂
(https://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/10027/KIMG0927.JPG?easyrotate_cache=1616423520)
 
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: SwampDonkey on March 22, 2021, 11:01:04 AM
Yep, vacuum definitely worth it for the volumes. :)
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: Corley5 on March 22, 2021, 02:37:32 PM
  My attempt at checking for vacuum leaks was fairly unsuccessful :(  With the wind, very little sap flow to see bubbles in the lines, and my impaired hearing so I can't hear leaks all made it a waste of time.  Zach normally does it but I figured I would while he's at work today.  He'll do it when he gets home.  
 Waiting for my wife to get home to give me a ride to the body shop to get my truck.  A cousin turned in front of me into the driveway next door.  I hit her.  No one was hurt, which was great 8) 8)  My truck was still drivable but sustained 3,700 dollars worth of damage.  Her Honda Encore didn't fair as well.  Anyway when I get back I'll fire up the evap. and cook off what there is :) :)  
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: mudfarmer on March 22, 2021, 06:21:05 PM
First boil this weekend, been selling everything up to that point. Loading up now for another delivery but kept some behind to fire up evap tonight so the sweet in the pan stays good hopefully.. 66F today but still some snow in the woods, oh and everywhere else that isnít a field  ;D
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: Corley5 on March 22, 2021, 10:32:40 PM
We pulled in enough sap today combined with the sweet and what sap was left from yesterday that we're well on the way to #6.


(https://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/10027/KIMG0928.JPG?easyrotate_cache=1616466463)
 
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: Chuck White on March 23, 2021, 07:16:16 AM
We're still no where near what we've made in the past, it's just a really screwy year!
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: Corley5 on March 23, 2021, 03:50:29 PM
  I was at a maple equipment supplier this morning and the talk was of what a crazy season you guys out east are having.  It's crazy here but we're making syrup.  Vacuum's pumping it in even though it hasn't frozen in three nights.  RO's running now.  I'll be boiling.
  Sounds like bulk prices are on the rise.  Buyers are trying to get it now cheap.  I've been offered $2.20 a lb.  Some producers are holding out for $2.50.  We'll see where it goes.  I'm in no hurry to sell at this point but that new Lapierre RO looked really good this morning and would look even better in my sugar house ;) ;D :) 8) 8) 
  Good Luck Everyone.
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: SwampDonkey on March 23, 2021, 06:04:38 PM
Early summer is what I call it. Aspen are flowering already. Doh!!  :D

Cousin just fired up for the first time today.
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: mike_belben on March 23, 2021, 06:13:22 PM
Yeah almost stepped on this guy pulling taps.  


(https://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/43722/0323211536_Film3-1.jpg?easyrotate_cache=1616537497)



Anyone know what brand of visitor that is?
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: Walnut Beast on March 23, 2021, 06:20:40 PM
Looks like he has a little Optifade camo going on 
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: Magicman on March 23, 2021, 07:41:41 PM
I would say, Southern Hognose (https://www.google.com/search?q=Southern+hognose+snake&client=firefox-b-1-d&sa=X&stick=H4sIAAAAAAAAAONgFuLUz9U3MDUvNjZW4gIxjZPi8yoKtOyzk630kzLzc_LTK_Uz89Lyi3ITc-IhApnJQGZ6UX5pQWZeulVRakFRanFqXkliSWZZqkJxQWpyZmrxIlax4PzSkozUojyFjPz0vPxioFReYnbqDlbGCWyMAEQdmq55AAAA&biw=1440&bih=688&sxsrf=ALeKk01vWUuVXmTgAYZ89OecEz5FAZttWA:1616542857441&tbm=isch&source=iu&ictx=1&fir=Ejx9Xit0mRfcAM%252C9IaX1OwufgDwfM%252C%252Fm%252F03b_nxp&vet=1&usg=AI4_-kSh-SQR1b64Qkh929Vg0FSusD6qdQ&ved=2ahUKEwinq6C2y8fvAhVMTjABHWJfB5UQ_B16BAgyEAE#imgrc=Ejx9Xit0mRfcAM).
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: mike_belben on March 24, 2021, 07:40:55 AM
I think you nailed it lynn, Wish i looked a bit harder at his snout.  First time ive seen one of them here. And man his camo was good, almost stepped on him.. He didnt move a bit.
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: mudfarmer on March 24, 2021, 07:55:36 AM
Corley that is good to hear about possible rising prices, I get paid for my sap based on volume, sugar content and what he gets paid for bulk syrup (some people here just get a flat rate per gallon agreed upon at beginning of the season). A few more nickels in the pocket wouldn't hurt my feelings :-X

First tick of the year for me yesterday but others locally have been finding lots. Thankfully not much for snakes! Moose tracks in the swamp again though.
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: BLink on March 24, 2021, 01:26:45 PM
Thank you Corely5. 
  This is what I use.  Milk stone cleaner from TSC and a BRASS wire wheel on a drill.
I will give this a try.

