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Thread: Eastern Ontario 2019

  1. #291
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
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    Frankford, Ontario
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    955

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    Quote Originally Posted by PaulRenaud View Post
    Hi, I'm new to this site and still learning about maple syrup making. I have a 44x16" rear pan and15x16" finishing pan on the front of my arch. Last year I taped only 4 or 5 trees and used just the finishing pan so this is the first year I'll be using the full rig as I learn how to scale up.

    I have a 100 acre woodlot in Darling Township of Lanark County about 20 klicks south of Calabogie and this year I have 30 taps out, 3 of which are not producing. Spring is late in this neck of the woods and I am only recently getting an average of 1 L of sap per day per tap (with my best trees giving me 3L/day), and have harvested over 200 L so far. Good news is that the Brix level is high @ 3%, about 3x what I was expecting.

    My goal for this year is to better understand the mechanics of scaling up my operation. Things like average ratio of taps to Litres of sap&syrup, how long it takes to boil X litres on my arch, how much wood, how to manage the inventory of sap, etc. Am very impressed by those of you who track & graph daily production and temperature, hopefully I'll get there next year!
    Paul - Welcome.
    With a 16 x 60" evaporator, you are ideally sized for somewhere between 75 and 200 trees, depending on how long you like to watch water boil.
    If it has flues - you will be able to evaporate ~15gals an hour. If the back pan is a flat pan only, then 8-10 gals an hour.

    Sap numbers below are assuming buckets - double them for tubing with vacuum.
    Over a season, plan for a typical tree (1 tap) in a typical bush on buckets to yield UP TO 1l of syrup. Most years you wont quite get there, some years you will beat it.
    Season can be anywhere from 2 - 8 weeks, but normally about 6 weeks of active flows.
    In an average week, you can expect to have 1-2 no flow days, 3-4 okay flow days, and 1-2 great days. An okay day will yield 1 gal for every 3 taps, a great day will yield more than 1 gal / tap.
    Plan for a minimum of 1 gallon / tap collection capability, plus 2 gallons / tap storage capacity if you are able to boil daily. (Min 3 gals / tap total storage).

    We all talk about 40:1, but typically our sugars average closer to 24:1 over the season. I don't have reds, but I gather they typically average somewhere around 32:1 over the season. Sap sweetness will vary day to day and year to year.

    I don't track wood usage very well, but yesterday for 200 gallons of sap in my home made 20" x 64" with flues, i consumed roughly a face cord of wood. We burn mostly dead dry ash saplings about 4" dia of which we have a never-ending supply. Split your wood small and fire often. You are not interested in coals - you want a hot fast fire all day long. We fire an arm load of wood on an 8 min cycle.

    Collecting (wood and sap) is the most work so efficiency efforts spent there will pay dividends.
    Boiling takes time - so make it comfortable. (start with a roof, then shelter, chair, radio, wifi .....)
    Once you start boiling in any volume - a float box is indispensable.

    And remember the sugarmakers saying - "A watched pot never boils over" . First time you step away for two minutes - you'll understand why the additional word.

    I'm sure there's more - ask away.
    Last edited by Big_Eddy; 04-04-2019 at 02:43 PM. Reason: Added 1 line
    Big_Eddy
    Eastern Ontario (Quinte)
    20+ years on a 2x3 block arch,
    Homemade 20"x64" drop flue since 2011

    Build a Block Arch
    Build a Flat Pan
    Build a Flue Pan
    Sweetening the Pans
    Build a Bending Brake
    Using a Hydrotherm
    How much Sap to Sweeten?

  2. #292
    Join Date
    Apr 2016
    Location
    Oxford Mills
    Posts
    91

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    Well put Big Eddy.....
    A good reminder of the essentials for all of us.

    The older I get the more I agree with the statement about making things comfortable......

    Back to the wood, we started our first year with more traditional hardwoods used (maple, oak etc) thinking like we've done for home heating but quickly realized (as Mike and Eddy have pointed out) boiling sap is a different beast.
    We now use mostly ash and poplar and some pine mixed in as scraps come off from various wood working projects.
    Woods that burn quick and hot are better, and as has been pointed out, smaller pieces than you'd normally think.....4" as Eddy mentioned, wrist to forearm size as we've read elsewhere.
    And as Gelena points out, a dry supply is an absolute must so be sure to harvest well in advance (that being similar to firewood for home heating).

    The big thing Paul is to always keep it fun, or at least enjoyable. We've only been at it 3 years and have already had a few days of "why are we doing this to ourselves" moments and still have a ton to learn.
    People like Eddy (and others) who have been doing it for decades have obviously found the right methods and skills for making good product as well as keeping the mindset to keep the enjoyment alive during the "less then enjoyable days", so following their advice can save you days of aggravation and shave seasons off the learning curve.

    Sometimes even just reading a post like Galena mentioned about chasing buckets helps you realize that you're not the only idiot digging buckets out of the mud LOL.....

