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Thread: Help 'design' my system

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Hancock, NY
    Posts
    21

    Default Help 'design' my system

    I've been tapping for about 10 years now. Usually about 15-30 taps, with 3 gallon buckets. I collect by pouring the buckets into 5-gallon carboys from beer brewing, carried around in a wheelbarrow. I'd do very rough filtering of the sap with a sieve at the carboys, and then I'd run the sap through a smaller filter using 5 gallon buckets with spigots. (That was just to get rid of the debris and gunk from the buckets.) Then I boil it down on a big propane grill and a Turkey fryer on my deck. It's worked pretty good to now.

    However, I'd like to switch from propane to wood, with an actual evaporator. I also scouted another bunch of trees so I could get to 50 taps. I'm new to this whole methodology, and am trying to work out how best to do it. Curious what suggestions y'all might have for me, as I've got a lot of newbie questions.

    First, I'm thinking I might get rid of the carboys, and instead have a larger tank that I could keep in the back of my truck to collect the sap from the buckets. Does that make sense? Maybe something like this 65 gallon tank from Bascom?: http://www.bascommaple.com/search/t65/ One question I'd have is whether I should be filtering out the debris on the way into the tank, and if so what's the best way to do that.

    Another question is if it's stupid to be collecting in my truck like this, as I'll be constantly having to climb into the truck bed to pour the buckets into the tank. Hm. Maybe it is. Or maybe I can get a little trailer so I can actually reach the tank from the ground?

    Then, I'm thinking I'd transfer the sap from my truck to another 65 gallon tank (or maybe larger), this one raised above the evaporator, so gravity can feed it directly into the evaporator. I'm assuming I transfer the sap with a pump, correct? I've seen discussions of pumps, but are there any model(s) that a lot of people use that's appropriate for use? I've got electric available so that seems preferable. Should I also be thinking about filtering the sap at this point, and if so how does that work?

    I'd then run the sap with a 3/4" line into the evaporator. One question about this part of the system - how do you deal with ice? With my carboys I could just bring them inside to warm by the fire, but obviously that wouldn't work here.

    Finally, I'm looking at the Dauntless evaporator from Smoky Maple. I like that it has wheels and I can move it for off-season storage. I'd use an inlet float box, so the whole system is (somewhat) automated once I get the sap into 65 gallon tank. Does that make sense, am I thinking of that right?

    At some point I plan to build a sugar shack around my system (which would help with the ice question) but that will be a project for a future year.

    So... what do you think? What did I miss, what am I not considering?

    Thanks ahead of time for your thoughts!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Albion PA
    Posts
    4,706

    Default

    stimyg.
    You can do this! The systems are mostly all custom works! Look at a small 12 volt pump to move sap into the truck for you. But we started by dumping into a truck tank too. Little steps and continuous improvements. Go to some other sugarhouses for ideas.
    Regards,
    Chris
    Casbohm Maple and Honey
    600 roadside taps
    3x10 King, WRU, AOF and AUF
    12" SIRO Filter Press.
    2015 Ford F250 PSD sap hauler
    One Golden named Maggie Cat named Lucy
    Too many Cub Cadets
    Ford Jubilee and several Allis WD's, and IH tractors

    www.mapleandhoney.com

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    Sugar Camp, Wisconsin
    Posts
    245

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    Someone posted a few years ago about a setup they did it was a tank in the truck or trailer bed, piped like Sugarmaker suggested with a 12 volt pump piped to a 15 or 30 gallon plastic tank on its side hanging from the back bumper with a hatch cut into the top, pump was mounted on that tanks connection and I think he either had a switch or float to start / stop the pump He could open the hatch and dump buckets in at waist level. the sap would get pumped up to the tank or tanks and ice stayed in the dump tank. Looked like that worked out great ........................a back saver too. Just can't find that post??? maybe the owner of that one can re post here? Jay
    Zucker Lager

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Southern Ohio
    Posts
    885

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    You are on the right track. As for the Pick up tank, you can get or make a step that goes in your hitch receiver for easier getting in. Get a large funnel and cut the bottom out and put a cone prefilter through it and leave enough to clip it to the funnel top edge with close pins or clips. That will be all the sap filtering you'll need to do. when the sap flow slows through it turn it inside out and flip it then turn it back and go on. wash the filter at the end of every day. Get a 12 volt bilge pump ( get one approved for RV use that is potable water safe off amazon) and put a cord with alligator clips to clip on your truck battery. You can also buy a 110 to 12 volt converter for the shack. An evaporator with a float box is an important thing in my book. Set it up with a head tank and then transfer your sap to that. Just empty the head tank and line to the evaporator at the end of every day. Put a plumbing union in the line and a drain pug in the head tank. That way you'll not have to worry about thawing ice. Ice in the evaporator is not an issue unless it freezes solid. On really cold nights (under 15 F) just put a light bulb in the firebox...it'll be fine. You will have to learn when to stop firing at the end of your sap. Typically I stop firing when I have an hour of sap left and just flood the pan at the end with that sap. It will steam off most of it over night. That's the short and simple plan I'd give you.
    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
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Albion PA
    Posts
    4,706

    Default

    Ok lets look at some numbers:
    How much syrup do you want to make? 50 taps should make you 12 gallons of finished syrup if you have good trees and stay with it all season.
    50 taps might produce on the best day 100-150 gallons of sap. Lighter days maybe 25-30 gallons.
    How much time do you have to boil? Size your rig to boil all your sap the same day you gather it even if its in the evening. So the evaporator I would look at would boil at a rate of say 20 gallons of sap per hour. This may sound a tad big to you but with gathering, start up and shut down you could still have a 4-5 hour night on a good run.

