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Thread: Maple Syrup 2011

  1. #1

    Default Maple Syrup 2011

    It's an addiction!

    Here's last year's syrup thread. http://www.wilderness-survival.net/f...63-Maple-syrup!

    This year I'm stepping it up a notch.

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    Slideshow! should get updated as I add more photos.

    http://s101.photobucket.com/albums/m...view=slideshow

    Test firing the new evaporator!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a83Yv2m6HKQ

    Tapping my first trees of the year!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Kb3mngkjS4

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    I put 12 taps in today, will be putting in more tomorrow. two cords of wood on the way and with any luck will be boiling by Friday.
    Last edited by rwc1969; 03-01-2011 at 12:01 AM. Reason: speeling


  2. #2
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    I do it all on a very small scale for self use and mostly for birch beer, syrup and sweeteners for home use. I am actually going to lessons on it all this coming weekend to see what I am doing right and wrong. The lessons are free and available here:


    Cleveland Metroparks
    Our "History of Maple Sugaring" program starts today, weekends - Saturday, February 26 through Sunday, March 13 at Maple Grove Picnic Area in Rocky River Reservation, south of the nature center. 11am to 4:30pm. Free guided hikes thru the Sugarbush to show various sap-collecting methods, plus the Sugarhouse w/ sap boiling down to fresh maple syrup! Details, call 440-734-6660. Check the video of Tree Tapping Day,
    too.

    http://www.clemetparks.com/events/Maple%20Sugaring.asp

    The cleveland metro parks has been a godsend for me for all the free programs they have to teach self reliant living. I also teach rustic furniture making there to scout troops so they can have a fund making program that does not involve popcorn or cookies.

  3. #3
    naturalist primitive your_comforting_company's Avatar
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    Glad to see the traditional skills stayin alive. Good work rwc! It's definately one I've been wanting to learn.
    I was talking with a fellow the other day about an evaporator pan, say, 12 feet long, with bars that go side to side with a little gap at opposite ends (not sure I'm describing it very well) and as the sap made it from one end slowly to the other, it'd be syrup to go in jars. I believe he was talking about cane tho.

    I believe Landmark Park has some stuff on that as well, and I'll be sure to learn more if I can remember to ask.

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    Super Moderator crashdive123's Avatar
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    Looks like your set-up turned out excellent. I had trouble envisioning it in the previous thread - probably due mostly to my lack of experience in the process. As you get more and more into it, I can see you building a "sugar shack" around your evaporator.
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    Administrator Rick's Avatar
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    Well, another excellent job. You're doing great not only in your skills but in the quality of the posts. More rep on your way!

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    Default tapping birch?

    This is a great thread! I've always wanted to tap birch for syrup and plan on giving it a try this spring, so any information out there for this newbie is very welcome.

    I know birch sap is 100:1 so it will be a lot different than maple. But even if I just get a little, or perhaps just make a thinner liquid for wine, mead, maybe for canning berries or just drinking will be super.

    So who knows where to get the spels for tapping? All the places online are every expensive for just a few, so might have to try my hand at making something homemade. Any idea's? Or links to a site that may sell the "real deal" that won't cost me an arm and a leg?

    Thanks, Grandma Lori
    Wilderness is not a luxury but a necessity of the human spirit
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    I just use gutter spike spacers (the extruded ones, not the stamped and rolled with open seam ones) for the spels. Cut one end at a 45 degree angle (lightly deburr and sharpen the cut angle) and cut a V notch on the top side at the other end for the bucket handle. When you pound it in the hole you make FIRST by drilling (brace), use a cut down gutter spike (large nail) in the front of the home made spel and tap that in rather than tap on the spacer (spel) so it does not deform. They work great, they do not rust because they are aluminum and super cheap ... mine were 11 cents a piece in a box of 100.

    I only tap the birch to make home made birch beer, it takes both sap and root to make it right.

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by your_comforting_company View Post
    ...I was talking with a fellow the other day about an evaporator pan, say, 12 feet long, with bars that go side to side with a little gap at opposite ends (not sure I'm describing it very well) and as the sap made it from one end slowly to the other, it'd be syrup to go in jars....
    That's a divided pan, they use them for maple too, but they can be expensive.

    Quote Originally Posted by crashdive123 View Post
    ... I had trouble envisioning it in the previous thread... As you get more and more into it, I can see you building a "sugar shack" around your evaporator.
    I had trouble envisioning it too, changed my plans a hundred times, but once I got the tank in front of me I worked it out in a couple hours. The sugar shack is on the way, a canopy tent, lol. It should be enough to keep the rain off though.

