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Thread: Filtering recommendations

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2019

    Default Filtering recommendations

    As my hobby maple syrup operation progresses each year the part I struggle with the most is filtering. I am currently using cone filters which are messy and slow. I am considering the 9 CDL Vacuum filter system or a flat filter system. Id appreciate hearing advice, recommendations and experience people have had. Thank you.
    2021 - 55 taps, RO Bucket RB10, 10 gal syrup
    2020 - 44 taps, WF Mason 2x3 XL, 4.3 gal syrup
    2019 - 50 taps, 2-18"x24" flat pans over cinderblock arch, 4 gal syrup
    2018 - 50 taps, 2-18"x24" flat pans over cinderblock arch, 3 gal syrup
    2017 - 40 taps, 2-18"x24" flat pans over fire, 2 gal syrup
    2016 - 25 taps, 2 12"x20" warming pans over fire, 1 gal syrup

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Southern Ohio


    You see a lot of people struggle with cones. Filtering is the most aggravating part of syrup making, but necessary. Search through the threads there are literally thousands of post on it. I use flat filters that my wife makes for me. I use a wire basket that hangs in a 16 qt pot and she sews them up to fit, so I am using every bit of surface area. I usually gilter about a half gallon at a time.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    125-150 taps
    Smokey Lakes Full pint Hybrid pan
    Modified half pint arch
    Air over fire
    All 3/16 tubing
    Southern Ohio

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2015
    Rumney NH


    I second that. gravity. I have my mother sew them for me. my canner is a little bigger, as I filter 10 gallons at a time. If it is hot enough goes right through. I use 1 Oregon filter on the bottom and 5-7 prefilters on top if filtering slows I slowly remove one prefilter.
    2017 140 taps 30x8 12x16 shack 28.5 gal
    2018 158 taps 30x8 12x16 shack with 8x8 kitchen 44 gal
    2019 223 taps 30x8 12x16 shack with 8x8 kitchen 36 gal
    2020 226 taps 30x8 12x16 shack with 8x8 kitchen 250 waterloo ro 63 gal
    2021 230 taps 30x8 12x16 shack with 8x8 kitchen 250 waterloo ro 37 gal

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    Princeton, MA


    I used to struggle with the cone filters too, but getting the optimizer cone filter rack was a game changer.

    Mountain Maple farm
    2021: 260 taps, 70% red maples. Mountain Maple S4 diaphragm pump controller with automated sap transfer and text messaging
    New website:

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2019
    Murrysville, Pennsylvania


    You can build a vacuum filter for pretty cheap. Works far better than gravity / cone filters. Key is to use diatomaceous earth with the right filter papers.

    I built one and it worked great but last year went to a smokylake stainless filter press and loved it. Would never go back to vacuum or gravity. Its fast, easy to clean, incredible results, and isn't much more $ than the CDL vacuum units.
    D. Roseum
    ~100 taps on 3/16 custom temp controlled vacuum; custom nat gas evap with temp and level controllers; homemade RO; SL SS filter press
    2021: 27.1 gallons

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Hopkinton, MA


    Ditto on the Optimizer. I've used 2 in tandem for years and filter right off the evaporator. I have an RO and they can keep up. Last year, I made the jump to boiling 11% concentrate which I think was about 3+ gallons per hour of syrup and I was good. There was just one tough boil after a long warm spell that was a little nerve-wracking, but I got through it. If I was to continue on the cheap, I'd probably buy a third Optimizer for nights like that. At $60 each, it's the most bang for your buck you are going to get with gravity filtering.

    That said, like D. Roseum, I made the jump to a filter press this off season. I considered the vacuum filter as a next step, but decided to make the bigger move at once. I've always wanted to try a press.
    Woodville Maples
    Around 300 taps on tubing, 25+ on buckets if I put them out
    Mix of natural and mechanical vac, S3 Controller from Mountain Maple
    2x6 W.F. Mason with Phaneuf pans
    Deer Run 250 RO
    Ford F350
    6+ hives of bees (if they make it through the winters)
    Keeping the day job until I can start living the dream.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2018
    Hudson NH


    I ordered the 9 inch CDL vacuum at the Bascom open house. I have used the cone filters the last two seasons. They actually have worked pretty well for me. Using a sailors hat method by just inverting the filter with a pre-filter was good but as you all know we are looking for ways to improve efficiency every year. I looked at many videos online of sugar makers using these vacuum presses in their operations and seemed like a good idea to me. Yes you can build one however my wife would rather pony up the money to buy one then have me spending hours fabricating in the garage. I came to the same conclusion on a R/O and ordered the Nano for this year.

    19x48 mini pro oil fired, Nano R/O, CDL Vacuum Press
    6x12 sugar house off back of shed
    2019- 50 taps all buckets- 6 Gallons syrup made
    2020 -50 taps, more Sugar Maples, with some Reds- 6 gallons made
    2021- 46 taps- 26 on 3/16 tubing, 19 buckets - All Sugar Maples this year - 12.2 Gallons made
    Two kids one patient wife
    "The days are long, but the years are short"

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2017
    Harvard, MA


    In my six years sugaring, I struggled with the cone filters like everyone, then went to flat filtering for the last 3 years, and its been a huge improvement, efficiency and quality wise. Im quite happy with it but of course want to keep improving, so Im looking into the vacuum filter or maybe filter press as upgrades. Id like to keep the cost down so the vacuum filter
    Sounds better but it has some downsides Im looking into. A used filter press might be a good investment although its over my budget.
    2021 is season 6.
    2016: 20 taps on buckets, 4 gallons on a borrowed 2x3.
    2017: 32 taps on buckets, 8 gallons of syrup, on a "loaner" Lapierre 19x48. Makeshift 8x8 sugar shack.
    2018: 80 taps with new neighbors. First time tubing. New 10x12 sugar shack, Lapierre 2x5. Made 17 gallons, sold 5.
    2019: 100 taps. 22 gallons. Added a small RO 50 gph.
    2020: 145 taps, 30 gallons, sold half. Murphy cup is a great addition.
    2021: tapped Feb 23, 150 taps. Aiming for 35 gallons. refractometer.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2019
    Nashville, MI


    Aren't most things maple related over our budgets. that's what my wife tells me all the time.
    2004 - 2012 2x3 flat pan 25 to 60 taps
    2012 2x3 new divided pan w/draw off 55 taps
    2018 - didn't boil surgery - bought new evaporator
    2019 new SML 2x4 raised flue high output evap. 65 taps
    made 17 gal syrup
    2020 - only put out 53 taps - made 16.25 gal syrup
    2021 - going for 50 bags and 50 on tubing

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2021
    Parry Sound Area, Ontario


    I have the CDL bucket filter. I have yet to try it, but it has the diameter a 5 gallon bucket for the syrup to pass through the filter. It seems like a winner, but I have not seen a single post on them. CDL recommended them to me.

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