I have about 3 acres of Red Maple and it is low land so it is all done by foot and sometimes there is a lot of snow so I don't tap that many trees. I bought an RO System and has reduced my boil time CONSIDERABLY!

2 Questions, or more.  :)
Would it make sense to thin the smaller trees to give the larger trees more space? They are all about 60 - 70 feet tall with nothing but the very top. I am thinking if I removed many of the smaller trees, the larger ones would spread out a bit.

I have an old vacuum pump from a dairy farmer. Any idea how many taps that would cover? It is all level ground so no fall to take advantage of.
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: mike_belben on March 24, 2021, 01:43:24 PM
YES!  

Red maple responds like crazy to release.. Almost like pine.  I have one big multi leader red that pees out 3 gallon on a good afternoon.  Equivalent to a dozen small trees.  

I counted just 42 rings on a monster red maple yard stump on monday.  Half inch diameter each. 
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: Corley5 on March 24, 2021, 04:34:38 PM
  Dairy vacuum pumps were the first ones used in sap collection.  They're not capable of really high vacuum but they're better than no vacuum ;D :) :).  I don't know about sizing :)
  Thinning your sugar bush wouldn't hurt it a bit but leave some younger trees as replacements :) :)
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: Stephen1 on March 24, 2021, 05:47:59 PM
Been real busy around here, planning the build of the new house, sawmill and kiln booked solid.
Trying to make some syrup and the 1st run was the worst  syrup in our  history, 100 to 1 ratio. Yet it tested at 2.5%
I had to leave last wed when the run started and my buddy was to lazy to come to the bush, the hose fell out of the tanks and we lost 2 full days of run. I got back friday afternoon and got everything back working, found some leaks and got back up to 17 inchs of vacuum 8)
We had it run for 2 days and made 40 liters, or 10 gallons. 
But it's real warm this week , vacuum is pulling a pidliing amount of sap. Looks like some freezing this friday for a few days and we still have 12" of snow in the bush. It's not over yet!
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: Chuck White on March 25, 2021, 07:17:22 AM
We removed the covers from the 50 buckets we still have, and pulled the lines out of the barrels and removed their covers!

Tree tops are turning red!

We're  done, way down from previous years!
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: Corley5 on March 25, 2021, 11:47:07 PM
  Still making syrup in the Northern Lower  8) for a few more days anyway.  Filled drum #6 tonight and the little canner, 18 gallons, is full.  I'm going to turn it on the morning and fill quarts and pints.  I need to straighten up and get these drums stowed away, clean the front pan and run off some more firewood.  There'll probably be some sap tomorrow.  The syrup is staying nice, getting a bit darker but still good flavor.  It is getting that stronger aromatic fresh out of the evaporator :)


(https://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/10027/KIMG0929.JPG?easyrotate_cache=1616729778)
 
(https://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/10027/KIMG0931.JPG?easyrotate_cache=1616729786)
 
(https://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/10027/KIMG0932.JPG?easyrotate_cache=1616729793)
 
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: mike_belben on March 26, 2021, 06:25:15 AM
Im guessing new food grade drums are required to not ruin the taste?  What do those actually cost?
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: Ed_K on March 26, 2021, 08:05:19 AM
 I got lucky and filled 20 Gal. off 275 tap with the crazyist season ever for us. We only boiled 5 time because of the sap not running every day last 2 days it's been 70į day and 40į to 50į at night so no runs to be had >:(.
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: doc henderson on March 26, 2021, 09:15:34 AM
I got my food grade 55 gallon drums at a metal recycling place.  My brew buddy Jim drives a truck for them.  they come in with bulk honey.  I pressure washed them, but also bought 55 gallon food grade liners.  I never got enough sap to need 55 gallon barrels.  We will tap earlier next year, and the plan is to go for volume next year.  so I paid 5 buck apiece and got the lid and cam strap locks.  they were otherwise going to be crushed.  @mike_belben (https://forestryforum.com/board/index.php?action=profile;u=33722) .  they came with a supply of bees that had found the honey.
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: Corley5 on March 26, 2021, 10:02:41 AM
  Two seasons are allowed on new food grade epoxy lined steel drums.  I bought a dozen new a year ago.  They were $48.00 each.  I used nine last season.  The first three this season were new.  The buyer steams them out and returns them.  Stainless steel drums are on my short list.  No time limit on them :) ;D
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: rastis on March 26, 2021, 01:03:44 PM
Monday was our official last day. We did try boiling what we collected Tuesday, but it was off flavor due to budding so it got tossed. Last night unplugged all the trees and started the cleanup process. We managed to get 49.5 gallons out of 144 trees, which is down form our normal of around 60 gallons
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: Chuck White on March 26, 2021, 08:50:05 PM
Today we pulled the 50+ buckets and spouts, washed and stacked for drying, then we went to work on the evaporator!

All clean and now in storage!

All we have left to do is rinse and store the barrels, and flush the sap lines!

