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Thread: Calling all Thor owners! (and all others...)

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2019
    Location
    Middlesex, Vermont
    Posts
    124

    Default Calling all Thor owners! (and all others...)

    Well happy mid summer to everyone! I hope everyone has had a chance to get out and enjoy the sunshine! It was a hell of a spring/early summer for us here in New England with crazy rain storms that just didn't seem to stop. We had a lot of infrastructure damage that certainly kept me busy.

    So last year after having our first maiden year and yielding 7.5 gallons of syrup, I've decided to take it up a level to allow me to not have to sit in the driveway for 12 hours on end to produce a gallon of syrup. I think I've made the decision to go from my barrel arch with a borrowed Mason 2x4 divided pan (thanks stevej!) to a full 2x6 two pan setup.

    I've done the whole Craigslist search and also checked out the classifieds here on MT but haven't found anything that's really sold me. I plan to convert to oil and build my own arch so I don't need means of heat, just boiling. My goal is to be able to tap the same amount of trees 50-80 (possibly 100) but have to boil a fraction of the time. Going oil is strictly a time and efficiency savings for me. 3 kids (8,6,2) and a road foreman position keep me far busier and all call than I care to brag about so the oil as of right now is more of a necessity not a desire. Flip of the switch gets me going and flip of the switch shuts me down.

    So nuts and bolts: I've been in touch with 3-4 pan manufacturers. Smokey Lake- great communication with Jim. Has been very accommodating and helped answer a lot of questions and always replies within a day or two. NextGen- Steve was quick to reply and got a quote to me in no time as well. Local CDL shop in Morrisville, VT- got to see a couple floor models but nothing I was looking for but they've been great and got me quotes. Thor Evaporator- Barry is easier to communicate with over the phone and although there is a language gap (to be expected) we were able to hash out specs and pricing pretty easily.

    So this leads me to the main segment; price vs. value. I think all these guys produce an excellent product. Some offer a bit more for features which I think we can all agree tends to be reflected in the price. But pound for pound (not getting into prices) Thor offered the most for the price range. The Canadian exchange really works to that advantage and I don't think tariffs impact them (don't quote me on that). Also, they're within 2 hours of my house which allows me to forgo shipping charges as well. They will also let me bump up the flue height which is awesome and they will accommodate add-ons/requests for the pan build. I think I will go this route because of all the factors.

    I've done all the "Thor" related research MT provided me in the search button. Just want to hear first hand from folks their experience with Thor or is it worth to go another route from a pan manufacturer. Sorry for the long winded thread, unfortunately this hobby isn't a cheap one so I want to make sure I invest wisely. Of course, our motto has now become "It's for the kids..." but I think the finance manager (wifey) knows better.

    Thanks all!
    Mead Maple "It's for the kids..."
    Paul Cerminara
    2019 - First season ever
    -Homemade 275 gallon oil drum arch
    -75 taps, all on traditional buckets and drops into 5 gallon buckets
    -Goal: 3 gallons
    -Season Total: 7.5 gallons - pulled taps after running out of firewood and time
    -Fear: Becoming a member of MT.com and getting bit

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2016
    Location
    Rutland, Vermont
    Posts
    220

    Default

    Not a endorsement for any one manufacturer but rather go with a dealer/manufacturer that you feel comfortable with. All of the manufacturers make outstanding sugar tools. For myself, the one that is going to give the best customer service and I'm most comfortable dealing with would get my money.
    Leader 2x6 Raised flue with preheater and hood. Patriot pans
    Leader filter press
    400ish taps

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Oneida NY
    Posts
    9,868

