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Thread: Tapped in Chester... sorta

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2016
    Location
    chester, ma
    Posts
    705

    Default Tapped in Chester... sorta

    Not quite everything that could go wrong did. But...
    - On my fifth tap I broke my bit, and didn't have another
    - I somehow lost one of the spiles, and didn't bring a spare
    - Batteries for my drill started dying almost immediately

    So I still have a bunch of taps I haven't drilled yet, and I'm going to have to go back to drill deeper a bunch of the ones I've done (that are only like an inch deep - as far as I could get the dying drill to go). And you know that rule about how you're supposed to drill straight in and out only once? That went right out the window - was desperately trying to coax every mm out of the drill, with pulling the drill out of the hole, removing shavings, and putting it back in to get a little more depth, multiple times. I'm not sure if the batteries have reached the end of their life, or if it's just my fault for trying to charge them in an unheated garage (around 45 - 50 degrees).

    Gotta thank Paul Sena of Hickory Hill Farm (a LaPierre dealer listed on the site) for saving my bacon yesterday. I drove up to Worthington where he and his partner Dave had a bit for me.

    So I have to go dig out that bit and put a tap and bucket on that tree (I'll get whatever I get - there'll probably be a fair bit of leakage around the tap), finish drilling some of the short holes, and put in four more taps. Wouldn't be as big a deal, except my sugarbush is a two hour drive from my house!

    Seems like every year I mess something up. One year I somehow didn't have the lids for a bunch of buckets. One year I ran out of gas on my drive there. And nearly every year I forget to bring my keys to the cabin. Oh well, gotta have a sense of humor about it.

    At least my season has begun!

    Gabe
    Last edited by berkshires; 02-16-2022 at 12:32 PM.
    2016: Homemade arch from old wood stove; 2 steam tray pans; 6 taps; 1.1 gal
    2017: Same setup. 15 taps; 4.5 gal
    2018: Same setup. Limited time. 12 taps and short season; 2.2 gal
    2019: Very limited time. 7 taps and a short season; 1.8 gal
    2020: New Mason 2x3 XL halfway through season; 9 taps 2 gal
    2021: Same 2x3, 18 taps, 4.5 gal
    2022: 23 taps, 5.9 gal
    2023: 25 taps?
    All taps on buckets

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2020
    Location
    Springfield, MA
    Posts
    115

    Default

    But that's what make it an "adventure" Gabe! Glad things worked out for you. I'll e-mail you my number in case your in a spot again.
    2020 - 2 taps, 1/2 pint on a turkey fryer, About 3/4 pint syrup in two weeks - Proof of concept!
    2021 - 20 x 30 divided pan on a Mason arch, 34 taps and 8 gallons for family and friends to judge. Dad hooked as well.
    2022 - 8 x 14 sugarhouse and an electric steam bottler. 50 buckets!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    UVM Proctor Maple Research Center, Underhill Ctr, VT
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    Given the 2-hr drive, it might be worth starting a "tapping checklist" for things to bring/check the day before you hop in the vehicle to head to the woods.
    Dr. Tim Perkins
    UVM Proctor Maple Research Ctr
    http://www.uvm.edu/~pmrc
    https://mapleresearch.org
    Timothy.Perkins@uvm.edu

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2016
    Location
    chester, ma
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    Quote Originally Posted by DrTimPerkins View Post
    Given the 2-hr drive, it might be worth starting a "tapping checklist" for things to bring/check the day before you hop in the vehicle to head to the woods.
    Oh definitely! I did actually have one, and checked it twice! It was just stupid not to have spares of everything I needed. I only own one 5/16 bit. I'll certainly make sure I have a spare next year. And I have plenty of older spiles I could and should have brought with me, but didn't. That little blue spile is still out there in the woods buried in the snow! And I didn't bring my toolbox (or even other smaller bits I could use in the drill), so I had no way of extracting the broken bit.

    I did bring a second battery, because just bringing one would've been even stupiderer (I know it's not a word) than I usually am. But both of 'em were charged in the garage, and are the same vintage (only about 3 or four years old).

    So I had a checklist, and I brought everything on it. I just shoulda had more stuff on it! LOL

    GO
    2016: Homemade arch from old wood stove; 2 steam tray pans; 6 taps; 1.1 gal
    2017: Same setup. 15 taps; 4.5 gal
    2018: Same setup. Limited time. 12 taps and short season; 2.2 gal
    2019: Very limited time. 7 taps and a short season; 1.8 gal
    2020: New Mason 2x3 XL halfway through season; 9 taps 2 gal
    2021: Same 2x3, 18 taps, 4.5 gal
    2022: 23 taps, 5.9 gal
    2023: 25 taps?
    All taps on buckets

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2016
    Location
    chester, ma
    Posts
    705

    Default

    Drove up with my wife and four year old. Finished tapping, got the broken bit out, and had some fun with the family.

    Also collected 30 gallons from the 19 taps I put in last week. Not bad for a first run. Sap was running really well this afternoon. I expect to get another 30-40 gallons this week, and I'll try to do my first boil late this week before all the buckets freeze to big blocks of ice again.