Later in the Spring/Early Summer we'll refill the woodshed, that'll be a one-day (or less) job!
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: Corley5 on March 26, 2021, 11:27:24 PM
Getting darker and stronger.  Not too much longer now.  I see a red maple in neighbor's yard is budded out.  Our sugar maples haven't.  Yet.
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: Corley5 on March 27, 2021, 07:03:25 PM
Sugar content tanked today...
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: Stephen1 on March 28, 2021, 11:16:55 AM
Close behind you, only gathered 100 gallons of sap yesterday, raining again and no real cold nights. I expect the buds out this week on the red maples.
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: Corley5 on March 28, 2021, 10:35:02 PM
Boiling now.  Couple hundred gallons left in the head tank.  Pretty good boil rate tonight.  I've always meant to put a flow meter on the float box.  It's raw sap.  There wasn't enough to RO and have enough permeate to rinse, wash, and rinse it.  I figure if the forecast holds somewhat true Saturday will be it.  We'll pull taps the next week.
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: Ed_K on March 29, 2021, 07:33:09 PM
 I checked the sugar content of the last sap I got an it was down to 1/2 percent. Had a Dr. app today and just 20 miles down the valley the red maples are budded out and the sugar's are swelled big time. We're done also.
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: Corley5 on March 30, 2021, 10:01:13 PM
Working on drum #8.  Almost done for the night.  Evaporator caught the RO.  RO is washing, evaporator is about to pull it's last and I'm ready to go home and to bed.  Fire up the RO early tomorrow and catch it.  High of 33 and falling tomorrow, 32 Thursday with teens both nights.  Looks like sap Friday and Saturday and we're done.  I'm ready to be done.
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: Corley5 on March 31, 2021, 04:52:10 PM
Boiling ;) :) :). Tired of boiling ;D. I'll be caught up.  It will be over this weekend.  It might be Sunday now but that will be it :D   Bulk prices are still rising.  Don't be in rush to sell😉🙂
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: wiam on March 31, 2021, 05:02:44 PM
How many taps do you have Corley5?  I should clear 300 gallons tonight with my 940 taps. Sap was very cloudy yesterday. Ran all night. Was clear this morning. Color came back to higher end of Dark Robust last night. 
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: Corley5 on March 31, 2021, 07:45:36 PM
  More than 1550 and less than 1600 taps ;D :)  I was hoping for seven hundred gallons, was going to be happy with 600 and will be satisfied with 450 8).  Maybe we'll squeak out another barrel but... :-\ :-\  
  Goofy season here too.  Days the sap should have ran it didn't and days it shouldn't have ran it did.  One extended cold spell during the season and one really warm spell.  Boiling sap with 65 degree outside temps makes for a really hot sugar house ;D ;D 
  Syrup got really hard to filter today.  I need 10 gallons or so to finish this drum which is about how much I was getting through our 10 frame 7.5" filter press before it would plug. We may call it at that.    Bacteria load is really high now.  The syrup is strong, processor grade.  Color is still lighter Dark Robust but it's buddy. 
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: wiam on April 01, 2021, 11:21:57 AM
Made 24 gallons last night. Color and flavor came back to Amber no off flavors.....yet. Looks like releaser will be froze up before dark,teens tonight and only 34į tomorrow so hope the weekend is good to me. 
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: chep on April 01, 2021, 12:11:59 PM
I am just south of you in Bradford/ west newbury wiam! 

The last 2 days turned my frown upside down. I do 225 buckets. 1 per tree worth 5/16 taps. I tapped march 7. I got over gal per tap of sap last 2 days..and it's making delicious dark and robust now.  We boil on a wood hungry 3x8
(https://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/18183/20210401_105913.jpg?easyrotate_cache=1617293383)
 
(https://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/18183/20210322_171842.jpg?easyrotate_cache=1617293400)
 
(https://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/18183/20210322_174618.jpg?easyrotate_cache=1617293411)
 
My buddy called it quits and let me haul off some buckets he had hung. Big old trees . Yesterday my sap tested 2.4% !! I'll take it. Hoping for a few more good runs. Peepers were out last night so that's never a good sign. But it's also snowing right now calling for a couple inches. I hope so 8)I broke 40 gal and headed for 50. If I break 50 with the poor weather we had I'm happy. Make that syrup!
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: cutterboy on April 01, 2021, 04:03:16 PM
Chep, Good looking syrup and nice setup. Looks like you still have plenty of firewood left.
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: wiam on April 01, 2021, 08:38:30 PM
 