    Also would allow you to find that next group of trees that would put you at 75 to 100 taps.

    I would reduce/ stop the sap filtering, You just dont gain much in that area, unless its not costing you any time. Look at your sap gathering containers and tighten up your system to reduce /eliminate anything getting in, bigger than a ant.
    Anything you can do to reduce your labor or time is a plus.
    My system is larger but I gather with a pick up every day of the season. I dont lift and sap, just pump it onto the truck, gravity off at the sugarhouse and pump it to the holding tank above the evaporator. (And I am just a small operation)
    You got this! Now Lets get started. How much do you want to spend!
    Regards,
    Chris
    Casbohm Maple and Honey
    600 roadside taps
    3x10 King, WRU, AOF and AUF
    12" SIRO Filter Press.
    2015 Ford F250 PSD sap hauler
    One Golden named Maggie Cat named Lucy
    Too many Cub Cadets
    Ford Jubilee and several Allis WD's, and IH tractors

    www.mapleandhoney.com

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2019
    Location
    VT
    Posts
    1

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    I know posting a link to a video is usually against the rules but since its my own video, hopefully its OK. Watching it is much faster than me typing everything out. The setup works very well for my application without a whole lot of money invested. https://youtu.be/1P82zyyscGw
    I do have some efficiency plans up my sleeve for this year such as raising the storage tank for better flow, adding a float box to the evaporator and utilizing an old exhaust fan with rheostat for Forced air.
    As for ice, it’s certainly a problem for me also. I always have to make sure the lines and tanks are empty, which often means late nights after a warm day...😁

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Oneida NY
    Posts
    9,978

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    Back when I had about 100 buckets I took a 55 gal plastic food grade barrel and cut it to slight above 1/2 the height. As I emptied the buckets into that barrel, which was positioned off the back of my truck, on the ground I paid attention to how full it got, Then when it was nearly full I carried 2 more buckets full and set them near that barrel. I then started a 1" gas powered pump I had (aluminum housing, never used for any other use) and then as it pumped I dumped the remaining 2 buckets in. The pump moved the sap to a tank in the bed of my truck. The 1st year it was a 125 gal leg tank, the second year it was a 165 gal leg tank. I only did that 2 seasons. After that I had all tubing, running into large tanks on the ground. From those I pumped to a 275 gal IBC tote. In year 2 of that I carried 1 tote in the bed of my 3/4 ton truck and pulled a trailer with another IBC. At that point I had gotten a 1.5" Honda pump (WX15) to move sap faster. After 4-5 years of that I bought a gooseneck trailer and hauled 3 IBC totes. I could have hauled 4 IBC totes but never felt the need to.
    You will find that hauling a partially full tank is not easy. Back when I hauled 3 IBC totes, with an F350 4x4 HD, I always filled 1 tank to the top before putting any in the next tank. Had I hauled all 3 partially full I would have had problems controlling the truck with all of the surging as the sap sloshed around while driving (and especially when trying to stop).
    By the way Bill15kv, videos are welcome as long as they are relevant and generally they are best if they are yours, some video's are copyrighted and you may need permission to post them.
    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:-)
    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

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Winfield, Iowa
    Posts
    362

    Default

    Hi stimyg,
    We use a 65 gallon poly leg tank just like the one you linked in the bed of our truck. For filtering we take a pre-filter , poke it in the opening of the tank so it hangs down on the inside and use a rubber band to hold it in place, change it out or wash as needed. Another good thing about that set up is you can still put the lid on with the filter in place. Also, get yourself a large funnel. Hitting that 6' opening with a 5 gallon bucket of sap on a windy day is difficult. You should also build or scavenge some kind of skid to tie the tank down to in the bed of your truck, keep it from moving about and causing problems. I built one to fit my truck bed and its worked for years with no movement at all. As far as climbing in and out of the truck bed I'm not sure what to tell you. I drop the tailgate to climb in and have used a short step stool but it's kind of a PIA. My grandson sugars with me so he's pretty good about helping Pappy out with dumping the buckets. This will be the first year we're pumping sap from the truck to a tank on a stand and running from there directly to the evaporator so I'll hold off on commenting till I see how well it works for us. We've got a Smoky Lake Corsair and really like it. As far as we're concerned you can't go wrong with Smoky Lake, but that's just our opinion. Good luck and have fun! Ted

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2019
    Location
    Nashville, MI
    Posts
    93

    Default

    Many traders on this site have smokey lake maple equipment, myself included. Everything you are looking to do is all very feasible, as others have said. It all boils down to how much you want to spend to make the process easier for you and estimate how much growth you will have. One other item I did not see mentioned was the fact that you are going from propane to wood. You will have to have the equipment and sources of wood ready ahead of season each year and estimate your usage for the evaporator. Now all this is food for thought and please do not think I am discouraging you from doing this, totally the opposite. I love my sml evaporator and making syrup each year. My kids and grand kids all come out to help. You can pm me with any further questions you may have of me.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    Orwell,Vt.
    Posts
    1,125

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    I really think you should seek some treatment for your addiction. You are starting out just like the rest of us, spending $1000's of dollars to make 5 gallons of syrup! It's a wonderful hobby, enjoy yourself!!
    Good Luck!
    2 1/2 x8 Lapierre Waterloo-Small (oil fired)
    Leader Steamaway
    1200 gph Lapierre RO
    1800 taps
    http://s268.photobucket.com/albums/j...ks/Sugarhouse/


    Mike Christian
    505 Main St. Orwell, Vt.

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