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Thread: Polycarbide abrasive wheels to clean pan?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2014
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    Crawford County Indiana
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    93

    Default Polycarbide abrasive wheels to clean pan?

    Can you use polycarbide abrasive wheels (the ones that look like black solid sponges) to clean severely burned pans? 1st boil of the season, apparently I put the float in backwards in the float box. I thought the float was symmetric, nope. Worked fine for a bit, but when I ran in to make breakfast apparently it got stuck. 15 minutes later, I had embers in the pans. Probably was stuck for longer then that, but I failed to notice through all the steam. Probably dished the bottoms about 1/2Ē. Need to test if they still hold water in the chambers. I tried the abrasive wheel on a test spot and they seemed to work pretty good, but also scratched up the surface a fair amount.
    2014 - 30 taps
    2015 - 50 taps
    2016 - 140 taps
    2017 - 115 taps - 85 taps on 3/16, 30 buckets
    2018 - 150 taps, all 3/16

    Smokey Lake 2x3
    Homemade 2x XLE-4040 RO Unit
    Kubota L3940 - big sap hauler
    Polaris Sportsman 570 SP - little sap hauler
    I'm 1:20 remote from sugarbush, so I let run awhile between boils, and time is at a premium, so I try to oversize things

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Thetford, VT
    Posts
    331

    Default

    What have you tried to use to clean the pans with at this point? I would give vinegar a chance, try a greenie sponge, and then try industrial oven cleaner. Once those fail you can either buy a new pan or accept a level a scratches in your current pan (knowing you may have sugar build up faster and need to clean more often).

    Mike
    Tapping since 1985 (four generations back to early to mid 1900s). 200-250 taps on buckets and then tubing in the mid 90s. 2013- 275 taps w/sap puller 25 gal. 2014-295 taps w/sap puller 55 ga. (re-tapped to vacuum theory) 2015-330 taps full vac. 65 gal, 2016-400 taps 105 gal, 2017-400 taps 95 gal. 2018-additional 800' mainline and maybe 400 new taps for a total near 800 taps. 2x6 Leader WSE (last year on it) supported by a 250 gph RO.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2014
    Location
    Crawford County Indiana
    Posts
    93

    Default

    So far Iíve used hot vinegar and a lot of scrapping with hard plastic pan scrappers and a pressure washer (3200 psi?). That got off all the chunks. I need to study it a bit more, but now I have some residual carbon on the bottom, which I know I can get off w/elbow grease; but all of it (other then the 1 of my for partitions that didnít burn) is extremely discolored and some seem to have thin carbon covering the partition sides that is proving more difficult to get off. I tested a small amount of some non-toxic rust remover on it (Evapo-Rust). I couldnít find the composition quickly online, other then itís not phosphoric acid but more citric based. I only used it because I had some on hand and they claim itís completely non-toxic. After a few hours it hadnít done anything. Figured Iíd let it sit overnight. I may pick up some phosphoric tomorrow. Any easy ways to repolish the scratches out if I do use the abrasive route? Polishing compound on drill polishing head? Also, how safe is it to pound on a welded pan with a rubber mallet to try and minimize the warping?
    2014 - 30 taps
    2015 - 50 taps
    2016 - 140 taps
    2017 - 115 taps - 85 taps on 3/16, 30 buckets
    2018 - 150 taps, all 3/16

    Smokey Lake 2x3
    Homemade 2x XLE-4040 RO Unit
    Kubota L3940 - big sap hauler
    Polaris Sportsman 570 SP - little sap hauler
    I'm 1:20 remote from sugarbush, so I let run awhile between boils, and time is at a premium, so I try to oversize things

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Southern Ohio
    Posts
    821

    Default

    probably best to just live with the warps and scratches. Run your sap deeper and use it as a learning experience. I'd guess it will take the Phosphoric acid and an abrasive pad. I burnt one really bad once and it took acid wash and abrasive scrub. I used that pan for 5 more years and it made a lot of great syrup.
    100 -110 taps
    Smokey Lakes Full pint Hybrid pan
    Modified half pint arch
    Air over fire
    All 3/16 tubing
    Southern Ohio

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2017
    Location
    Quaker Hill, CT
    Posts
    201

    Default

    Be quick with the mallet. The more you try to work any warping out the greater the chances of you fatiguing a weld from work hardening.