    Quote Originally Posted by Alaska Grandma View Post
    ... I've always wanted to tap birch for syrup and plan on giving it a try this spring, so any information out there for this newbie is very welcome...So who knows where to get the spels for tapping?...Thanks, Grandma Lori
    I get my tree saver spiles from SugarBush Supplies Company here in Mason, MI. They have a website, just google it. The spiles are .44 cents I believe, I bought 30 and it was less than 15 dollars. You may be able to hang a bucket on them if it's small, but I run tubing. The tubing is 50 bucks for 500 feet, or you can buy buy the foot. The old fashioned spiles are expensive.

    I know some folks are tapping birch already, in southern England? I beleieve. Tapping is mostly a late winter event. Once true spring its it's pretty much over, might not be for the birches though. We don't have enough birch around here to tap. I hear it's minty!??

  9. #9

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    Bascoms and MapleGuys are two more fairly well respected websites for ordering maple supplies. I wanted to stay local if at all possible with the $$.

  10. #10
    Senior Member randyt's Avatar
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    very nice set up. It's been years since I've tapped trees and made syrup. Now thanks to you I've been bitten by the bug again LOL. I'll be scrambling to make it happen. I have some tree saver taps coming and have a pan just about made at work. this weekend I'll tap some trees and see what happens.

  11. #11

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    The maple bug! LOL!

    I finished up my storage tanks today, tapped 14 more maples, checked the other 12, stacked 2 face cords of wood, lugged 40 gallons of water back and forth to test the tanks for leaks and now I'm pooped. Not much in the way of sap yet, but the trees were running good today. Tomorrow it's splitting wood, and 4 more taps.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AZ7Xv41zfv4

    The tank could be used for other purposes besides maple.

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    Super Moderator crashdive123's Avatar
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    Dang. That's a pretty slick set-up you've made.
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  13. #13

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    Thanks, although, my neighbor quickly pointed out that the long extended shutoff will not allow me to close my car door. Duh! I hadn't considered that. The funnel will come off, but the shutoff is sealed with teflon tape and if i remove it all the sap will come out. LOL! So, now I need to get a hose that will fit the shutoff. I'm getting two so that one can feed the evaporator directly from the big tank and the other will come out of the car to fill buckets.

    If I could get my car up above the height of the picnic table I could get a long hose and gravity feed from the car tank right into the one on the table. I could strap the tank to the roof of the car to get it up, but it might look a bit odd going down the road, not to mention top heavy.

  14. #14
    naturalist primitive your_comforting_company's Avatar
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    LOL. It's those little things that get us every time!! Believe me, I'm laughing with you!
    Will the one with the shorter shut-off fit in the car?

  15. #15

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    Yes it will! It's in the car now and i bought 2 3/4" barbed fittings and some hose to run from the shutoffs. Everything is working good now and I can feed the steam pans directly from the big tank now.

    Also, I enlarged my firebox, made it deeper and brought the bricks up higher on the sides in hopes of getting a better boil with my rear pans. I can fit longer pieces of wood now, 24" plus and the flames should channel toward the pans better too.

    I covered the tank on the picnic table up with snow to keep the stored sap cool and put the last 4 taps in today, just need sap to boil. I even got one of those canopy tents so I can boil in the rain...or snow...or freezing rain and snow, lol.

  16. #16
    Senior Member randyt's Avatar
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    ya know, I think you have more snow there than we have up here at the tip of the mitt. who da thunk it.

  17. #17

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    We still have close to a foot, even after the melting. In February we got over 2 feet of snow, most of that was in a 2 week period, IIRC. But, rains's a comin'.

  18. #18

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    Built a new Sugar shack, , and gathered my first sap of the season.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nKstTgzH9Hk
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gr8Uo8L4w_4

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    Super Moderator crashdive123's Avatar
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    Good stuff. I couldn't tell from the picture or the first video it the center pole on your tarp was sticking through a gromet or eyelet. If not, and since it was kind of breezy, you may want to put a pad (folded up rag or t-shirt) between the pole and the tarp to keep it from tearing through.
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  20. #20

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    Ya, it has a grommet, the pole has a plastic insert that fits through it, and on the other side, the top, you put a rubber grommet to hold it in and keep it from rising up I suppose. It's been raining here overnight and she's still holding. We're supposed to hit 50 tonight so the sap should be flowing real good today, I hope.

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