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Thread: Root cellar/sugar shack combo

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2018
    Location
    Two Harbors, Minnesota
    Posts
    118

    Default Root cellar/sugar shack combo

    The last 3 years I have been building a homestead from raw wooded acreage when we left the city. I also started making maple syrup for the first time since living up here in northern Minnesota. The first year I built a small house for the wife and I. Last fall I built a garage. This year we added our second greenhouse which meant we needed a root cellar. I also needed a good place to make maple and birch syrup. Rather than having two separate building sites, I thought, why not just stack the sugar shack on top of the root cellar? I don't know how lay brick so I decided to build this with tamarack. Some of you may know it as larch. I wrapped the root cellar with roofing felt paper and then 6 mil plastic.
    For the concrete posts, I put a heavy duty steel fence post in the block openings and filled them with concrete. The root cellar is an 8'x 10' building and the sugar shack is 12'x 20'.
    My plan is to filter and gravity drain the sap into barrels in the root cellar. I will then use an RV pump to pump the cold sap up to the sugar shack. The water in my well comes out at 41 F in the summer. This should be beneficial at the end of maple and throughout the birch syrup season.

    root cellar.jpg

    root cellar with concrete posts.jpg

    root cellar with dirt.jpg

    sugar shack beam.jpg

    sugar shack floor joists.jpg
    2016- 32 taps, 3 1/2 gallons
    2017- 150 taps, 13 gallons after building an evaporator
    2018- goal is 240+ taps. 20+ gallons.
    2018 Reality- 235 taps, 5 gallons of syrup. Average 50 birch taps and 3 gallons of syrup.
    2019- 180 maple taps, 20 gallons of finished syrup.
    ~ 160 birch taps, 13 finished gallons of syrup.

    Latitude 47.278150

    www.facebook.com/livingoffmyland2015

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2015
    Location
    Warren, MA
    Posts
    126

    Default

    Sounds like a great plan to me!
    2016 - 2 x 4 Randy Worthen built arch and pans (just starting out!) 11 taps; 2.625 gallons of syrup!
    2017 - 29 taps; 11.625 gallons of syrup!
    2018 - 30 taps; 98 pints bottled! 2x4 Arch and pans sold! New sugar house being built, new equipment coming!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    North Central WI
    Posts
    40

    Default

    That is an awesome project! Seems we have some things in common, leaving the city, returning to the north country, making syrup, building from the land. I think you will really enjoy the fruits of your labor with that building. We have a root cellar out at deer camp, the cellar was initially built around the Depression, and then rebuilt in the '50's when the cabin was built adjacent to it...the exterior door was closed off and a new doorway and underground tunnel was built so you could go directly from the cabin through the breezeway into the woodshed and down into the cellar. The cellar has a poured concrete floor, stone walls about 3 feet high and then angles up to the peak using hemlock supported by railroad rails which serves as forms for the concrete roof and then dirt and grass on top of that. In 1980, I helped my Dad build a root cellar at his home, we cut out part of the concrete floor in the corner of the attached garage, dug down to the basement level, built two block walls, drilled through the common block wall and formed in a door to access the cellar. I'm sure you know to have ventilation inlet and outlet for the root cellar. We've been working on a sugar shack build here the last year plus...concrete foundation and floor, full vertical log construction, cedars and spruce from the U.P., red pine from Wisconsin and aspen door and window posts and headers from our woods behind the house, made syrup in it this spring for the first time, sure beats a cramped woodshed!

    IMG_20180323_170648059.jpg
    2010 - 12 taps, turkey fryer, 4 quarts
    2011 - 24 taps, homemade arch from old water tank, 16"x24" flat pan, 16+ quarts
    2012 - 9 taps, 3 pints, what a season
    2013 - 60 taps, homemade oil tank arch with 2'x4' flat pan, 16"x24" finishing pan on electric range, 55 quarts
    2014 - 80 taps, homemade oil tank arch with 2'x4' flat pan, 16"x24" finishing pan on electric range, 40 quarts
    2015 - 100 taps, 15 gallons
    2016 - 115 taps, 13.5 gallons
    2017 - 120 taps, 13 gallons
    2018 - 130 taps, 11 gallons

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2018
    Location
    Two Harbors, Minnesota
    Posts
    118

    Default

    Nice looking sugar shack. How are you letting the steam escape? Is it through the big door? Yes, it's much better evaporating under a roof. I used my garage last year and a shed the year before that. The garage was still under construction as I didn't start building it until last year this time.

    Board and batton.jpg
    2016- 32 taps, 3 1/2 gallons
    2017- 150 taps, 13 gallons after building an evaporator
    2018- goal is 240+ taps. 20+ gallons.
    2018 Reality- 235 taps, 5 gallons of syrup. Average 50 birch taps and 3 gallons of syrup.
    2019- 180 maple taps, 20 gallons of finished syrup.
    ~ 160 birch taps, 13 finished gallons of syrup.