(https://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/10373/AEF0924B-0E71-4000-9B8D-16CBD86785F7.jpeg?easyrotate_cache=1617323875)
 Didnít run too hard overnight and today with falling temps. But made 15 gallons of top end of Dark Robust. Looks like freeze up for a day and a half then more sap weather. Pulled a branch from a small maple today. Buds still look tight.
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: Ed_K on April 02, 2021, 08:28:37 AM
 Yesterday went out an checked the sap tanks and there was about 100 gals got a little excited and opened one tank and tasted it :o >:( :( it was sour. Guess the buds are popping. Heated up what was in the canner and got 3 1/2 more gals so we will end up with 23 1/2 :). Now come the hard part :( cleaning up :o.
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: Corley5 on April 02, 2021, 09:22:48 AM
  Sap tanks have been soaking with well water the last two days.  It drizzled a little sap late in the afternoon yesterday before it froze up again.  It's still 22 degrees here but it is sunny and is supposed to be 36 by noon.  Gonna flush the tanks and try it again, see how the syrup is and decide how much more to make.  Need at least 10 gallons to finish this drum.  30 degrees tonight and 32 tomorrow night.
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: chep on April 02, 2021, 10:06:12 AM
Thanks cutter! Ya can never have to.much firewood ready to go! The big pile is next years ready to fill the shed! Good hard freeze. 20 degrees now. Hope for the sap goddess to smile bright tomorrow and thru the weekend
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: cutterboy on April 02, 2021, 04:43:23 PM
Good luck Corley and Chep and the rest of you guys who are still at it. I hope this cold weather will give you all at least one more good run.
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: SwampDonkey on April 02, 2021, 05:15:08 PM
Still at it up this way, my cousin boiled yesterday and neighbor. Today everything is hard frozen.
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: Corley5 on April 02, 2021, 07:08:30 PM
We're done 😎🍁😎🍁🙂. Trees never started running today.  It was almost 50 and sunny with little wind after 20s last night.  The trees are done.  Opened the valve in the bottom of the releaser, drained and rinsed the tanks again.  I'll RO a couple tanks of well water tomorrow for a double wash and rinse on it.  I've got a potential buyer lined up for it already.  They might as well store it as me😉🙂.  We'll clean up the sugar house and start pulling taps tomorrow too.  I'll fill some kegs instead of a drum with what's in the canner.  Still have to package quarts, pints, and gallons in glass and plastic.  We'll break open a drum for that.  That's for next weekend. It's good to be done.  We didn't make the fabled .5 gallon per tap and we're a bit less than .4 per tap but it was a good season 🍁😎🍁😎🍁 
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: Corley5 on April 04, 2021, 08:45:28 PM
 
(https://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/10027/KIMG0949.JPG?easyrotate_cache=1617583238)
   Last one of the year.  #8.  It's almost full but not quite.  Definitely late season syrup but letting it breathe a few days before packing mellowed it out.  Colors nice.  That's it 8) 8) 8)   Still have to can up some smaller vessels.  Maybe next weekend :) :)
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: mike_belben on April 04, 2021, 10:13:51 PM
Bet youll be glad to get the season behind you corley.
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: Sedgehammer on April 05, 2021, 08:31:52 AM
I am just south of you in Bradford/ west newbury wiam!

The last 2 days turned my frown upside down. I do 225 buckets. 1 per tree worth 5/16 taps. I tapped march 7. I got over gal per tap of sap last 2 days..and it's making delicious dark and robust now.  We boil on a wood hungry 3x8
(https://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/18183/20210401_105913.jpg?easyrotate_cache=1617293383)
 
(https://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/18183/20210322_171842.jpg?easyrotate_cache=1617293400)
 
(https://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/18183/20210322_174618.jpg?easyrotate_cache=1617293411)
 
My buddy called it quits and let me haul off some buckets he had hung. Big old trees . Yesterday my sap tested 2.4% !! I'll take it. Hoping for a few more good runs. Peepers were out last night so that's never a good sign. But it's also snowing right now calling for a couple inches. I hope so 8)I broke 40 gal and headed for 50. If I break 50 with the poor weather we had I'm happy. Make that syrup!
I'm no maple syrup expert (besides eating it), but that looks like a nice little set up. The syrup looks good also. my hats off to ya......!
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: Corley5 on April 05, 2021, 10:34:38 AM
Bet youll be glad to get the season behind you corley.
Yup, look forward to the beginning and the ending.
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: wiam on April 05, 2021, 11:47:31 AM
Didnít start running well till late afternoon yesterday. After two nights in low teens and only about 33į Saturday. Ran well overnight. First pass to about 8%. Test boil on kitchen stove. No off flavors yet. Should make about 20 gallons today. No freezes in 10 day forecast so not much longer. 
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: doc henderson on April 05, 2021, 12:34:46 PM
I know you syrup guys are busy, has anyone heard from @celliott (https://forestryforum.com/board/index.php?action=profile;u=10145) .  last active Feb. 7th.
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: Corley5 on April 05, 2021, 03:42:53 PM
Chris posts on Facebook maple pages...
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: Stephen1 on April 05, 2021, 11:27:06 PM
We had a good 3 day run, pulled in 65 liters, 16 gallons. We lost our vacuum for a day. A tap was knocked out of a tree, it was still in just enough we couldn't see anything wrong.
I wish there was a better way of finding leaks. 
looks like the last run today and maybe a small amount tomorrow and that should finnish us. 
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: Ed_K on April 06, 2021, 09:48:23 AM
 I pulled the lines out of the tanks back last week, it started running again Sunday but it has a bad taste and there's white slim coming out with the sap. We're almost done cleaning up, got the pans soaking with pan cleaner will take them off the arch next real warm day and power wash them. Then it'll be time to wash the sap lines, we use the power washer and I inject air into the fitting where the soap inlet is to get some turbulence as the water goes up the lines. When it gets to the end of line we pull taps back down to the beginning. We ended up with 20 gals 1/2 of a regular season.
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: SwampDonkey on April 06, 2021, 12:14:26 PM
45F here now, and 3 shacks within sight boiling sap today. :)
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: chep on April 07, 2021, 12:11:16 AM
The sweet goddess smiled ! We had a great last few days of the season. A couple big runs and a buddy of mine gave me a couple hundred gallons of sap (that's a big boost for a small timer !)

