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Thread: Switching from steam pans to divided - help with evap modifications

  1. #1
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    Default Switching from steam pans to divided - help with evap modifications

    Good morning. I'm switching from steam pans on my homemade evaporator to a divided pan. The steam pans were 6" deep and sat down in the evaporator (scorched pan sides). Now, I've got a 14" x 48" pan with float box being made to put on my evaporator with a 12" x 48" opening. My stove pipe is 6" dia.

    My questions are:
    1. How much higher do I need to raise the fire grate?
    2. I will also need to get more heat/flames/hot gas against the bottom of pan, so could I just put a couple baffles on ramp of arch to force up against bottom of pan, or should I just raise the entire bottom of ramp/arch closer to pan bottom?
    3. If stove pipe is 6" diameter (28.25 square inches), how much space/area should there optimally be between bottom of arch and bottom of pan? More or less than exhaust pipe area?

    Thanks for any advice/suggestions.
    evaporator.jpgfirebox.jpgfront of ramp.jpgstove pipe outlet.jpg
    2020 - 1st year - 13 black walnut taps - 4 bottles syrup
    2021 - 50 taps, 22 black walnuts/28 red maples - 4 gallons syrup
    2022 - 53 taps, 11 black walnuts/42 reds, 20 on vacuum

  2. #2
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    chester, ma
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    Quote Originally Posted by Openwater View Post

    My questions are:
    1. How much higher do I need to raise the fire grate?
    If it was working well before I would just raise the grate 6 inches so the fire is the same distance from your pan.

    2. I will also need to get more heat/flames/hot gas against the bottom of pan, so could I just put a couple baffles on ramp of arch to force up against bottom of pan, or should I just raise the entire bottom of ramp/arch closer to pan bottom?
    Again, I would raise the whole thing 6 inches. You could just fill with vermiculite or something and then put firebrick on top of that.

    3. If stove pipe is 6" diameter (28.25 square inches), how much space/area should there optimally be between bottom of arch and bottom of pan? More or less than exhaust pipe area?
    I guess you would want to ramp up to the same area as your stovepipe, so about 2 1/2 inches.

    GO
    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
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    "Again, I would raise the whole thing 6 inches. You could just fill with vermiculite or something and then put firebrick on top of that."

    I'm trying to keep the arch as light as possible. Would the vermiculite be the lightest filler to use? Could I also just lay a piece of cement board on top of the filler instead of firebrick?
    2020 - 1st year - 13 black walnut taps - 4 bottles syrup
    2021 - 50 taps, 22 black walnuts/28 red maples - 4 gallons syrup
    2022 - 53 taps, 11 black walnuts/42 reds, 20 on vacuum

  4. #4
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    Vermiculite is feather light. If you don't want to lay brick on top of it, it's okay to lay cement board on top. The up-side to either of those routes is you can adjust your distance to the bottom of the pan very easily and quickly.

    Even lighter still would be a thin layer of refractory cement misted with water so that it hardens in place. It will eventually crack, but you are just looking for something to hold the vermiculite in place. The down-side to that route is adjusting the distance to the bottom of the pan is uneven and messy.
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  5. #5
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    Thanks. I'll try the vermiculite and cement board to raise up the arch bottom. Probably will line sides with ceramic blanket or mineral wool - any practical significant difference between these for just putting in sides of arch?
    2020 - 1st year - 13 black walnut taps - 4 bottles syrup
    2021 - 50 taps, 22 black walnuts/28 red maples - 4 gallons syrup
    2022 - 53 taps, 11 black walnuts/42 reds, 20 on vacuum

  6. #6
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    Nashville, MI
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    MY suggestion is to raise it up to within an inch of the bottom of the pan then about 4 inches in front of your chimney vent drop it back down. That may help create turbulence and keep some of the escaping gasses under the pan longer before going out the flue and up the chimney.
    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

  7. #7
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    Thanks Pdiamond. That's kinda what I was getting at when I asked about setting baffles (bricks, etc) in the arch vs. raising the whole arch floor. I assumed adding just the baffles would create more turbulent airflow vs straight laminar air flow; wasn't sure which is best when trying to keep heat against the pans.
    Stove pipe cross-sectional area is 28 sq inches; if I raise the arch floor up to within 1" of pan, it would only give me about 14 sq inches of space for airflow. Any problems with having an airflow area under the pans smaller than the arch outlet/stovepipe? I don't have a damper in my stove pipe to restrict exhaust/smoke.
    2020 - 1st year - 13 black walnut taps - 4 bottles syrup
    2021 - 50 taps, 22 black walnuts/28 red maples - 4 gallons syrup
    2022 - 53 taps, 11 black walnuts/42 reds, 20 on vacuum

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2021
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    Parry Sound Area, Ontario
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pdiamond View Post
    MY suggestion is to raise it up to within an inch of the bottom of the pan then about 4 inches in front of your chimney vent drop it back down. That may help create turbulence and keep some of the escaping gasses under the pan longer before going out the flue and up the chimney.
    Sorry to jump into this thread, but your comment and Openwater’s above yours, made me think about my evaporator. The first four pans were boiling fine, but the fifth pan, (the preheat pan) only got hot. I had raised it so it would not block the stove pipe exit, but in doing so I also raised it higher above the gasses.

    My fire box is about 19” wide, if I added a brick that was 17” wide, 2 “ high, and 2” deep, at the door side of the start of the fifth pan, would that raise the gases up and create turbulence to add more heat to the fifth pan, but still allow the gasses to escape through the stovepipe, without dramatically affecting the draft?

    2ED21202-71B8-4CFB-B0AC-5ABD00236F62.jpg
    E677879C-C22C-4ACF-91B3-A50F06C25FCB.jpg
    Last edited by Swingpure; 10-24-2021 at 08:19 PM.

  9. #9
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    An evaporator is not like a wood burning stove. you do not want to put in a damper in your stove pipe. Yes you lose some heat, but you want that fire ripping to boil off the sap as quickly as possible. Consequently that is why it takes more wood to make syrup than to just heat up a space.
    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
    Apr 2019
    Location
    Nashville, MI
    Posts
    490

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    Gary, that would do the same thing.
    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

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