    Star-San is a phosphoric acid based no-rinse sanitizer solution used on brewing equipment. In its concentrated form its very potent stuff. The dilution rate for the product is 1oz to 5 gallons of water. Its handy to have around for sanitizing food contact surfaces but its also very good at cleaning stainless steel.
    2017 25 taps on buckets got me hooked 1 gallon of sweet
    2018 51 taps on 3/16 tubing/ DIY oil tank evaporator 8.5gallons finished
    2019 tapped 1/26 aiming to beat last year

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Sherburne Co Minnesota
    Posts
    122

    Default

    I had straight white vinegar in the bottom of my pans for several days. It did almost nothing to the scale or the 4" diameter carbon spot in my syrup pan.
    I found oakite 84m/citric acid at fleet farm and carbon came off with almost zero elbow grease. soaked for a few hours
    March 2011- my brain had a weird spark
    3 taps then 14
    2012- 35 taps
    2013-GBM 2x4 150 taps
    2014- Custom 2x10
    2015- Smoky Lake 2x2 syrup 2x8 drop flue
    2016- turbo 2000 and 36 cfm sihi 500 taps,
    2017- SL filter and bottler

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    UVM Proctor Maple Research Center, Underhill Ctr, VT
    Posts
    4,507

    Default

    A polycarbide wheel will likely scratch up the pan quite a bit. Many sandpapers contain small amounts of iron that will end up embedded in the metal and cause rust stops.

    Take a piece of copper water pipe, pound one end flat, sharpen it to a chisel point, and scape the pan surface after you've let it soak in hot water for a bit. You'll end up with some scatches, but it'll be less than sanding or grinding. As far as the warps...just run it deeper from now on. Maybe later you can get someone to try to lessen the warpage.

    Another piece of advice (for all)...NEVER WALK AWAY FROM A PAN THAT IS HOT. As the density of sap/syrup increases, the amount of water remaining to be boiled off decreases exponentially. So while it takes a long time to go from 2 Brix to 20 Brix, it doesn't take much time at all to go from 20-40 Brix, and far less to go from 40-60 Brix, and almost no time to go from 60 Brix to black char.
    Dr. Tim Perkins
    UVM Proctor Maple Research Ctr
    http://www.uvm.edu/~pmrc
    Timothy.Perkins@uvm.edu

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2014
    Location
    Crawford County Indiana
    Posts
    93

    Default

    Thanks DrTimPerkins, I was afraid of iron in the wheels, didn’t think they had any, but that’s why we ask questions. I just came back from the garage and thought I found the greatest scraper ever in a used brass cartridge (I searched, most brass cartridges have zinc, not lead as the adder) right before reading your copper pipe suggestion. I’ve got 95% of the carbon off. I like the idea of a copper pipe (easier to hold, and can make a larger scrapper), but as warped as the pan is, the roundness of the brass worked great to get into curved sections and I could stand it vertical on the few flat spots left. The 460 S&W Mag brass I overcrimped, so junk, was a lot easier to hold then short pistol brass. The Evapo-Rust didn’t do much of anything overnight. May try a brass wire wheel if I can find one.
    2014 - 30 taps
    2015 - 50 taps
    2016 - 140 taps
    2017 - 115 taps - 85 taps on 3/16, 30 buckets
    2018 - 150 taps, all 3/16

    Smokey Lake 2x3
    Homemade 2x XLE-4040 RO Unit
    Kubota L3940 - big sap hauler
    Polaris Sportsman 570 SP - little sap hauler
    I'm 1:20 remote from sugarbush, so I let run awhile between boils, and time is at a premium, so I try to oversize things

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2016
    Location
    Ballston spa
    Posts
    68

    Default

    Try rubber roloc bristle discs. They are used for cleaning aluminum shouldn’t scratch or leave any foreign material behind

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2014
    Location
    Crawford County Indiana
    Posts
    93

    Default

    Phosphoric helped some, but I just got done trying the roloc bristle disks: those are amazing. I brought my pan home because my compressor at my wood lot only puts out 1/2 what the home one does. I got the yellow disk, I think itís equivalent to 220 grit? Almost no marks on the pan if done slowly. Iím debating if I need a more powerful angle grinder. They make them several steps more aggressive; but Iím trying to avoid scratches. Most of it is coming off easily, but there are some tough spots that will take more work.
    2014 - 30 taps
    2015 - 50 taps
    2016 - 140 taps
    2017 - 115 taps - 85 taps on 3/16, 30 buckets
    2018 - 150 taps, all 3/16

    Smokey Lake 2x3
    Homemade 2x XLE-4040 RO Unit
    Kubota L3940 - big sap hauler
    Polaris Sportsman 570 SP - little sap hauler
    I'm 1:20 remote from sugarbush, so I let run awhile between boils, and time is at a premium, so I try to oversize things

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