    Gabe
    2016: Homemade arch from old wood stove; 2 steam tray pans; 6 taps; 1.1 gal
    2017: Same setup. 15 taps; 4.5 gal
    2018: Same setup. Limited time. 12 taps and short season; 2.2 gal
    2019: Very limited time. 7 taps and a short season; 1.8 gal
    2020: New Mason 2x3 XL halfway through season; 9 taps 2 gal
    2021: Same 2x3, 18 taps, 4.5 gal
    2022: 23 taps, 5.9 gal
    2023: 25 taps?
    All taps on buckets

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2016
    Location
    chester, ma
    Posts
    705

    Default

    Also did an experiment. My first "tubing run". It's actually just one big tree, but it would have been a royal pain to try to collect buckets from it on that slope. Two taps on it to a 3/16" line. Must be close to a fifteen foot vertical drop, so I hope a little vacuum may happen too.

    Here's a photo: https://photos.app.goo.gl/5vbBkrgaSfi8XDDbA

    Gabe
    2016: Homemade arch from old wood stove; 2 steam tray pans; 6 taps; 1.1 gal
    2017: Same setup. 15 taps; 4.5 gal
    2018: Same setup. Limited time. 12 taps and short season; 2.2 gal
    2019: Very limited time. 7 taps and a short season; 1.8 gal
    2020: New Mason 2x3 XL halfway through season; 9 taps 2 gal
    2021: Same 2x3, 18 taps, 4.5 gal
    2022: 23 taps, 5.9 gal
    2023: 25 taps?
    All taps on buckets

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    UVM Proctor Maple Research Center, Underhill Ctr, VT
    Posts
    6,074

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    Yup...that's one heck of a "dropline." If the run is good enough, you might see 10-12" Hg of vacuum on it.
    Dr. Tim Perkins
    UVM Proctor Maple Research Ctr
    http://www.uvm.edu/~pmrc
    https://mapleresearch.org
    Timothy.Perkins@uvm.edu

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2016
    Location
    chester, ma
    Posts
    705

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    Quote Originally Posted by DrTimPerkins View Post
    Yup...that's one heck of a "dropline." If the run is good enough, you might see 10-12" Hg of vacuum on it.
    I don't know what that amount of vacuum might do, but I hope it's enough to "suck" a little extra sap out. I've never tapped this tree before, because it would be such a pain to collect from, but I think it's the "big mama" that is the mother tree to all the sugar maples on this slope. It is much bigger, with a big crown. I expect to see high-brix sap from it.

    GO
    2016: Homemade arch from old wood stove; 2 steam tray pans; 6 taps; 1.1 gal
    2017: Same setup. 15 taps; 4.5 gal
    2018: Same setup. Limited time. 12 taps and short season; 2.2 gal
    2019: Very limited time. 7 taps and a short season; 1.8 gal
    2020: New Mason 2x3 XL halfway through season; 9 taps 2 gal
    2021: Same 2x3, 18 taps, 4.5 gal
    2022: 23 taps, 5.9 gal
    2023: 25 taps?
    All taps on buckets

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2016
    Location
    chester, ma
    Posts
    705

    Default

    When I collected on Monday, everything was frozen blocks, so I just threw them all in my 50 gall barrel and threw it in the shade. This crazy weather is such that if I wait until this weekend to boil, that 30 gallons I collected will be frozen again, and all the sap from this current run will be in frozen blocks too! So I'm taking tomorrow off work to boil. Sigh - mother nature has no respect for my work schedule. LOL

    Actually really looking forward to my first boil of the season. Just wish it could be on a weekend when my family could join me.

    GO
    2016: Homemade arch from old wood stove; 2 steam tray pans; 6 taps; 1.1 gal
    2017: Same setup. 15 taps; 4.5 gal
    2018: Same setup. Limited time. 12 taps and short season; 2.2 gal
    2019: Very limited time. 7 taps and a short season; 1.8 gal
    2020: New Mason 2x3 XL halfway through season; 9 taps 2 gal
    2021: Same 2x3, 18 taps, 4.5 gal
    2022: 23 taps, 5.9 gal
    2023: 25 taps?
    All taps on buckets

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2016
    Location
    chester, ma
    Posts
    705

    Default

    I let those blocks of ice melt as long as I could, until the next cold snap started, then I threw away the remaining ice. Netted me 12 gallons of "concentrate" from 29 gallons originally collected.

    I also got another 33 gallons from the latest run, of which I tossed ice from the buckets, giving me another 26 gallons of "concentrate".

    No idea what the brix level was on all that "concentrate", because it had too much ice in it to get a good reading. But it must've been pretty good. I put it all on the evaporator and did my first boil yesterday. Those 38 gallons of "concentrate" got me 2 draws, and was just starting a third when the sap ran out. So I netted a bit over two quarts of syrup, and have my evaporator all sweetened for the next run.

    GO
    2016: Homemade arch from old wood stove; 2 steam tray pans; 6 taps; 1.1 gal
    2017: Same setup. 15 taps; 4.5 gal
    2018: Same setup. Limited time. 12 taps and short season; 2.2 gal
    2019: Very limited time. 7 taps and a short season; 1.8 gal
    2020: New Mason 2x3 XL halfway through season; 9 taps 2 gal
    2021: Same 2x3, 18 taps, 4.5 gal
    2022: 23 taps, 5.9 gal
    2023: 25 taps?
    All taps on buckets

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