    TurkeyJohn, glad to hear you had a good run! Good luck with your final boil tonight!
    Speaking of boiling I better get back at it.....
    Last edited by Fort Wisers; 04-04-2019 at 11:17 AM.
    2019 - 14 taps: 416 litres of sap / 15.25 litres of syrup
    2018 - 9 taps (309 litres) + a generous neighbour (114 litres): 423 litres of sap / 14.5 litres of syrup
    2017 - 4 taps: 55 litres of sap / 1.5 litres of syrup (just enough to get us hooked)

    www.fort-wisers.ca

  3. #293
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    North Grenville
    Posts
    1,132

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    OK going slightly nuts here. My sugar ratios are changing from one batch to the next. Batch 1 was 18.8:1, batch 2 26:1, I think batch 3 came in also at 18.8:1. Now #4 looks like it's going to be 26:1 again. Making it difficult to tell how much syrup to expect from each batch.

    And...my hydrotherms aren't in agreement. I am using a 10' high cup for both. One is a 'Quebec hydrotherm' and has two sets of marks for reading, one for hot at 211 and the other cold at 60. The other one is a more conventional therm where the top of the red line floats level when you're at Brix.

    So, I knew btach #4 was a little high so I added some distilled and reboiled. Now the conventional therm says it's over Brix, and it's right between the two red marks on the Quebec therm. What am I doing wrong?!
    Last edited by Galena; 04-04-2019 at 08:56 PM.
    Been tapping since 2008, but mostly unexceptional til recent years.
    2014 - 18 taps/6 trees, 407l sap, 19l syrup
    2015 - 18 taps/6 trees, 424l sap and 20.75l syrup
    2016 - 18 taps/6 trees..701l sap, 24l syrup
    2017 - 17 taps/6 trees...474l sap, 15.75l syrup
    2018 - 17 taps/7 trees...819l sap, approx 28l syrup
    2019 - 18 taps/8 trees...585l sap, 28l syrup...21:1 ratio

  4. #294
    Join Date
    Mar 2019
    Location
    Lanark Ontario
    Posts
    12

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    Thanks everyone for the input. I am using Cedar shakes for my wood and have a stockpile of 2.5 full cord of which half is already split thin. I found a cheap supply from a local mill that specializes in cedar boards and sells off the tailings from his sawmill for only $20 per face cord. The tailings are thin and 8'ft in length, so all I have to do to turn them into shakes is cut them to 18". I use cedar because it burns hot and fast, so the fire is easy to control.

    My rear pan has flues so hopefully will be efficient. I appreciate the guidance given on speed of boil for a fluted pan as it will help me plan how often to boil. I figure I will start on Sunday as am rapidly running out of storage capacity!

    I spent the past couple of days giving the system a mild acid bath and lots of rinses. Got a jug of acid from CDL in Perth and diluted it 100:1. No small process to rinse it as I have no running water anywhere near my sugar shack. Pushed 250 L of water thru it to complete the rinse.

    I didn't want to dump the acid out on the ground, so filled 2 large barrels with it and the rinse water. Now have it diluted at 300:1 and am wondering if I should toss in some baking soda to ensure it is neutralized before dumping it out?

    Currently have water sitting in the flues which can't be easily drained. Guess I'll start the boil with extra water to boil off.

    I have a float box on the flue but no float for it! So for this year will leave it hooked up for show and will have to pour in the sap into it the hard way. This summer I plan to install a stainless steel pipeline to it from a re-purposed milk storage tank. More cleaning!!

    Still need to figure out how to make the float work.

    Sent from my SM-T817W using Tapatalk

  5. #295
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Frankford, Ontario
    Posts
    955

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    Quote Originally Posted by PaulRenaud View Post


    Currently have water sitting in the flues which can't be easily drained. Guess I'll start the boil with extra water to boil off.
    Get a short piece of 3/4" tubing and siphon it out. When one flue empties, stick you thumb over the other end and pop it into the next. Take 5 mins or less to drain them all.
    Big_Eddy
    Eastern Ontario (Quinte)
    20+ years on a 2x3 block arch,
    Homemade 20"x64" drop flue since 2011

    Build a Block Arch
    Build a Flat Pan
    Build a Flue Pan
    Sweetening the Pans
    Build a Bending Brake
    Using a Hydrotherm
    How much Sap to Sweeten?

  6. #296
    Join Date
    Mar 2019
    Location
    Lanark Ontario
    Posts
    12

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    Awesome tip - thanks Big Eddy!

