+ Reply to Thread
Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 12

Thread: Fourth test boil was ultimately a success, but I have a few questions.

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2021
    Location
    Parry Sound Area, Ontario
    Posts
    297

    Default Fourth test boil was ultimately a success, but I have a few questions.

    I started my fourth and final boil test this morning at 8 am, the ambient temperature was 40° F (4° C) and there was a slight breeze. All went well, pans 1 and 2 (1 being closest to the door) boiled first and pan 3 was right behind and all 3 boiled vigorously throughout the test. Pan 4 was what the test was all about. It did come to a moderate boil, but it took an hour to do so. Near the end of the test I removed the pan and saw the two metal plates that were below it, that were designed to keep the flames from overheating the sides of the pans. Pan 4 was over the arch, so the fear of flames was very minimal, so I removed the two plates, stoked up the fire again and almost immediately pan 4 came to a vigorous boil. It did not boil quite as crazy as the other 3, but it had a good boil on it. Once I removed the plate, I could see flames running under pan 3 to under pan 4. The flames never went between the two pans.

    Pan 5 was meant to be a preheat pan. The water got very hot and had bubbles in it, but did not boil.

    Some questions:

    I had my gas powered leaf blower and running at idle speed, it turned the firebox into an inferno, however, some flames and sparks came out from under the door and the draft out the stovepipe completely stopped. As soon as I removed the blower, the draft up the chimney started immediately up again. Is this supposed to happen? What I ultimately did, was to fire up the leaf blower for about 15 seconds or so, about a minute before I would add wood again.

    With pans 1 to 3 running equally as hot and pan 4 boiling well, but not as well, would I take the sap from preheat pan 5 and put into pan 1 and then to 2 then 3 then 4?

    While this is going on, I will have 2, 5 quart pots boiling on an induction stove near by. It comes to a boil about every 20 minutes. Which pan should I dump the boiling sap into, pan 1?

    I did have some smoke come out between the blocks and the pan and between the door and the blocks. Definitely I will have to get gasket and ceramic blanket material to make the evaporator more air tight. I do have a call into CDL and they do have material in stock, so he will help me find the correct material for my application.

    There was also some smoke coming out minor openings between the cinder blocks. I will tighten up those areas. Not sure if I should add some heat resistant caulking to any of the spaces between the blocks.

    Three observations from the test, one is to have a chair nearby, two is you have be eagle eyed through the steam to make sure a pan’s sap level does not go too far down. I had one pan where the water level expectantly was low. I thought I had been watching for that, but with the steam, it can sneak up on you. The third is that the pans are heavy with liquid in them and they can slosh back and fourth in the pan. I will be sure to scoop it as much as I can before lifting it.

    Thanks for any advice.

    C14E3BB3-7F22-4B57-8512-61E27093AC29.jpg
    F85C815B-9C0A-4AF8-BD0E-48EBB7D85DB4.jpg
    C1205456-68A3-44B4-8C83-552BFB9EFEEC.jpg
    E9AC1528-0F04-41A1-89C8-B43B212FEDCF.jpg

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2016
    Location
    chester, ma
    Posts
    561

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Swingpure View Post
    I started my fourth and final boil test this morning at 8 am, the ambient temperature was 40° F (4° C) and there was a slight breeze. All went well, pans 1 and 2 (1 being closest to the door) boiled first and pan 3 was right behind and all 3 boiled vigorously throughout the test. Pan 4 was what the test was all about. It did come to a moderate boil, but it took an hour to do so. Near the end of the test I removed the pan and saw the two metal plates that were below it, that were designed to keep the flames from overheating the sides of the pans. Pan 4 was over the arch, so the fear of flames was very minimal, so I removed the two plates, stoked up the fire again and almost immediately pan 4 came to a vigorous boil. It did not boil quite as crazy as the other 3, but it had a good boil on it. Once I removed the plate, I could see flames running under pan 3 to under pan 4. The flames never went between the two pans.
    LOL. Slowly eliminating the last few pieces of all that steel. Glad to hear it. Yeah, you want the hot gasses right on your pans - anything that gets in the way of that is going to reduce the heat transfer.


