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Thread: Chip removal in tap holes

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2020
    Salisbury, NH

    Default Chip removal in tap holes

    How do people prevent wood chips from getting into your tubing system without risking bacteria infiltration? Running 3/16 tubing, want to prevent clogs from chips. Has anyone bought sterile cotton-tipped applicators to remove chips from tap holes before placing the taps?
    1990's: Dad ran a buckets and cinder block evaporator, dragged us kids along.
    2020: 35 buckets over a cinder block evaporator
    2021: Smoky Lake Dauntless with a divided pan. 45 taps on 3/16 tubing and another 45 buckets. Set up in a Lean-to off the side of the shed

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Lake County Ohio


    Although not currently allowed in the States, some Canadian producers will give the hole a shot of IPA and water, with a spray bottle, to flush anything out.
    Or you can use a small twig and simply push it in and twist back out. Green twigs work well as they are usually fairly “stringy” at the ends.
    I have found that any small shaving will eventually plug-up a downstream fitting. You’re on the right track.
    John Allin

    14x18 Hemlock Timber Frame Sugar House 2009
    Leader 2x6 w/Patriot Raised Flue Pan 2009
    Leader Steam Hood 2014 - Clear Filter Press 2015
    Leader Revolution Pan and SS Pre-Heater 2016
    CDL Hobby RO & Air Tech L25 Hi Vac Pump 2019
    06' Gator HPX to collect wood & sap
    14' Ski-Doo Tundra for winter work in the woods
    Great Family 3 grown kids+spouses and 7 grand kids who like the woods
    7th Gen Born in Canada - Raised in Chardon Ohio - Maple Capital of the World..<grin>.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Southern Ohio


    it's easiest to just break off a twig at each hole and swab it out. Takes maybe an extra 30 seconds. Actually, I usually break one off as I'm walking to the next tap and have it ready
    125-150 taps
    Smokey Lakes Full pint Hybrid pan
    Modified half pint arch
    Air over fire
    All 3/16 tubing
    Southern Ohio

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Hillsdale, NY United States


    I have tried the cotton "qtips" in a clean zip lock bag but it seems like another thing to carry, keep clean and use in the drilling procedure. If you wait until the sap is running, the hole will be cleaned quickly with good sap flow. A quick in out drilling with a good tapping bit will leave little or no shavings. I check the hole and now use a twig for the few holes that have shavings.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Ashtabula County, Ohio


    I wonder if anyone has ever used the aerosol canned air that is used to dust off computer keyboards.
    1000 taps on vacuum back down to 10 buckets and 233 on gravity tubing
    2x7 A&A Raised Flue
    CDL 18" vacuum filter
    NGMP 100 HPRO RO
    2019 Kawasaki Mule Pro MX, Long 510 sap haulers
    Past evaporators: Phaneuf 2x6, A&A 2.5x10, Smoky Lake 2x8 (oil then wood fired)
    Syrup made 2010:36 gal 2011:126 gal 2012:81 gal 2013:248 gal 2014: 329.5 gal 2015:305 gal 2016:316 gal 2017:258 gal 2018:147 gal 2019:91 gal 2020: 30 gal
    Tapping the same trees my great, great and great grandfathers tapped.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Walpole, NH


    Sticking anything into the tap hole, unless the item is sanitized between holes, is a good way to prematurely introduce bacteria into the hole and shorten it’s production lifespan.
    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

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2017
    Granville, PA


    I wonder if a small amount of distilled water from a mustard type squirt bottle would have any negative affect on the cleanliness and longevity of the tap hole.but gbeneke is right, just one more thing to carry. BAP's correct too, anything not sanatized will potential cause problems.
    Minehart Gap Maple

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2019


    I like both the compressed air and DD H20 idea.
    Seems compressed air would be a pain in the bush, but a squirt bottle with double distilled water would certainly be easy enough...
    That said, the twig, and its "organic" tones, seems like the winner in my book!
    2021 - 77 taps on shurflo 4008. Sap Sucker 4-D. Mason 2x4 XL, 4x150 RO.
    2020 - 70ish taps on shurflo 4008, 10 taps on buckets. Mason 2x4 XL. DIY R.O. ~24 gallons of syrup.
    2019 - First Season with a Late Start. 10 taps on buckets, block arch and 2.5 gallons of syrup.
    Trout Brook Valley
    Weston, CT

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Oneida NY


    All I've ever used if needed, is a twig from a nearby bush. Use it only on the one tap hole then toss it. As said above, most will not need cleaning if you drill in one quick motion. Hold the drill from wobbling and run the drill in and out without stopping. If using a tapping bit most will be clean holes. Don't stop the drill, just in, then out.
    If you use a non tapping bit you may well have shavings left in the hole. A tapping bit has larger and faster spirals which helps remove the shavings better. The extra cost for tapping bits is worth it!
    Dave Klish about 400 taps, down from much more. Will hold about the same for 2021
    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
    website: www.cnymaple.com

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Lancaster NH


    Quote Originally Posted by heus View Post
    I wonder if anyone has ever used the aerosol canned air that is used to dust off computer keyboards.
    i asked about this last year , did not get any positive reply's. I may just try it this year. I rarely get chips but once in a while when I get sloppy drilling i do.
    44 27'08/71 27'56
    300 totalish taps 250 on tube and bosworth sap sucker
    50 bucket and bags about 40-50 gallons a season
    on a 2 by 7 home made evaporator and sugar shack
    1st gen circa 1966 still learning stuff

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