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Thread: Adding steel to a cinder block evaporator

  1. #31
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    Parry Sound Area, Ontario
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    Quote Originally Posted by Super Sapper View Post
    You may want to add a little obstruction just before the stack to divert the heat to the outside so it does not short-circuit up the middle.
    Thanks, I would not have thought about that, I will do that.

  2. #32
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    Today I hauled with my ATV and bush buggy trailer the sand, from a local pit, that I put on top of the concrete pad. I placed 3.5” of sand on top of the pad. I then placed the concrete blocks in their proper place. Tomorrow I have to cut to length the metal sides, the floor grate and the door, with my angle grinder. I have to find the right side block to slow the airflow to the stack. I am relying on a neighbour to cut a hole in a plate and add a collar for the top plate for the stove pipe, then I can do a trial boil.

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  3. #33
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    Hopkinton, MA
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    I'm enjoying reading about your progress. I wish I had been doing so much prep in the summer. I always seemed to decide (and often still do) on better ways to do things in January!

    What's the purpose of the sand? If you have a level, frost-free surface like a concrete pad to work on, use it. One of the benefits to getting into a sugar house for me was getting off of the ground. Earth wicks moisture no matter how much you try to protect it and it adds ice cold moisture to your firebox. The pad also makes shoveling ash out easier. Maybe consider using that sand as an additional fire barrier around the pad and build and burn right off of the concrete.

    Sean
    Woodville Maples
    www.woodvillemaples.com
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    Around 300 taps on tubing, 25+ on buckets if I put them out
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    2x6 W.F. Mason with Phaneuf pans
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    Keeping the day job until I can start living the dream.

  4. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by SeanD View Post
    What's the purpose of the sand? If you have a level, frost-free surface like a concrete pad to work on, use it. One of the benefits to getting into a sugar house for me was getting off of the ground.
    I was worried the heat from the fire would hurt the concrete. The sand is to help protect the concrete. The sand is firm and contained. The whole area will be protected from any snow.

    Today I added the metal sides. I can remove them easily if I find that they are a negative. My hope is that help retain more heat and protect the cinder blocks somewhat. I also cut and placed the grill to fit. It sits on some smaller concrete blocks. I also cut the metal front door and added two wood handles to make it easy and safe to move.

    I have a little more sand to add in the “slope” area and I am now at the mercy of a neighbour to cut a hole in a metal plate and add a collar for the stove pipe. The distance from the front of the evaporator to the inside of the back wall is 5 feet. Does that mean that my stovepipe should be 10 feet tall?

    In September I will make the bones of a temporary sugar shack.

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  5. #35
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    Sep 2020
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    Corbeil, ON
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    If you have enough sand you should fill the block cavities with sand. It will help hold the heat in the firebox.
    Once you test fire, you might want to try raising the grate closer to the pans to see how it increases the boil rate.
    2021 - Year one. 15 taps using 5/16" and drop tube into buckets. Homemade barrel evaporator with 2 steam trays. 4.7L syrup.

  6. #36
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    Covington Twp. Pa.
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    I think you are going to have to lift your grate up a few inches. If not it will plug up with ashes and coals and the draft will not be able to come up from below your fire.
    2x3 Patrick Phaneuf pan
    Homemade arch
    100+ taps
    Sugar Shack in future
    Wife into it as much as me
    Also do homebrew

    http://s928.photobucket.com/albums/ad121/ZMANSYRUP/

  7. #37
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    Jul 2021
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    Parry Sound Area, Ontario
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    Quote Originally Posted by Z/MAN View Post
    I think you are going to have to lift your grate up a few inches. If not it will plug up with ashes and coals and the draft will not be able to come up from below your fire.
    Thanks, I will put another layer of blocks below it.

  8. #38
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    Jul 2021
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    Parry Sound Area, Ontario
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    A few questions about stove pipe for my evaporator.

    Is regular galvanized stove pipe (good to 1000°) okay to use?

    I can make the hole in my metal plate for the stove pipe, 6” or 8”. Are both good? Is one better?

    Can I use a 45° angle in the stove pipe run, or does it have to be dead straight?

    Thank you.

  9. #39
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    Jul 2021
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    Parry Sound Area, Ontario
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    I am glad I am building this well before the tapping season, as you learn from your mistakes. In hindsight, I should have seen this one coming.

    Normally when people do their cinder block evaporators, they just find a flat piece of ground and build it on it, often just before sap season. In my case I really did not have a unused place to build it on, other than off the edge of a parking area in the bush. Hence, I did the extra step of making a concrete pad for it to sit on, to protect the roots of the trees. Then I did another extra step of adding 3.5 inches of sand on top of the concrete pad, contained with a wood frame. All was good when I placed all of the cinder blocks on the sand.

    Then it rained. The rain water had no where to go with the concrete pad below it and the wood sides bordering it. The sand all turned into a sloppy mess and the cinder blocks started to get off kilter. Seems like an obvious result now.

    I have removed all of the blocks and have removed all of the sand. I am going to let the area dry and I will rebuild it with some changes.

    The cinder blocks will sit directly on the concrete. In the fire box area, I will lay a piece of metal over the concrete. I will then lay a layer of fire bricks on top of the metal and will mortar it in place. Then will come my four inches of bricks to raise the grate off the firebrick floor.

    On line if you look at 98% of the cinder block evaporators, they are uncovered. I would like to cover mine, with a gazebo like structure, with half walls. The sole goal is to keep precipitation off the pans and me while I am working there and perhaps have a place to sit in a sheltered corner.

    To help facilitate the stove pipe going outside the roof of the structure, I will have the opening of the stove pipe at the end of the evaporator, instead of on top. Seeing a tip on another old post, I will make a concrete form 18”x20”x7.5” with the 6” stove pipe sitting inside. The bottom of the pipe will be 8” from the bottom of the block and 6” from either side of the block. I will add steel to the form to give the block some additional strength.

  10. #40
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    Jul 2021
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    Parry Sound Area, Ontario
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    I rebuilt the cinder block evaporator directly onto the concrete pad. I cut some metal for the floor of the firebox and I placed fire brick on top of the metal. I have to cut some pieces of the fire brick tomorrow to make for a tight fit. I added some 15x15 concrete patio stones to fill in the open area of the edges of the “slope”.

    I poured the concrete block with the stove pipe placed 8” above the bottom of the block. The block will be very heavy as it took 3 bags of concrete to fill the form, but it will sit perfectly at the rear of the evaporator.

    Because the stove pipe exits out the back of the evaporator, it allows me to add a hot plate at the rear to have a fifth pan to preheat the sap. By the weekend I may be ready for a test burn, boiling some water in the pans.
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