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Thread: 55 Gallon drum plans

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
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    Massachusetts
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    Default 55 Gallon drum plans

    Hi,

    I've just acquired a brand new 55 gallon oil drum that I want to turn into a drum evaporator. I am planning on using 36 X 22" pan on it (the drum itself is 33 X 22" - so the last 3 inches of the pan will extend beyond the barrel). Does anyone have plans they could share for fabricating an evaporator out of a barrel that size? direct e-mail: jld186@yahoo.com

    Thanks in advance!!!

  2. #2
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    Hey JLD186 - I had one for years -- but -- No longer have my plans -- But - It was simple enough. Bought a Vogelzang barrel kit - understand that they are still made. That takes care of your barrels legs, door and door vents and the 6" stack collar. Understand that with this kit - your 55 gallon drum is on its side. I used a smaller open pan so my stack came out the back-top. To support the pan - I used small angle iron. Looked like a coffee table frame - bolted uprights to both sides in front and back of drum and bolted angle iron sides, back and front cross pieces to uprights. When pan sat on top of angle iron frame - bottom of pan would just touch side of drum. For extra support used a couple of metal straps in center to help support pan. To prevent excessive heat loss attached sheet metal sides to side rails down to curve of drum. On yours - you could have your stack collar attached to the top of the drum end and use a stove stack elbow. On bottom - inside of drum used sand to prevent burn out of barrel and also put some firebrick up sides. I used this same rig for 15 years and passed it on to another starting out - same drum and still in pretty good shape. -- Hope this helps -- Mike

  3. #3
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    Jan 2009
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ausable View Post
    Bought a Vogelzang barrel kit - understand that they are still made.
    Here ya go - http://www.vogelzang.com

    I believe U.S. TSC stores also carry a barrel stove kit but I can't access the US site from Canada to give you the link.
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  4. #4
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    Oct 2007
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    This is what I went thru to build my barrel evap.

    Barrel Evap Thread

    If I had to do it all over again I would not have used a barrel. It would not take much more sheet steel and angle iron to make a bow like Leaders 1/2 Pint. Alot easier to work with 90 degree angles instead of curves.
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  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dennis H. View Post
    This is what I went thru to build my barrel evap.

    Barrel Evap Thread

    If I had to do it all over again I would not have used a barrel. It would not take much more sheet steel and angle iron to make a bow like Leaders 1/2 Pint. Alot easier to work with 90 degree angles instead of curves.
    Good point Dennis - I was just attempting to answer the question he had on what to do. My barrel setup worked --- sort of -- and I used it for several years - but - not very efficient. It worked better than the things I first tried -Kitchen Stove - Gas Grill - Turkey Fryer - Log Stove - small Block Arch - Then built a small 8' x 12' Sugar Shack and thats when the Barrel Stove was born - cause I was really getting tired of snow - rain and wind and needed something I could use in the shack - without catching it on fire. Guess we all go thru some form of what I did -- But - if gets another guy going on syrup making -- great -- He can always improve his rig in coming seasons -- once the hook is really set and he has made his first maple syrup -- Have a great year -- Mike

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
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    wi
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    I had my done-up by some professionals. This is 2 barrells put together.
    Here's what I like and don't like about it after one year of use

    I would definitely cut a much larger vent for air to get in the front as that seems to be a problem to the point where I just keep the front door cracked at all times to get air in. I had the pan before I got the arch put together and I didn't think about the heat coming off the back end. When the pan's on the arch, the back handle gets ridiculously hot. When cooking, it's slid back and touching the back metal of the arch. SO, when the syrup came done for the first time I had welding gloves on and after about 2 seconds the heat came through and I burnt my fingers pretty good. So as long as your handles are on the side of the pan and not on the ends you're fine. I think it's roughly a 2x5 pan. Seems, too, like I had a hard time keeping a really good flame because I didn't clean ashes out enough. I had a cheap-o Walmart wood grate that only had about 3 or 4 inches of clearance and after burning for a just a few hours I had a whole bunch of coals that sorta choked off good air flow and didn't really let heat spread to the back as well. So as a few of you mentioned, I don't know if I'd do it again with barrells. If so, keep a higher grate so air can get under the wood. Definitely get your stack as high as you can to let a natural draft form which helps suck air from the front to the back.
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  7. #7
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    That is another point to make. Those Vogalzang door kits are nice to work with but the bottom door is no where large enough to supply enough draft for the barrel evap.
    I tried it the 1st time and decided realk quick that I would need a froced draft setup eg. blower.

    I used a leaf blower and used a router speed controller to slow it down. Leaf blower didn't last very long. Little longer than one season. They don't like to be slowed down andby doing just that the brushes on the motor were just not there anymore.

    In my opinon you would want a draft door the same square inches as the smoke stack. Maybe even bigger, you can always close it down.


    Now I will give you a good piece of advice. If you want this one to last more than 2-3 years drop the idea of using the barrel and work out the details on a evap similar to a 1/2 Pint.
    If you intent is to just throw one together for this year and have one to give you more time to build a nice one then go ahead and use the barrel.

    Take it from me I have been there. I am in no way disappointed that I spent the money, time and effort that went into building the barrel evap. It was a great experience, it made me feel like I earned my way into making maple syrup, sort of like paying my dues. There really wasn't any threads on here about making a evap, so when I did find info it was using a 55 gal barrel.
    I can honestly tell you that if I did have to do it all over again I WOULD NOT use a 55 gal barrel. I know I could build it cheaper, faster and make it last a lot longer. I could even have built it with out the need fro forced draft.

    I hope I am not dashing your hopes, if you still want to proceed with using the barrel I will be willing to give you any help with info that you may need and help you stear clear of any problems that I might have ran into.
    1st Generation Hobby Maple Producer, you got to start somewhere.
    222 Taps, all on Vacuum! No more buckets.
    Lapierre 2'x5' raised flue w/Hood and Preheater
    Surge SP11, Lapierre Hobby Releaser
    5" Filter Press made by Daryl
    Kabota RTV Sap Hauler

    Hardy's Maple Syrup on Facebook

  8. #8
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    a barrel evaporator is sort of like a right of passage, you have to start some where.Also when it comes time to upgrade barrel evaporators and smaller evaporators sell very quick.
    2013 Brand new Leader 2 by 6 max flue all raised with a hood

    2012 7 days collecting 9 days boilin and 24 gallons made short sweet season

    2011. Only 120 taps amazing year made a little over 50 gallons

    2010 First year with Leader 2 by 6 Pleasure Model 20 gallons made

    2009 30 taps barrel evaporator 6 gallons of syrup GREAT YEAR

    2006 Started on a 10inch by 20 inch pan on a woodstove outside. It has to start somewhere!

    Now Im HOOKED

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