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Thread: Smoky Lake Hybrid Hobby Pan Owners!

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
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    NE Ohio
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    Default Smoky Lake Hybrid Hobby Pan Owners!

    I am getting ready to use my brand new shiny 2x6 Smoky Lake Hybrid Hobby pan this season! I am looking for some practical advice/instructions on how to use it - I know the basics , I suppose, but it's all head knowledge with no experience and I'm hoping that I can learn some tips/tricks/procedures from others who have this pan so I can start off on the right foot. No detail is too small for me at this point, so how you go about producing your syrup using this pan from filling, starting the fire, to drawing off, etc, etc, would be greatly appreciated!

    This is will be my second season making syrup so I am still new to this. Last year I used a 1x2 pan on a box wood stove, outdoors and made about 2.5 gallons of syrup. It was really difficult keeping a boil on that box stove and I froze. This year, I will be inside my new sap shack, using the 2x6 pan with float box and a homemade arch with air under. I have a steam pan / filter / bottler on order, too.

    Maybe this can be a good thread for others who have this pan too, to share experiences...

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
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    wisconsin
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    I see that you got it with a float box. That was good. Now just adjust the float to keep the sap at whatever level you feel comfortable at( I suggest starting around 1.25-1.5") . The float box will keep adding the sap as it evaporates and a graduate will set up. After your first 4-6 hours of boiling you will be making syrup at the draw off. Then the gradiate stays and you will get syrup every 30-60 mins after that. Pretty simple deal.
    2013- custom made 2x7 intensofire 1000 bags

    https://www.facebook.com/mayerlsmaplesyrup

  3. #3
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    jmayerl - Thanks for the reply! I have a few questions:
    1.25" - 1.5 inches? Really? That low eh? Ok...
    Can you explain what "gradiate" is?
    When you draw off, how much syrup do you draw at a time?
    When you have used up all of your raw sap, do you just shut down and leave the pan full until next time, or do you empty and clean it?

  4. #4
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    Whew, ok here we go! You asked for it! Lol
    With experience, many of us run as low as 1/2-3/4", boils faster but really not much room for error.
    Gradiate is the flow that sets up as sap is boiled, ie you keep adding fresh sap in the float box and it pushes the more concentrated near syrup towards the draw off. Usually the first draw of the season is larger and then they are smaller but more frequent after that( sorry it's hard to explain with out seeing it)
    Expect to draw off 1-3qts depending on the depth of your sap.
    You will need to empty and clean the pan when you notice niter beginning to scale up on the bottom by the draw off. If you can block off from the rear to the front on your pan in anyway at the end if the day, the gradient will set up much faster the next day and you will draw off much sooner.

    Clear as mud yet?
    2013- custom made 2x7 intensofire 1000 bags

    https://www.facebook.com/mayerlsmaplesyrup

  5. #5
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    Oh and sorry but I don't have a hybrid pan but a regular drop flue but the concepts are all nearly the same
    2013- custom made 2x7 intensofire 1000 bags

    https://www.facebook.com/mayerlsmaplesyrup

  6. #6
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    Mar 2013
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    NE Ohio
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    This is VERY helpful! I've some more burning questions if you don't mind!

    With respect to drawing off, do I simply watch the dial in the thermometer and open at 219 and close when it begins to fall?
    What is niter? What does it look like?
    Will the dropped flues be safe from freezing if left full after a boil?
    Will the float box inlet handle any pressure or should it be as little as possible from gravity only?

    Thanks!

  7. #7
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    wisconsin
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    Yes but remember that you need to verify 219 is syrup with a hydrometer( barometric pressure can change this by more than a full degree) just use the thermometer as a guide temp.

    Niter aka sugarsand is minerals and all the "other stuff" that precipitates out of syrup during boiling. Some will just come out when you draw off- this then gets filtered out. Some cakes on the pan and can burn the pan or give a off flavor if it cakes up too much.
    Petty much yes because there will be a higher sugar content( say 10-18%) in the flue pan and it will get slushy. If it's gonna get sub zero I would drain them. I personally have never had to drain just because of freezing.
    Jim's float boxes are similar to most all in the fact that they operate good with about 18"-72" of head pressure. Put a valve in the line because all float valve will leak a bit and if you have a full head tank and want to shut down for the night, you will likely have a very overfilled pan by morning.
    2013- custom made 2x7 intensofire 1000 bags

    https://www.facebook.com/mayerlsmaplesyrup

  8. #8
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    Jan 2011
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    Banks of the Wabash
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    Quote Originally Posted by derzuckermann View Post
    jmayerl - Thanks for the reply! I have a few questions:
    1.25" - 1.5 inches? Really? That low eh? Ok...
    Can you explain what "gradiate" is?
    When you draw off, how much syrup do you draw at a time?
    When you have used up all of your raw sap, do you just shut down and leave the pan full until next time, or do you empty and clean it?
    Hi and congratulations on your Smoky Lake pan. I bought a filter box with steam tray last year, it worked great.

    I too had second thoughts on running sap that shallow, it was just not the picture that I had in my mind. But after a couple of years experience, yes that is where you make syrup, about 1 to 1 1/2 deep.

    I also learned the hard way about "defoamer". When you are running shallow and making syrup, the sap at the draw off starts to bubble up to the point that there is not much liquid under the bubbles in contact with the pan. Try to draw off a little syrup and BLAMMO, you just burnt your pan. Adding a couple of drops of defoamer each time you put wood in is part of the routine.

    I use the Atomic Brand, order a small bottle for 5 bucks and you are good for a couple of years. There are quite a few threads here about defoamers.

    Good luck.
    2011 19 taps, 5 gallons of syrup
    Moved from turkey fryers to barrel stove.
    A copy of the North American Maple Manual.
    "2012 in the book" 85 taps, new 24"X60" rig 5" drop flue, made 15 gallons
    2013 75 buckets and bags, 50 taps on tubing= 32.6875 gallons in glass.

    http://s1129.photobucket.com/albums/...%20rig%202011/

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Greenwood, Wisconsin
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    963

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    I haven't had to do it, but I have heard that if freezing your flues is a worry, to put a light bulb under the pan to generate a little heat. Someone else mentioned that the cold can come down the stack, so a cover over that might be helpful.
    210 vacuum taps plus the neighbors
    2X10 Intensofire clone
    Smoky Lake pans that ROCK!
    16X24 syrup shack

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2009
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    UVM Proctor Maple Research Center, Underhill Ctr, VT
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    Quote Originally Posted by Indiana-Jones View Post
    I too had second thoughts on running sap that shallow, it was just not the picture that I had in my mind. But after a couple of years experience, yes that is where you make syrup, about 1 to 1 1/2 deep.
    It won't cause serious problems (slightly darker syrup, slightly slower evaporation rate) to run it a little deeper the first couple of times, and then shallow it out as you gain more experience and a higher comfort level with operating the new rig.
    Dr. Tim Perkins
    UVM Proctor Maple Research Ctr
    http://www.uvm.edu/~pmrc
    Timothy.Perkins@uvm.edu

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