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    I think it was in the spring sale period (of 2012?) I got prices from Leader to get a new set of pans for my 3x8 arch. Leader came in at about $15,000 for raised flue pan 3x5 and a 3x3 same side draw syrup pan. Then another producer (Thad Blaisdel, no longer active on MT) suggested I check out Thor. I had them price a 3x5 raised flue pan with 10" tall flues, and a 3x3 syrup pan, cross flow, same side draw. I had the sides made 4" higher than standard to minimize sap jump over the sides. There price came in at just under $8,000 US. Thor's price included all of the valves and fittings/SS piping. At that time I also priced a SS hood, but they wanted $1850 so I said I would make one. I had made my previous 3 hoods.
    I drove up to the factory to get it. When I got there they asked if I had made my hood yet, (I was waiting to build it to fit the pan). I asked why they were asking. It turned out they had a ready made hood from a demo 3x8 that had gotten dented in the factory. I looked at the hood and they had to show me the dents, they were not immediately evident. The 2 dents were very minor. I asked how much, they then only wanted $800 US, so we loaded that too, along with the steam vent pipes, 2@ 15" SS take offs, welded on, and the first 3' of 15" stack for each, one had a lockable damper to regulate the steam in the flue pan hood. My wife and I talked it over for about 5 seconds and said, load that too.
    I had a 2001 F250 super cab at that time. We filled the 6.5' long box, with the tailgate down and as many smaller parts as I could fit went in the back seat. I could not fit the 2 lengths of 15" steam pipe. The man I had dealt with over the phone (the only one that spoke English at the time {Arnold Raymond, he is now retired}) said he was driving to Fla in a few weeks, and he would bring the 2 stack pipes, which he did deliver on his way to visit his brother in Fla.
    Their quality is very good as are I suspect most full time pan manufacturers.
    A year later I found one weld that had come loose, on the end of one partition. I called them, they said they would repair it, at the factory. I asked if that same guy was going to be driving to Fla again to transport it, and he was not, I would need to pack it to ship it or drive it there. They then said I could just take it to a local welder and they would pay the invoice. I did that and they re-embursed me quickly.
    I have a hard time finding the dents in the hood, they were very minor.
    The only issue I ran into with Thor, turned out to be a Leader Evaporator issue. My old pans were labeled 3x2 syrup and 3x6 flue, I took them for accurate rather than measuring. When I set the new pans, a 3x3 and a 3x5 on the arch they were too long. The old pans had a 1" thick FG gasket between them, the new had a 1/4" woven gasket, but the new pans ended up being 1.5" too long for the space. I had already sold the old pans so I could not measure them, but the old Leader pans combined were almost 3" shorter, the 1" gasket space and then at the back I had about 1/2" space before the base stack collar. Thor build their pans exactly 3x3 and 3x5, Leader had not. I ended up removing the original base stack and made a new one that gave me the needed room.
    Dave Klish about 1320 taps in '15, doing fewer each year, about 450 planned for 2020 (and after?)
    2012 Mahindra 36 HP 4x4/ loader/cab/heat/AC:-)
    added a gooseneck equipment trailer and F350 to tow it to haul more sap
    3x8 raised flue evaporator
    250 GPH converted to electric, RO by Ray Gingerich
    6.32 KW solar system, 1.48KW is battery backed up, all net metered
    http://s1041.photobucket.com/albums/...anssugarhouse/
    website: www.cnymaple.com

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2019
    Location
    Middlesex, Vermont
    Posts
    124

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    VTNewGuy - I couldn't agree more. In this scenario I think one factor I have to keep in mind is distance to a dealer. I'm fortunate enough to have CDL & Leader within an hours proximity of me. Thor is a couple hours and I'm sure NextGen is within a days trip.

    mapleflats- Glad you chimed in. I'd read many of your posts about your pans and how you've been very happy with them. My thoughts were for small repairs would be to utilize my vast contacts of capable welders for small touch ups when needed. My conclusion after looking at all the specs, prices, and distance is this is probably the best overall decision. I'll probably wait another month and see if I can get a few more hits on this thread to make a final decision. It's still very early in the summer in regards to placing an order to receive by mid winter so I don't mind waiting a bit longer. Barry said their flues are 7" and front pan can be rotated. While the SSR from SL looks like an awesome feature, you have to buy it from the get go because of the fitting orientation. Understandably it's set up differently than a conventional 180 pan so you can't add on later with out major changes. Not a negative but obviously if you went the SL route you'd want to do that from the get go. Quite a price difference going that route than Thor unfortunately (although their features are top notch!) I think I could even have them build a 2x6 with some deeper flues and get just a little more surface area out of the flue pan. I'll take any advice, thoughts, do's/don'ts people want to give so don't hesitate!
    Mead Maple "It's for the kids..."
    Paul Cerminara
    2019 - First season ever
    -Homemade 275 gallon oil drum arch
    -75 taps, all on traditional buckets and drops into 5 gallon buckets
    -Goal: 3 gallons
    -Season Total: 7.5 gallons - pulled taps after running out of firewood and time
    -Fear: Becoming a member of MT.com and getting bit

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Derby, Vermont
    Posts
    388

    Default

    while i don't own my evaporator from Thor yet (well, i own a 1/3rd i guess), i have had nothing but good experiences speaking with Barry. he's easy to get a hold of, and has been very accommodating to my schedule for picking it up. he's even helping me with all the paperwork on getting the rig back to the U.S. I can give a better update in two weeks when i pick up my arch.
    Awfully thankful for an understanding wife!