    Latitude 47.278150

    www.facebook.com/livingoffmyland2015

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    North Central WI
    Posts
    40

    Default

    For steam escape, I'm going to build a hood and vent through the roof. We elbowed the chimney pipe out the big door this spring just so we could boil but the overall plan is to close the big door if the weather isn't cooperating. That's a nice looking garage you have, what type of wood are those large planks?
    2010 - 12 taps, turkey fryer, 4 quarts
    2011 - 24 taps, homemade arch from old water tank, 16"x24" flat pan, 16+ quarts
    2012 - 9 taps, 3 pints, what a season
    2013 - 60 taps, homemade oil tank arch with 2'x4' flat pan, 16"x24" finishing pan on electric range, 55 quarts
    2014 - 80 taps, homemade oil tank arch with 2'x4' flat pan, 16"x24" finishing pan on electric range, 40 quarts
    2015 - 100 taps, 15 gallons
    2016 - 115 taps, 13.5 gallons
    2017 - 120 taps, 13 gallons
    2018 - 130 taps, 11 gallons

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2018
    Location
    Two Harbors, Minnesota
    Posts
    118

    Default

    Most of the garage is red pine aka Norway Pine. Some of the 1 x 12's are spruce.
    2016- 32 taps, 3 1/2 gallons
    2017- 150 taps, 13 gallons after building an evaporator
    2018- goal is 240+ taps. 20+ gallons.
    2018 Reality- 235 taps, 5 gallons of syrup. Average 50 birch taps and 3 gallons of syrup.
    2019- 180 maple taps, 20 gallons of finished syrup.
    ~ 160 birch taps, 13 finished gallons of syrup.

    Latitude 47.278150

    www.facebook.com/livingoffmyland2015

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2018
    Location
    Two Harbors, Minnesota
    Posts
    118

    Default

    I had a bunch of 1x5 and 1x6 rough cut tamarack boards. I cut a straight edge on each one and then cut them so they would be shiplap boards for the floor. It will be raining until next week so I covered the floor in plastic until then.
    Sugar shack floor.jpg
    2016- 32 taps, 3 1/2 gallons
    2017- 150 taps, 13 gallons after building an evaporator
    2018- goal is 240+ taps. 20+ gallons.
    2018 Reality- 235 taps, 5 gallons of syrup. Average 50 birch taps and 3 gallons of syrup.
    2019- 180 maple taps, 20 gallons of finished syrup.
    ~ 160 birch taps, 13 finished gallons of syrup.

    Latitude 47.278150

    www.facebook.com/livingoffmyland2015

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2018
    Location
    Two Harbors, Minnesota
    Posts
    118

    Default

    An update.
    After a long winter with about 70 days of sub zero weather, it has finally warmed up to the 30's. I know I won't be able to complete the sugar shack before the sap runs but I hope to have tin on the roof. Roof trusses are hopefully going up Saturday this week.
    The root cellar is complete and ready to receive sap.
    sugarshack1.jpg
    sugarshack.jpg
    2016- 32 taps, 3 1/2 gallons
    2017- 150 taps, 13 gallons after building an evaporator
    2018- goal is 240+ taps. 20+ gallons.
    2018 Reality- 235 taps, 5 gallons of syrup. Average 50 birch taps and 3 gallons of syrup.
    2019- 180 maple taps, 20 gallons of finished syrup.
    ~ 160 birch taps, 13 finished gallons of syrup.

    Latitude 47.278150

    www.facebook.com/livingoffmyland2015

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2018
    Location
    Two Harbors, Minnesota
    Posts
    118

    Default

    Getting the walls put up on the sugar shack potion of the building.
    sugarshack.jpg
    sugarshack1.jpg
    2016- 32 taps, 3 1/2 gallons
    2017- 150 taps, 13 gallons after building an evaporator
    2018- goal is 240+ taps. 20+ gallons.
    2018 Reality- 235 taps, 5 gallons of syrup. Average 50 birch taps and 3 gallons of syrup.
    2019- 180 maple taps, 20 gallons of finished syrup.
    ~ 160 birch taps, 13 finished gallons of syrup.

    Latitude 47.278150

    www.facebook.com/livingoffmyland2015

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2018
    Location
    Two Harbors, Minnesota
    Posts
    118

    Default

    Walls completed and roof trusses are up. A couple of friends came over to give me a hand today.
    sugarshack.jpg
    sugarshack1.jpg
    The next picture you can see the entrance to the root cellar under the sugar shack.
    The key to keep the sap at 41 degrees even on the warm days.
    sugarshack2.jpg
    2016- 32 taps, 3 1/2 gallons
    2017- 150 taps, 13 gallons after building an evaporator
    2018- goal is 240+ taps. 20+ gallons.
    2018 Reality- 235 taps, 5 gallons of syrup. Average 50 birch taps and 3 gallons of syrup.
    2019- 180 maple taps, 20 gallons of finished syrup.
    ~ 160 birch taps, 13 finished gallons of syrup.

    Latitude 47.278150

    www.facebook.com/livingoffmyland2015

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