    Some questions:

    I had my gas powered leaf blower and running at idle speed, it turned the firebox into an inferno, however, some flames and sparks came out from under the door and the draft out the stovepipe completely stopped. As soon as I removed the blower, the draft up the chimney started immediately up again. Is this supposed to happen? What I ultimately did, was to fire up the leaf blower for about 15 seconds or so, about a minute before I would add wood again.
    Makes no sense to me. If all that extra air wasn't going up the stovepipe, where was it going?

    With pans 1 to 3 running equally as hot and pan 4 boiling well, but not as well, would I take the sap from preheat pan 5 and put into pan 1 and then to 2 then 3 then 4?
    Exactly.

    While this is going on, I will have 2, 5 quart pots boiling on an induction stove near by. It comes to a boil about every 20 minutes. Which pan should I dump the boiling sap into, pan 1?
    What does that mean - "comes to a boil every 20 minutes"?

    Gabe
    2016: Homemade arch from old woodburning stove; 2 steam tray pans; 6 taps; 1.1 galls
    2017: Same setup. 15 taps; 4.5 galls
    2018: Same setup. Limited time. 12 taps and short season; 2.2 galls
    2019: Very limited time. 7 taps and a short season; 1.8 galls
    2020: New Mason 2x3 XL halfway through season; 9 taps 2 galls
    2021: Same 2x3, 18 taps, 4.5 galls
    2022: 23 taps
    All taps on buckets

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2021
    Location
    Parry Sound Area, Ontario
    Posts
    297

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by berkshires View Post

    Makes no sense to me. If all that extra air wasn't going up the stovepipe, where was it going?

    What does that mean - "comes to a boil every 20 minutes"?

    Gabe
    Lol, slowly the steel is going. The plate on the floor with the fire brick on top of it will stay. I still have three plates that three of the pans sit on, to help prevent the flames from going up the sides of the pans.


    I think the air going in was hitting the flat back wall of the fire box and coming straight back and perhaps there was no extra capacity in the stovepipe to accept any of it. I talked to the CDL guy a little bit about it. I will just do what I did today, which is every once in a while, give it a shot of leaf blower air.

    On the induction stove, it takes about 20 minutes to take cold water to a boil, just assuming sap would take a similar amount of time to boil, so if I was to dump the sap into one of the pans after 20 minutes, it would take me another 20 minutes to bring the next 10 quarts to a boil. Over the course of an hour, I would have brought to a boil 7.5 gallons of sap using the induction stove. That might meet all of my new sap requirements, but hopefully I will need a little more, which can come from my fifth pan.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2021
    Location
    Parry Sound Area, Ontario
    Posts
    297

    Default

    I spoke to the CDL guy about gaskets and ceramic fire blanket material. I had sent him pictures and told him what was going on.

    He was not concerned too much about the smoke that was initially coming out the sides of the pans. It did stop as the draft really got going. He said I had a really good boil going on and also he said cinder block evaporators should not be totally airtight.

    He did think I could use some fireproof material around the door and he had some that would be perfect for me.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2019
    Location
    Nashville, MI
    Posts
    490

    Default

    Gary, We a sugar makers always keep in mind that no matter how well things are going you are always 10 seconds aay from disaster at any time you are boiling sap. That is why it is so important to be there watching everything when you are boiling. It's that short time when you may step away that something could happen and then it could just steam roll on you.
    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

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2021
    Location
    Parry Sound Area, Ontario
    Posts
    297

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Pdiamond View Post
    Gary, We a sugar makers always keep in mind that no matter how well things are going you are always 10 seconds aay from disaster at any time you are boiling sap. That is why it is so important to be there watching everything when you are boiling. It's that short time when you may step away that something could happen and then it could just steam roll on you.
    Thanks. On a very small scale, I had an appreciation for that today, when the one pan got low on water. I was standing beside them, but with all of the steam it was hard to see the level in that pan. I did catch it, but I made a mental note about being super watchful.

    One of my plans to help is that I will have all of the sap I plan to boil that day, in 5 gallon pails near the evaporator, (in snow banks) before I start the evaporator, to minimize any time away from the evaporator getting sap.