The peepers are going loud and the syrup is dark and ROBUST! Great flavor. Prob going to call it a season tomorrow and pull buckets. But my favorite thing about buckets is that you get to see the difference between individual trees. Some are running hard now while others quit weeks ago. You get to really know them like you could never know on a pipeline.  
Anyhow. Our total is around 65 gal right now and that may increase a few over the next couple days. I have a couple cold spots and those buckets usually run hard right up until the ditches are dry...not sure if the pic does it justice but its midnight and I got the doors glowing cherry red so must be doing something right in this world! Thanks for a great season
(https://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/18183/20210406_234656.jpg?easyrotate_cache=1617768572)
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: Chuck White on April 07, 2021, 07:21:26 AM
I know you syrup guys are busy, has anyone heard from @celliott (https://forestryforum.com/board/index.php?action=profile;u=10145) .  last active Feb. 7th.
If his outfit is anything like those around us, he's probably wondering how much they're going to be down!
Quite a few in this area are DONE, the only ones still going are the ones who's sugarbush is on the north side of the hill (referred to as a "cold bush").
Seems those to the east of the Ohio valley are down this year and those to the west are up!
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: mike_belben on April 07, 2021, 09:43:31 AM
Chuck dont say it too loud or we'll end up with a whole new climate agenda regimen come pandhandling through the airwaves to save us.  Make both sides of the sugar bush fair for all. 

Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: BLink on April 07, 2021, 10:06:54 AM
I bottled a few quarts of syrup in glass jars with plastic lids and they don't seal like a canning jar.

Do I need to keep these refrigerated to keep them from spoiling, or not until they are opened?
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: Chuck White on April 07, 2021, 01:54:37 PM
YES, if bottled/canned maple syrup is not sealed, it needs to be refrigerated or it will spoil!

If you're limited on refrigerator space, and have a freezer, put your syrup in there, it will be ok!
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: mike_belben on April 07, 2021, 02:38:07 PM
Will it not freeze and break the bottle?  I put mine in whiskey bottles in the fridge. 
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: Corley5 on April 07, 2021, 05:21:31 PM
Maple syrup finished to the proper brix won't freeze.  If it freezes it's too thin.
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: wiam on April 07, 2021, 08:20:32 PM
Gave up today. Sap turned sour. Test boiled some concentrate before adding to rig. Got what I call tangy taste. Emptied back pan into front pan. Filled back with water. Boiled till syrup. 365 gallons from 900 taps. 
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: Chuck White on April 08, 2021, 07:07:28 AM
Sap or Syrup?
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: SwampDonkey on April 09, 2021, 04:17:24 AM
Cousin was boiling here yesterday.
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: Trackerbuddy on April 09, 2021, 06:09:21 PM
First experience sugaring this year. Helped a guy finish boil and can  6 gallons   :D
Until yesterday I didnít know syrup sand was a thing.  Iím trying to think of a way to make money from it. How about putting it in capsules and calling it natural bioavailable micronutrients?
Seriously what is syrup sand?
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: Chuck White on April 09, 2021, 07:50:12 PM
If you don't clean your boiling pan (evaporator) often enough sugar sand will deposit in the bottom of the front pans!

It takes a special "acid" to dissolve it.

If it deposits too heavily, you can ruin (burn) your pan because there will be no liquid between the sand and the bottom of the pan!
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: Corley5 on April 09, 2021, 08:42:03 PM
Season Update #8: Bulk buy prices jump this week; Northern Vt. crop way down | Season Summaries | The Maple News (https://www.themaplenews.com/story/season-update-8-bulk-buy-prices-jump-this-week;-northern-vt-crop-way-down/359/?fbclid=IwAR0GU2jn7FLJsNW8rhq7iw5wX5_7SqduO660NhwvUg00fZwiBKYMwuYozCo)
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: Corley5 on April 10, 2021, 12:01:54 PM
Just made a deal on 6 drums of syrup to be picked up Monday AM :) :) :)  Prices are up 8) 8) 8)  We're keeping two drums back.  One to repack and one for a Christmas bonus ;) ;D  
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: Corley5 on April 10, 2021, 12:10:36 PM
   Niter/sugar sand is composed mainly of potassium nitrate with other minerals.  We've got a fair amount of calcium in our sugar sand too.  Heating syrup above 190 degrees after filtering will bring out the niter and make the syrup cloudy again.  We've had it go cloudy at 185 and had to filter it again.     We've used the maple equipment suppliers "pan cleaner" and Milk stone cleaner from TSC.  Both are phosphoric acid and do well.  This season I got some 30% cleaning vinegar from HD.  It worked pretty well too.
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: Stephen1 on April 10, 2021, 07:12:50 PM
We are done. 125 liters, 30 gallons. Way down on our count, considering we added 60 new taps on 3/16 line. I was really hoping to break 50 gallons this year. 
Flushed all the lines with water today, will inject isoprhol alchohol in the taps this week. The evapourator is sitting with cleaner in it. 
It is a relief when its all over. 
Glad to see it come, glad to see it go. 
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: Corley5 on April 11, 2021, 08:20:20 PM
Six of them weighed and ready for pick up tomorrow 8) 8)


