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Thread: Very Simple Sap Lines

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Location
    Victor NY
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    609

    Default Very Simple Sap Lines

    Hello everyone,

    I have a quick question. I am looking at running 5 or 6 small sap lines into 30gallon barrels. The distance would only be about 25 yards and I would look to run about 20 taps per line. Does it have to be vented and can I use regular tubing or do I have to put in thicker lines as main line? Also, How much of an angle must it run down hill?

    I plan to then pump the sap to my sugar shack using my new pump. It should cut down on some leg work.

    Thanks.

    Chris

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Location
    Cabot Vermont
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    480

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    I would not vent it because it will make some natural vacuum as the sap runs down the hill. If possible, ten taps per 100 feet of 5/16 tubing is the general rule of thumb. Some say 20 taps works good on up to 150 feet of tubing, you should maintain a 3 to 5 percent grade on your lines, but more is better, I believe. You shouldn't need any main line at all. keep the tubing tight and let the sap flow!!

    Brian

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    Location
    COLDEN, NY
    Posts
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    I did the same thing last year. You don't need main line for that. 5% grade or more is good don't vent the lines. Keep the taps a little less if you can. I had to 30 gal cans set up with about 25-30 taps running in each. The lines were less than 100 ft. Just drill a 5/16 hole in the lid for the lines to go in.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Protorsville VT
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    363

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    I would not put any more than ten taps per line. 5% grade or more is good. I prefer rigid myself as it cleans better. DO NOT VENT. Unless you want to see your sap run uphill and out on the ground.
    Scott W.
    2.5x8 Grimm raised flue
    Leader inferno arch 90 gph
    Vacuum, RO, Syrofilter
    1500 taps
    UV filter
    Can am 400 HO

  5. #5
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    Mar 2003
    Location
    BECKLEY, WV (SUGARHOUSE DAWSON, WV)
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    Chris,

    I put as many as 25 taps on a lateral line and have always had good success. I am not saying that is the best way, but it has always worked good for me.

    I am sure I will get bashed for this information, but everyone has different ways of doing things and this has worked good for me.

    Brandon

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Protorsville VT
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    363

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    I don't want to bash either but I know by experience when I broke those 20 tap runs in half they ran better. Try it with a run or two. I would be interested in the results.
    Scott W.
    2.5x8 Grimm raised flue
    Leader inferno arch 90 gph
    Vacuum, RO, Syrofilter
    1500 taps
    UV filter
    Can am 400 HO

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2021
    Location
    Parry Sound Area, Ontario
    Posts
    199

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by themapleking View Post
    I did the same thing last year. You don't need main line for that. 5% grade or more is good don't vent the lines. Keep the taps a little less if you can. I had to 30 gal cans set up with about 25-30 taps running in each. The lines were less than 100 ft. Just drill a 5/16 hole in the lid for the lines to go in.
    I am just now considering running some lines, if you do not have a main line, do you have individual lines from each tap that run to the barrel, or do you connect them with T connectors?

    Thanks

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    UVM Proctor Maple Research Center, Underhill Ctr, VT
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    5,687

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    Quote Originally Posted by Swingpure View Post
    I am just now considering running some lines, if you do not have a main line, do you have individual lines from each tap that run to the barrel, or do you connect them with T connectors?
    If you're just using gravity flow (not pumped vacuum), then you can have up to about 20 trees on each lateral line (5/16"), although no more than 10 might do a little better. You want to have single trunk-lines (lateral line) for each run of trees, with each individual tree connected via a tee and drop-line. DO NOT split/connect the lines with wyes and DO NOT vent the lines. Lines should run downhill, be tight (no sags) and relatively straight (zig-zagging from tree to tree is OK if it is not too excessive and the lines run continuously downhill).
    Dr. Tim Perkins
    UVM Proctor Maple Research Ctr
    http://www.uvm.edu/~pmrc
    https://mapleresearch.org
    Timothy.Perkins@uvm.edu

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2015
    Location
    Weston, CT
    Posts
    302

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    The key to getting good flow using 5/16" runs is having a straight final run of tubing from your lowest tap to the collection barrel of 75 feet or more and a drop of 5 vertical feet per 25 feet of run.