  7. #297
    Join Date
    Apr 2015
    Location
    Havelock Ontario Canada
    Posts
    161

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    Galena... on your hydrotherm you need to be 2 lines or 2 notches above the where the syrup sits level with the cup to be at brix.. maybe this is wear the diffrence is.. .was your hydro therm preheateted or left to rest in hot syrup before you took reading. Because this will make a huge misreading..your post reads like you are mesuring brix with indicator level with syrup and for a quebec hydro you need a temparure compasation chart there a pain to use and hard to keep a constant reading.
    Last edited by JeffB; 04-05-2019 at 10:59 AM.
    2015 First yr 50 taps, Oiltank arch 2x4 Flat bottom pan, 12 gallons finished
    2016 New 2x4 arch ,Patrick Phenuef 2x4 hybrid pan, 80 taps on mainlines 33 on jugs
    2016 5200 iters of Sap. 31 Gallons finished Great Year!
    2017 105 taps all on gravity and main lines (Feb 20)

    MF135 tractor
    Honda Foreman Atv
    Homemade sap collector wagon with 400 liter tank
    2 Stainless steel 1000 liter storage totes
    Timber King log splitter

  8. #298
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Lanark, ON
    Posts
    2,145

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    Is there ever a good day to blow the high pressure pump on your RO machine? Luckily the nearest 5Hp replacement was only an hour away and I didn't need to drive to Quebec City!
    4,600 Taps on vacuum
    9,400 gallons storage
    2x600 GPH CDL RO
    3.5'x14' Lapierre Force 5
    Twitter & Instagram: @ennismaple
    www.ennismaple.com

  9. #299
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    North Grenville
    Posts
    1,132

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    Quote Originally Posted by JeffB View Post
    Galena... on your hydrotherm you need to be 2 lines or 2 notches above the where the syrup sits level with the cup to be at brix.. maybe this is wear the diffrence is.. .was your hydro therm preheateted or left to rest in hot syrup before you took reading. Because this will make a huge misreading..your post reads like you are mesuring brix with indicator level with syrup and for a quebec hydro you need a temparure compasation chart there a pain to use and hard to keep a constant reading.
    Hi JeffB, thanks much for the details and for making me use my head...:-) ok.....with the conventional hydrotherm I just go with what it says in the instructions and the red line is level with the surface of the syrup. Neither therm was preheated, except maybe briefly rinsed in warm water. I don't leave them sitting in hot syrup. I never knew I had to have a temperature compensation chart for a Quebec hydro. Mine didn't come with any kind of instructions and attempts to find any online never found any. All I know is that my syrup would redline at either the high or low end, and that my syrup never looked thin or has gone moldy even after being sealed and stored. *shrugs* I don't know what's going on!

    ETA: A friend of mine uses an atmospheric thermometer. Any thoughts on that?
    Last edited by Galena; 04-05-2019 at 01:56 PM.
    Been tapping since 2008, but mostly unexceptional til recent years.
    2014 - 18 taps/6 trees, 407l sap, 19l syrup
    2015 - 18 taps/6 trees, 424l sap and 20.75l syrup
    2016 - 18 taps/6 trees..701l sap, 24l syrup
    2017 - 17 taps/6 trees...474l sap, 15.75l syrup
    2018 - 17 taps/7 trees...819l sap, approx 28l syrup
    2019 - 18 taps/8 trees...585l sap, 28l syrup...21:1 ratio

  10. #300
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Frankford, Ontario
    Posts
    955

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    Galena
    W need to be careful with the terminology.
    I beleive you have a have a hydrotherm (aka Quebec Hydrometer) and a Hydrometer.

    The hydrotherm has a thermometer within it. To be MINIMUM legal density of 66 Brix (everywhere except Vermont), once stabilized the top of the red temperature column must be at least 1 graduation above the surface of the syrup. The Hydrotherm is self-compensating for temperature between room temp and 210F. To be OPTIMUM syrup density (66.8-67.2 Brix) the top of the red column should ~6 graduations above the surface of the syrup.

    If the red is not visible - it's not syrup.

    A classic hydrometer has a hot and cold (red and blue) line on it, and a scale. The hydrometer is calibrated for 66 Brix (minimum legal density) syrup. The Hot line is set at 211F, which is the typical temperature of syrup taken directly out of a boiling pan. The Cold line is set for 60F (which may be an average sugar house room temp - I don't know). If your syrup is at any temperature other than those 2, then you need to also compensate for temperature using the compensation charts.

    Smokey Lake offers the Murphy cup to simplify the compensation. It has a thermometer with a special dial for the adjustments.

    Leader has instructions on their web site for the hydrometer https://www.leaderevaporator.com/pdf...hydrometer.pdf

    CDL has instructions for the Hydrotherm on theirs . https://www.cdlinc.ca/wp-content/upl...hydrotherm.pdf

    IMO neither set of instructions is very clear..
    Big_Eddy
    Eastern Ontario (Quinte)
    20+ years on a 2x3 block arch,
    Homemade 20"x64" drop flue since 2011

    Build a Block Arch
    Build a Flat Pan
    Build a Flue Pan
    Sweetening the Pans
    Build a Bending Brake
    Using a Hydrotherm
    How much Sap to Sweeten?

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