(https://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/10027/KIMG0975.JPG?easyrotate_cache=1618186615)
 
(https://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/10027/KIMG0976.JPG?easyrotate_cache=1618186606)
 
(https://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/10027/KIMG0977.JPG?easyrotate_cache=1618186592)
 
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: mike_belben on April 11, 2021, 09:36:30 PM
I have moved many a drum of waste vegetable oil with a handtruck and a chain, and loaded/unloaded them with a hitch boom, a 2" ratchet strap for a noose and a pair of vicegrips to keep the noose on.   I figured them for 450 lbs or so.. Thats a bit scary of a number in hindsight.   Toe remover. 
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: Corley5 on April 12, 2021, 07:18:22 AM
We weighed them on old Fairbanks Morse platform scales and lifted them to weigh and load with a sling and the Bobcat.  Not a pleasant experience.  The proper equipment last night made it fun ;) :)  We did have the barrel jack last year but it's not all terrain  ;D :) :)
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: Chuck White on April 22, 2021, 08:36:08 AM
Can't help but wonder how @celliott (https://forestryforum.com/board/index.php?action=profile;u=10145) did this season!

Last year we made 190 gallons, this year only 88!   ::)

That's a big outfit Chris works with, but I'm thinking they're down too, just like the rest of us, east of the Ohio Valley!
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: mike_belben on April 22, 2021, 10:14:30 AM
i hope chris is ok.  
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: SwampDonkey on April 22, 2021, 03:05:43 PM
As of Tuesday I know the sugar bush out in South Ridge were still running the pumping stations for sap. It's only been around 30 degrees here for 2 days. Been nasty snow and rain mix them two days to and going to be all night.
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: Corley5 on April 24, 2021, 11:13:01 PM
Pumped a barrel into the canner today and Zach and Zander bottled it in pints, quarts, and gallons.


(https://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/10027/KIMG1026.JPG?easyrotate_cache=1619319557)
 
(https://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/10027/KIMG1027.JPG?easyrotate_cache=1619319531)
 
(https://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/10027/KIMG1033.JPG?easyrotate_cache=1619319404)
 
(https://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/10027/KIMG1035.JPG?easyrotate_cache=1619319295)
 
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: mike_belben on April 25, 2021, 11:30:20 PM
I made a similar pneumatic trombone for pumping waste vegetable oil out of drums.  Itll paint most of a barn from 30 feet at just 12psi if any hoses pop off.  'Case u were wondering.   ;)
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: Corley5 on April 26, 2021, 06:08:24 AM
  We run this one at 5PSI.  At that it expands the drum.  It's pretty tame until the end of the drum  ;) ;D
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: mike_belben on April 26, 2021, 07:10:50 AM
Yeah mine too but i tended to leave a bit and consolidate for refiltering due to sediment on bottoms i didnt want in the tank. 


I have caved drums into wrinkled beer cans at around 8" vacuum too.
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: Ed_K on May 02, 2021, 08:53:20 AM
 Finally got the sap lines washed, this weather has been something else this yr. We still need to put things away and then fill the wood shed back up but only boiling 5 time that won't take much time.
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: Chuck White on May 02, 2021, 08:55:37 AM
Same here as to the firewood, Ed.

We only burned 3 face-cords of sugar wood!

We've been cleaned up for over a month now!