    “The only place success comes before work is in the dictionary.”
    - Vincent “Vince” Lombardi

    Good luck to all!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Oneida NY
    Posts
    9,868

    Default

    When I ordered from Thor all of the specs were mine, it was not a model they offer regularly. I think their normal raised flue are 7.5" deep and adding the extra hight on the size added very little to the price.
    Dave Klish about 1320 taps in '15, doing fewer each year, about 450 planned for 2020 (and after?)
    2012 Mahindra 36 HP 4x4/ loader/cab/heat/AC:-)
    added a gooseneck equipment trailer and F350 to tow it to haul more sap
    3x8 raised flue evaporator
    250 GPH converted to electric, RO by Ray Gingerich
    6.32 KW solar system, 1.48KW is battery backed up, all net metered
    http://s1041.photobucket.com/albums/...anssugarhouse/
    website: www.cnymaple.com

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2019
    Location
    Middlesex, Vermont
    Posts
    124

    Default

    Great info guys, I look foreword to hearing about (and seeing some pics!) of your new rig!


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    Mead Maple "It's for the kids..."
    Paul Cerminara
    2019 - First season ever
    -Homemade 275 gallon oil drum arch
    -75 taps, all on traditional buckets and drops into 5 gallon buckets
    -Goal: 3 gallons
    -Season Total: 7.5 gallons - pulled taps after running out of firewood and time
    -Fear: Becoming a member of MT.com and getting bit

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Greenwich, NY
    Posts
    45

    Default

    As a Vermonter, you should head down to Wallingford, Vt. and see Steve and Connie Berger at Roaring Brook Maple. They are located right on Main St. They are the only Thor dealers in the U.S. that we know of.
    The Maple News is the industry's number one trade publication across U.S. and Canada.
    We are a monthly subscription newspaper with a readership of 10,000 +.
    Subscription rates are $33/year and $60/2 years.
    Feel free to e-mail themaplenews@icloud.com for a sample copy or call us at 518-692-2204.
    Or click on www.themaplenews.com

    --The Maple News
    106 Main St.
    Greenwich, NY 12834

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2019
    Location
    Middlesex, Vermont
    Posts
    124

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by TheMapleNews View Post
    As a Vermonter, you should head down to Wallingford, Vt. and see Steve and Connie Berger at Roaring Brook Maple. They are located right on Main St. They are the only Thor dealers in the U.S. that we know of.
    Great info! When I looked up the Thor website there were others listed. And I had called one that was a Napa dealer but his price was significantly more and I assume that was due to all the thing previously mentioned in this thread. I will call the Berger’s tomorrow though! Maybe they have something on display


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    Mead Maple "It's for the kids..."
    Paul Cerminara
    2019 - First season ever
    -Homemade 275 gallon oil drum arch
    -75 taps, all on traditional buckets and drops into 5 gallon buckets
    -Goal: 3 gallons
    -Season Total: 7.5 gallons - pulled taps after running out of firewood and time
    -Fear: Becoming a member of MT.com and getting bit

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Greenwich, NY
    Posts
    45

    Default

    The Thor sales rep is going to be at the Berger's booth at the Rutland County Fair next month as well. I believe on Aug. 13. Good luck, Paul.
    The Maple News is the industry's number one trade publication across U.S. and Canada.
    We are a monthly subscription newspaper with a readership of 10,000 +.
    Subscription rates are $33/year and $60/2 years.
    Feel free to e-mail themaplenews@icloud.com for a sample copy or call us at 518-692-2204.
    Or click on www.themaplenews.com

    --The Maple News
    106 Main St.
    Greenwich, NY 12834

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