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Thread: Wood chips for the arch

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
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    Genesee Township, Michigan
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    Default Wood chips for the arch

    For those who use wood chips to fire your arch:
    How is it working out?
    How do you feed the fire?
    What type of wood do you burn?
    How do you dry it?
    How do you store it?

    I left behind all my wood and my splitter when I moved to Nebraska. Now I have the opportunity to tap 8 large trees/16 taps but have no wood to fire the arch next year. I do have a medium and a large Hard maple tree that need to go to make way for my house, along with other small deciduous trees and several 12” pines. While I can cut the small size to 16” I have no way split the rest and I don’t know if I want to. They guy cutting will chip it all. I just need to know how well chipped wood works in the arch.

    Thanks for you input and opinions!
    Last edited by jimmol; 07-05-2020 at 08:24 PM. Reason: Clarification

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Chatham NH
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by jimmol View Post
    For those who use wood chips to fire your arch:
    How is it working out?
    How do you feed the fire?
    What type of wood do you burn?
    How do you dry it?
    How do you store it?

    I left behind all my wood and my splitter when I moved to Nebraska. Now I have the opportunity to tap 8 large trees but have no wood to fire the arch next year. I do have a medium and a large Hard maple tree that need to go to make way for my house, along with other small deciduous trees and several 12” pines. While I can cut the small size to 16” I have no way split the rest and I don’t know if I want to. They guy cutting will chip it all. I just need to know how well chipped wood works in the arch.

    Thanks for you input and opinions!
    Not many guys on here this time of year. Every guy I have seen boiling with Chips has developed a way to slowly trickle the chips into the evaporator. I don't think it will work. nor have I seen anyone just shoveling them in. It takes quite alot of engineering to build a wood chip boiler that works well. Not to say you can't come up with something, but for 8 taps it might be easier to use natgas/propane
    Nate Hutchins
    Nate & Kate's Maple
    2018 1000 taps?
    20x36 sugarhouse
    CDL 600gph RO
    Franken evaporator, lapierre arch, smokylake pans and a leader hood with pre-heater.
    A wife and 2 kids.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Walpole, NH
    Posts
    1,104

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    As Nate said, to make chips work well, you need a way to constantly feed them in slowly. As far as splitting your wood, I don’t know about your location, but around here, it is pretty easy to find places that rent wood splitters by the day. Or if real desperate, a sharp maul and couple wedges work good too.
    Sugaring for 45+ years
    New Sugarhouse 14'x32'
    New to Me Algier 2'x8' wood fired evaporator
    225 Sugar Maples Currently,(105 on 3/16" and 110 on Shurflo 4008 vacuum, 10 gravity), (16,000 before being disabled)
    1947 Farmall H and Wagon with gathering tank
    2012 Kubota with forks to move wood around

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
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    Hopkinton, MA
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    For the amount of wood you are going to be using, you are better off buying a good maul, a sledge and 2-3 wedges. Have the tree guy chip the brush, but keep everything 2" and up. It's amazing what 2 wedges can do with huge rounds with not much effort - especially maple. It splits very well. The maul will take care of the rest.

    I think for the amount of time you'd spend figuring out how to burn chips and cursing a bad boil, you could have all your wood split. For 16 taps, maybe you'll need 1/3 of a cord? Maybe less. You could do that in a few hours. Just split what you need for next spring then leave the others as rounds to season one more year. If your wood isn't dry by next spring, burn pallets.

    A pile of wood chips will never dry. The inside of the pile will be a mushy, punky mess. Stacked, covered hardwood off the ground will be good for years. If you take care of the amount of wood you are talking about, you'll have wood for many season ahead.
    Woodville Maples
    www.woodvillemaples.com
    www.facebook.com/woodvillemaples
    Something north of 250 taps
    Mix of natural and mechanical vac, S3 Controller from Mountain Maple
    2x6 W.F. Mason with Phaneuf pans
    Deer Run 125 RO
    6 hives of bees
    Keeping the day job until I can start living the dream.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Oneida NY
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    I'm not sure how he does it, but Neil Collins who runs the old VVS sugarhouse uses chips. PM him, collinsmapleman2012, he can shed light on it.
    I do know foe one thing they harvest willow shoots in a dense planting and then dry (or partially dry them). Neil can give you some info. I do have his phone number but do not have permission to give it out. If a PM doesn't get an answer, PM me with your email or phone #. I'll then call Neil and give hime the info.
    Among other things, that arch is fed by a conveyor feeding chips into an box with a continuous auger feeding the fire. That part alone might exclude a real small operation. He can tell you how the chips are dried, how far they are dried, how mold is controlled and other issues with burning chips. I doubt it is a method that can be done using a shovel to feed the fire.
    Wood might well be your best bet. Cut now and split small is the key, then stack it off the ground to dry., a roof over it helps, along with air circulation.
    Dave Klish about 1320 taps in '15, downsized after I lost my help, about 450-500 planned for 2021 (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

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
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    Genesee Township, Michigan
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    Thanks for the information. Being small may preclude the parts to do this. It was a thought but now I have a source of firewood compliments of the man who will be clearing some tree so I can get the house built. He said he would supply wood in the future.
    Thanks to everyone who has contributed.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2020
    Location
    Springfield, MA
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    If you have a truck and a chainsaw, I find postings for free wood on Craigslist and FB Marketplace almost every week. People cutting trees in their yards looking to get rid of them. I haven't yet, but I thought of hooking up with a local tree service since they normally chip the smaller limbs - maybe you could grab them.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
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    Genesee Township, Michigan
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    Thanks for the tip

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