Poor year, but still enjoyable!
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: Stephen1 on May 02, 2021, 10:56:27 AM
We used about 14 skids of firewood, but all softwood from the sawmill. I will replenish the firewood as I go through the year, looks like fill be sawing more hardwood this year so that will make a difference. 
We are down about 30% on our syrup. Could have been boiling all last week if the season hadnít ended at Easter. We had snow Friday afternoon 
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: Chuck White on May 03, 2021, 08:42:01 AM
Last year we made 190 gallons, and this year we made 88 gallons!  ::)
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: chep on May 03, 2021, 12:37:06 PM
We ended up with a slightly above decent year. Just over 1 quart of syrup per tap on 230 taps. 
We are at 1200 ft and have trees on all aspects except true north.  Do about 5 different stops through the neighborhood.  We put 1 bucket per tree and that works well for us. I've been picking and choosing trees over the last 10 years and have abandoned some and picked up diff trees somewhere else. Buckets are fun because you actually learn which trees produce year to year, its pretty consistent.  
Had a great year. Pretty quiet in the sugarhouse this year not many guests. But means I boiled faster!
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: Ed_K on September 13, 2021, 09:35:31 AM
 Anyone from the northeast going to Bascomb's open house on Friday & Saturday 17 & 18 sept?
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: mike_belben on September 13, 2021, 10:59:39 AM
It would be nice if anyone who knows chris elliot could find out if hes ok.  Been a long time.
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: doc henderson on September 13, 2021, 12:48:34 PM
yes. he started this thread, and has dropped off the scene.
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: doc henderson on September 13, 2021, 12:55:33 PM
I sent him a PM.  his last post was Feb., and last active July 22.  I assumed he just got busy.
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: mapleack on September 27, 2021, 06:58:54 PM
It would be nice if anyone who knows chris elliot could find out if hes ok.  Been a long time.
I just saw him post on a facebook syrup page in the last couple days.  Busy guy.   Also will say I just ran across this syrup thread, usually go to mapletrader for syrup chat.  I made 250 gal this year from 724 taps.   Working on a new electric releaser pump house for next season and hopefully a couple hundred new taps.   
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: mike_belben on September 27, 2021, 07:55:35 PM
Well that is some welcome news. Thank you!
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: mike_belben on September 29, 2021, 02:56:47 PM
i just got 3 stainless "full pans" in the mail today, theyll hold about 5 gallons each and should make evaporating in my hillbilly combo evaporator/smoker/BBQ thing a lot more efficient.  my buddy is on me to build an RO to reduce the labor further.

after seeing how much good, sellable firewood i burned last year i realized that was gonna need to change.  all the long spindly stuff i culled at my dads will need to start getting rounded up.  my firebox is a 100LB propane tank so it takes long thing limby wood real well. i will sort the poplar and junky wood strictly for sugaring.  oak just doesnt seem to burn hot enough and i get overwhelmed with coals.  pallet wood is a bit too hot and scalds easy.  ill feel better when maintaining the sugar lot produces the evaporator energy and isnt eating my own heat source up.

im contemplating running a section of high tensile wire on my dads place to support a mainline with saddle taps for the rest of the property to drain into for a central collection. my place has 3 humps and wont work right but his has a nice single draw. its actually perfect. 


Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: newoodguy78 on September 29, 2021, 03:34:07 PM
You mister have been bitten by the maple bug  :D
Sugaring is a great way to stay busy  and foster ingenuity 
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: mike_belben on October 15, 2021, 11:24:08 PM
well, i kinda took the plunge.  the parts have arrived for a 4 stage RO and today i ordered 300 feet of 3/4 mainline and saddle taps, 500 more feet of 5/16ths, plus 100 more spiles.  got high tensile wire and turnbuckles for a sag free install.  i dont necessarily think it will make me any money, and the expense hurt, but i can see that the hurt is only going to get larger and larger if i put it off now and decide to grow later.  that mainline price is never coming down. 

i grocery shopped today which is abnormal.  stayed as much in the produce department as i could, and holy crap did that make me wish i had 10x more garden. i had a little chunk of money come in and its about gone now, but i feel i made a good investment for the future to come, in syrup, livestock fencing, soil stuff, canning stuff.  really trying to take homesteading to the next level and start cutting walmart out of my life. 
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: Stephen1 on October 16, 2021, 04:55:59 PM
You best start cutting Firewood!
Congratulations
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: mike_belben on October 16, 2021, 06:51:48 PM
Yeah really..  Ive got all the thinnings to round up off the ground at the bush site soon now that the temp change has put the chiggers away. 

  I will tap the best trees in my yard but the lay isnt very good on the plot where i live and im not gonna develop a tubing system.  The other parcel has better trees, a great gravity layout and nothing else on it to be in conflict right now.   Since im thinning it so severely there isnt much risk of lines getting hurt if left up long term, and itll be easy to go vaccuum once theres a utility panel someday.  
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: mike_belben on October 21, 2021, 10:43:32 AM
well, my mainline dreams are dashed.  i got the call back that my order had a huge shipping bill on it due to the size of the mainline that just made it stupid.  so im shopping around the other suppliers (leader, CDL and LaPierre) and find that they are all universally frustrating.  either your site is in french and it wont translate, or its so overly fancy that it wont load the page or i cant find anything.  or it doesnt list prices and i have to email you a request for quote.  there is definitely room for a streamlined maple supplier in between the big 3.  i

f i search "5/16 tee" and get "no results"  ... then try just "tee" and get 8 pages of everything from handcarts to defribillators but no flippin plastic tee fittings, it tells me you havent tried shopping your own horrible website yet.  
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: Chuck White on October 21, 2021, 12:28:06 PM
LaPierre is French, and I believe they're headquartered in Quebec, which is primarily French!

