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Thread: Would this work as a sugar shack?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2019
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    Default Would this work as a sugar shack?

    I just started tapping my trees this year and with 18 taps I have way more sap than I can boil on my grill with steam trays. It's got me trying to come up with a cost effective solution to up my GPH for next year. I have this old shed on my property and was wondering what everyone thought of making a sugar shack out of it. It already has a concrete floor on the left half of the building and a chimney that I could possibly use. With its shed roof I was thinking I could cut an opening in the upper wall near the window for venting. I doubt I need anything more than a 2x2 pan but was thinking of going with a 2x3 to future proof it some without spending too much. I will fabricate a steel arch for whatever pan I go with. I've heard negative things about using a masonry chimney but the inlet is about 6' off the ground so there would be probably 4' of stove pipe before entering the masonry chimney, thoughts on that?

    Am I crazy or could this work?

    20181228_115724_resized.jpg

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2019
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    Murrysville, Pennsylvania
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    Honestly you can make just about anything work with time and money. Have thought about doing something similar with my shed for next season.

    First thing I would do, however, is build a home made RO system to cut down on your boiling by 50% at least. I think most folks on here would agree that its the best $200 you can spend to handle more sap. If you really want to improve your GPH, the RO is a great choice.

    There are lots of good threads on here about making one as well as info online.

    I built a custom gas evaporator for 25 - 50 taps this year and a small RO unit. Pan size was 21.5" x 30" and worked great, but the RO was the key to a successful year.

    RO: https://youtu.be/s106bSrcfno

    Evaporator: https://www.sugartree.run/2019/03/cu...vaporator.html

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    North Grenville
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    Add some soffits so you don't get steamed out of there and you have yourself a sugar shack! Looks not too much unlike my beloved (built this past summer) Shack Whacky. Just posted some images of it under the Outdoor category in the Gallery.
    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. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2019
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    WI
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by DRoseum View Post
    Honestly you can make just about anything work with time and money. Have thought about doing something similar with my shed for next season.

    First thing I would do, however, is build a home made RO system to cut down on your boiling by 50% at least. I think most folks on here would agree that its the best $200 you can spend to handle more sap. If you really want to improve your GPH, the RO is a great choice.

    There are lots of good threads on here about making one as well as info online.

    I built a custom gas evaporator for 25 - 50 taps this year and a small RO unit. Pan size was 21.5" x 30" and worked great, but the RO was the key to a successful year.

    RO: https://youtu.be/s106bSrcfno

    Evaporator: https://www.sugartree.run/2019/03/cu...vaporator.html
    I'll definitely look into making an RO system. I have seen them mentioned a lot but I was under the impression they would be cost prohibitive at my size.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    Volney, NY
    Posts
    272

    Default

    That'll work great. Your photo shows what looks like an electrical entrance pole: do you have power? Don't scrimp on good lighting if you boil at night. Inspect the masonry because the heat from an evaporator is intense compared to a smoldering wood stove. I "second" what Galena said about opening the soffits, but you'll probably be ok with just opening a door since they're almost as tall as the higher wall on the shed. You mentioned cutting a hole by the window. How about just removing the window for the sugaring season? Later on, if you do get an RO, the shed might stay warm enough so that you can keep the RO from freezing instead of bringing it into a warm place.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2006
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    New Hartford, N.Y.
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    Is it a traditional-looking sugar house? No. Will you enjoy making syrup in it more than trying to boil outside day and night and in all sorts of lousy weather? You betcha.
    I boiled outside for years and years and would have loved to have a building like that. You'll be able to make that work very nicely.
    We will look forward to seeing the pictures of it up and running.

    Steve
    2014 Upgrades!: 24x40 sugarhouse & 30"x10' Lapierre welded pans, wood fired w/ forced draft, homemade hood & preheater
    400 taps- half on gravity 5/16, half on gravity 3/16
    Airablo R.O. machine - in the house basement!
    Ford F-350 4x4 sap gatherer
    An assortment of barrels, cage tanks & bulk tanks- with one operational for cooling/holding concentrate
    And a few puzzled neighbors...

    http://s606.photobucket.com/albums/t...uckethead1920/

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2019
    Location
    WI
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    Thanks guys, it's been very reassuring. I just wanted to make sure there weren't any major flaws in my idea before investing any time and money in it. I'm very new at this and reading as much as I can but wasn't sure if there was something that I missed.

    There was power to it, but I disconnected it because for some odd reason it was on its own meter and I just couldn't see paying a $15 monthly meter charge for a shed that I barely used. I don't have plans to boil at night but if I felt lighting and power was necessary I would run a line from my house which sits 150 feet away.

    I'll keep an eye on the chimney and when it does inevitably fail I can easily convert it to stove pipe all the way up and out. There currently is no soffit venting at all so I'll likely need to do something to help the steam out.

    Another question: I was originally thinking of making a masonry arch since I don't plan to move it, but my reading seems to indicate that a metal one is still superior and will last longer than even a well made masonry arch. I'd like thoughts on that?

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    Volney, NY
    Posts
    272

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bucket Head View Post
    Is it a traditional-looking sugar house? No. Will you enjoy making syrup in it more than trying to boil outside day and night and in all sorts of lousy weather? You betcha.
    I boiled outside for years and years and would have loved to have a building like that. You'll be able to make that work very nicely.
    We will look forward to seeing the pictures of it up and running.

    Steve
    I remember years ago, when adding a tarp over the "out in the open" cinder block arch WAS A HUGE IMPROVEMENT.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Live in NY, Sugarhouse in Milton VT
    Posts
    133

    Default

    Definitely use that building until it no longer suits you, then tear it down and rebuild on the concrete pad if/when you need to upgrade.

    As someone else mentioned - there are tons of threads about arch builds

    I'd suggest buying a pan and then building the arch for it. You'll be able to re-sell the pan (and arch) and upgrade later on as needed

    Best wishes!

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