    You want no fittings of any kind mucking up a final run.

    Less then this will still work but more then this will work better and support more taps and more fluvial taps.

    So if it is a 75 foot final run then it should drop 15 vertical feet. These numbers have provided up to 17 inches of mercury for me with 7 taps.

    More and/or longer pitch then that would get you more inches of mercury and support more taps on the run.

    The pitch of your tubing run above the lowest tap is not as critical as your final run as described above.

    But tubing in the "taps" area should be straight and pitched downward as well as possible. But pitch in this area is not required however it will prevent back flow into the tap holes at sap flow shut down time, if that sap is not drawn out at shut down time when the sap column in the "final run" collapses, as it will be in a entirely pitched run. Sap that collects in any Non pitch area will act as a counter weight against the column of sap in the final run, reducing its efficiency and effectiveness of suction at tap hole location.

    The natural vacuum is generated by the sap column that collects and holds in the "final run" of tubing. It is the vacuum engine. It is the CRUX behind the formulation of natural vacuum.

    This final run is critical in making your tubing runs more or at least as efficient as if the taps were each on individual drops to buckets. If you don't have or can not have these "final runs" set up properly you will be more efficient with drops to buckets.

    3/16" tubing will more effectively set up these final run columns on less pitch but are laced with other pit falls.

    If you want or can generate natural vacuum in the run and be as or more efficient as taps on drops to buckets, venting of any kind in your run is prohibited.

    If your system is "swamped/sap locked" at tap hole locations and the run does not have enough slope to generate any effective level of output flow on the encased column of sap and thereby only creates enough vacuum to keep sap "stuck" in your lines , I suggest venting at the beginning/top of the run. This way you will run closer to the efficiently as taps on drops to buckets and really not expose tap holes to any more air then taps on drops to buckets would expose them to. So you may as well be vented in this scenario.

    If the slope in your run is very small, your sap may back flow at the vent. If that happens take down the lines and put buckets up.

    More then anything else taping maple trees is like poker. Got to know when to hold em and know when to fold em. And make the best of what you are dealt.

    You can't make a Royal Flush out of a 2, 4, 7, 9 and jack of any kind.
    Last edited by Sugar Bear; 09-19-2021 at 08:55 AM.
    If you think it's easy to make good money in maple syrup .... then your obviously good at stealing somebody's Maple Syrup.

    Favorite Tree: Sugar Maple
    Most Hated Animal: Sap Sucker
    Most Loved Animal: Devon Rex Cat
    Favorite Kingpin: Bruce Bascom
    40 Sugar Maple Taps ... 23 in CT and 17 in NY .... 29 on gravity tubing and 11 on 5G buckets ... 2019 Totals 508 gallons of sap, 7 boils, 11.4 gallons of syrup.
    1 Girlfriend that gives away all my syrup to her friends.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2021
    Location
    Parry Sound Area, Ontario
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    199

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sugar Bear View Post
    The natural vacuum is generated by the sap column that collects and holds in the "final run" of tubing. It is the vacuum engine. It is the CRUX behind the formulation of natural vacuum.
    .
    Hmmm, I thought I finally had what I was going to do firmly in my head and that I could sleep at night.

    So if I have a run of 8 trees, let’s say over a downhill distance of 150’, I should further extend the tubing 75+ feet downhill to create the final run and the vacuum? I have three trees about 125’ down from the last of the 8 tree run. Would I run the 3/16” tubing to a collection barrel down by the three trees, but not connect up to the three trees. And just have the three trees separately connect to the collection barrel?

    Gary
    Last edited by Swingpure; 09-19-2021 at 12:59 PM.

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