If there is a significant amount of sugaring that goes on in your area, there should be a local supplier!
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: mudfarmer on October 21, 2021, 12:44:48 PM
Mike have you checked with places like Roth Sugarbush ? I have had to order from some of these mid level suppliers when locals did not have what I needed in the past (Chuck and I probably shop at the same spots :D )

If you are running 3/4 or 1" mainline you could use black poly water pipe from a local plumbing supplier and then just get fittings and lateral tubing by mail maybe?

As usual, just spitballin'
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: mike_belben on October 21, 2021, 01:26:53 PM
theres no local supplier, im in tennessee where maple sugaring isnt a thing. i know theyre french, but their click for english link was broken.

ended up ordering from leader again, melissa there is a sweetheart.  i just dropped the mainline and saddle taps from the order.  but i do like the idea of local black water pipe.  i suppose the saddle taps will still work fine. ??  you ever done it MF?
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: Corley5 on October 21, 2021, 01:52:47 PM
Leader's snap over saddles suck.  They will and do leak.  We used them initially and have been replacing them ever since with ones from CDL.  CDL's are not only better but cheaper.  I like my Leader equipment but they feel their stuff is worth a premium.  I went with Lapierre tubing, red Leader spiles, and mainline entrances/saddles from CDL in last years addition.  Mix it up. 
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: mike_belben on October 21, 2021, 01:57:19 PM
good to know, thats valuable info.. thank you! 

youre on vacuum right?  


whats your thought on a local black water pipe?  
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: GAB on October 21, 2021, 02:16:05 PM
whats your thought on a local black water pipe?  
Black plastic water pipe on a sunny day will cause the sap temperature to rise more than if you use some other color(s).
A rise in the sap temperature will cause the bacteria to act faster and the longer the time frame from the tree to the syrup stage in the evaporator the darker the syrup grade will be.  
When maple sap is involved "time is of the essence", unless you want dark, or very dark syrup. 
GAB
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: mudfarmer on October 21, 2021, 03:07:23 PM
I have not tried it but have seen it set up in a lot of bushes. Here I just run 3/16 to tanks. Would like to run the 3/16 laterals to 1" on the next terrace down and feed all those into a big bertha pipeline in the deep central valley but no $$$ for that at present. Also have to agree with GAB 100% and it is a lot colder here than TN.

On the other hand I like my (personal stash) of syrup to be as dark as old diesel engine oil, like coffee should be too :D
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: mike_belben on October 21, 2021, 03:39:23 PM
I quit coffee but i been putting blackstrap mollasses in my morning mud water which is about the detroit oil of beverages!
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: Chuck White on October 22, 2021, 09:47:37 AM
I'd suggest you contact several companies and request their catalog, because "prices do vary"!

CDL, Leader, LaPierre, Dominion & Grimm, H-20, and there are more, for sure!
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: mike_belben on October 22, 2021, 11:16:24 AM
Thanks for those additional names chuck. Maybe i will do that.  smiley_thumbsup
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: Ed_K on October 22, 2021, 11:56:35 AM
 Mike try Bascomb's maple supplies in N.H. the catalog has everything you need to see and prices. You only need 1/2" black plastic pipe till you have 80 to 100 taps on a line then 3/4" or 1". I when to a seminar up there last may and the guy talking said blue plastic is great if you can afford it but black will do as long as you have a foot of drop in 4'. He also said CDL saddles were better an he actually work for another dealer.
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: mike_belben on October 22, 2021, 01:52:15 PM
Thanks for the info ed.  Definitely dont have a 1:4 pitch thank God!  
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: Stephen1 on October 22, 2021, 05:19:35 PM
We started with 3/4" black  and soon realized that we really did need 1" and then we had to upgrade. You need to be able have sap flow and air travel over it. The 2 need to share space in the pipe. We like the blue as as we aere told it allows UV light in to help keep the sap sterilzed.
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: Chuck White on October 22, 2021, 08:06:12 PM
On a "gravity flow" mainline, you don't need to have air flowing with the sap, as long as the upper end of the line is open (vented) the sap will flow, even in a full line!

There are 2 grades of blue plastic line, one quite a lot pricier than the other, we use the cheaper (in 3/4 inch) and have been using it without issue for over 5 years!
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: Corley5 on November 22, 2021, 04:51:47 PM
Last drum of 2021 syrup on its way.


(https://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/10027/20211122_154119.jpg?easyrotate_cache=1637617864)
 
(https://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/10027/20211122_154157.jpg?easyrotate_cache=1637617887)
 
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: Chuck White on November 23, 2021, 08:53:54 AM
We're completely sold out.

Won't be long and we'll be prepping for another go at it!

Praying this year will be a lot better than last year!
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: Corley5 on November 23, 2021, 11:50:06 AM
We've got several gallons in quarts and gallons left.  We don't want to run out ourselves ;) :)  Bring on 2022 8)
Title: Re: Maple sugaring 2021
Post by: Stephen1 on November 23, 2021, 01:20:20 PM
I have 12 liters left, only because I have not seen much of my family this year. I will give some out for christmas presents.