    I am doing everything I can to be prepared for my rookie season, but I do appreciate that there will many unexpected things happen and I will just have to deal with them and learn from them. The first boil, finish and bottling will be very exciting, with lots to learn. The second boil, finish and bottling will be very exciting, with lots to learn. The third …..

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Southern Ohio
    Posts
    1,155

    Default

    My 2 cents. Keep the air going on the fire and stoke it up. There is basically no such thing as too hot. Being a block arch that may not be totally true though. I'd consider some arch board over the block on the sides. The picture with your stack shows dark smoke coming out, that is incomplete combustion. When your fire is ripping there should no smoke only heat waves.

    When your adding sap, don't add a bunch just dip a little in every once in a while. That way you keep your boil going more. If you can rig a trickle feed it would help. That's how float boxes work, they allow what is steamig off to slowly work into the pan, so you mainntain a boil.

    If you burn your fire hot with the blower your blocks will be destroyed by season's end. Cinder blocks were never meant for high heat.
    125-150 taps
    Smokey Lakes Full pint Hybrid pan
    Modified half pint arch
    Air over fire
    All 3/16 tubing
    Southern Ohio

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    UVM Proctor Maple Research Center, Underhill Ctr, VT
    Posts
    5,713

    Default

    1. Using brick or fireboard, add a small section of ramp to the end nearest the stovepipe to help direct the exhaust/air upward instead of hitting the flat back of the arch and scattering around and coming out everywhere.
    2. Adding air is good, as long as you do #1. Maybe you're adding too much for your current setup. Can you throttle back a little?
    3. Pan gasket between your pans and arch will help quite a bit. If you're getting too much air leakage from between your block, a little fireboard should help.

    Realistically, you could do those things...or just grab your chair and a beer and use up more wood and time. At some point you need to either relax and enjoy boiling, or you'll end up convincing yourself you need a real evaporator. So your choice becomes spend it in beer or spend it on an evaporator.
    Dr. Tim Perkins
    UVM Proctor Maple Research Ctr
    http://www.uvm.edu/~pmrc
    https://mapleresearch.org
    Timothy.Perkins@uvm.edu

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2016
    Location
    Peru, Maine
    Posts
    791

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by DrTimPerkins View Post

    Realistically, you could do those things...or just grab your chair and a beer and use up more wood and time. At some point you need to either relax and enjoy boiling, or you'll end up convincing yourself you need a real evaporator. So your choice becomes spend it in beer or spend it on an evaporator.
    Conversely, when we upgraded our evaporator it made drinking beer easier. Went from wood to oil so boiling is kind of boring (not complaining- that's what it is when things are going good). So, I've managed to spend money on the evaporator and increase my beer consumption. Perhaps the time saved in boiling offsets some of the beers. In any event, at the hobbyist level I'm convinced making syrup is for two type of people:
    1) The frugal type that likes to invent and make their own evaporators, RO's and efficiency improvements then watch them work.
    2) The type that likes to spend money on shiny stainless things.
    270 taps on 2 Shurflo's, 31 taps on 3/16" and 120 taps on gravity. 421 total for 2021 season.
    Mountain Maple S3 controller for 145 of the vacuum taps
    2x6 Darveau Mystique Oil Fired Evaporator w/ Smoky Lake Simplicity Auto Draw
    Wesfab 7” filter press
    IBC totes in the woods, 800 Gallon CDL bulk tank at the shack

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2021
    Location
    Parry Sound Area, Ontario
    Posts
    297

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by buckeye gold View Post
    The picture with your stack shows dark smoke coming out, that is incomplete combustion. When your fire is ripping there should no smoke only heat waves.
    .
    Thanks, I will watch what comes out of the stack. I have to smile at myself though, I had to search through a bunch of pictures to find one with visible smoke coming out, to show the draft was working. Almost all of the time it was either just heat waves or light smoke.

    I do not want to destroy my cinderblocks, so I will stick with my 15 second shot of air every five minutes or so, about a minute or so of adding more wood.

    Thanks

    Gary

+ Reply to Thread
Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts