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Thread: My new evaporator

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Oneida NY
    Posts
    11,614

    Default My new evaporator

    As I cut down on the number of taps, I sold my 3x8 wood fired evaporator and I bought a new 2x6 evaporator. I got it made by A&A Metal shop in Monterey, Va. I just picked it up this past Wednesday. Quite a drive to say the least, just over 1000 miles round trip. All went well on the way down on Tuesday until a huge downpour hit. We (my brother in law and me) decided to stop rather that continue the next 2 hrs driving we had planned. Wednesday we got up, had breakfast and were on the road before 7:00 a.m. All went well until the GPS took us off rt 81. Soon after that we were taken on a road from H#ll. We were in extreme mountains and the road was up/down, hairpin turn all the rest of the way. Most areas the road was wide enough to pass any oncomming traffic only if both slowed way down. Much of the time there was no guardrail and as I looked out the passenger window the slope was likely 75-85% drop and bottom looked as if it was 700-950' down. Not my kind of road. I think about 45 miles of that took us over 2 hrs. Once we got to Monterey, in town it was OK. We got to the road to A&A Metal shop, it was a 2 track driveway, up a hill a few hundred feet. We had expected to arrive aqbout 9:00, we got there at 10:10. Then we loaded the order. I got a 2x6 wood fired raised flue evaporator, a 2x6 hood, a 100 gal head tank, a 20 gal draw off tank on a stand and 18' of stack counting the base stack. It came with the fire brick and 1" ceramic blanket insulation, all the gaskets, seals and valves. Also enough fire bricks to put in the firebox. The stack was longer because I have 10' walls and a 6/12 pitch roof and the stack goes up near the cupola which adds another 30" in height.
    While I'd guessed before hand that loading would take about an hour, it took slightly over 2 hrs, trying to protect everything from damage and strapping everything to hold it in place, it took over 2 hrs. We were in an extended cab 3/4 ton with a 6.5 x 10 trailer. # stack plus the base stack (all 4' each except 1 at 2' long) fit in the rear seat. The hood and the flue pan rode in the bed of the truch with a pad between them and another stack under the hood. The arch, firebricks in 2 boxes, the 100 gal head tank and the draw off tank (20 gal) and a box of ceramic insulation rode in the trailer with a spare trailer tire just in case.
    We then asked if there was a better route, he sent us on rt 220, which ran from town (and points southward) north. It was better from the part where the road dropped off the side by way too many feet, but it was considerably longer. At one point rt 220 turned rt over a river but the GPS took us straight and then onto one winding road after another until several miles later we passed the rt 220 running into the rt we were on. We don't know if there was a valid reason to go off rt 220 or maybe just a way to burn time and fuel. Finally we were coming close to Winchester, Va. We hit stop and go (but mostly stop) traffic, it took us 45 minutes to get to rt 81N in a 4.5 mile distance. Once we got onto 81N we thought the traffic jams were mostly over, WRONG, we hit 3 more traffic jams of 4-7 miles each and taking 40-90 minutes each. I had planned one more stop, to pick up a Surge SP11 vacuum pump in Spring Glen, Pa, as we got off 81 to head there, another traffic jam. I finally called the person I was buying the vacuum pump from, talked to his answering machine and said I'd reschedule later. We got back on 81N and headed home. Shortly north of Scranton, Pa 2 cars passed us at well over 100 mph, followed by about 16-20 police cars. Once in NY, about mile marker 27.6 I think we saw one of the cars, upside down in the median. No sign of the second car. Two police cars were still there. In th end, I got home at 11:58 PM, having been on the road since a little before 7 that morning.
    I suggested we check into a motel again, but my brother in law wanted to continue homeward so we did.
    The next day, Thursday, we waited until early fternoon to unload at the sugarhouse. It seems all faired ok, only one little spot whare on the 100 gal tank it had shifted enough so the side got a very slight brush mark where it rubbed against the corner of a fire brick, very minor. If I try I might be able to polish it out, I doubt I'll try. Nothing broken nor damaged (except the brush mark).
    If I ever need to go back I might want to plan a 3 day trip or line up a helicopter. I'm glad to be back in my home town, no accidents and no hidden expenses. In fact I'd planned to eat at the Hotel for breakfast (continental breakfast) , stop for lunch, then a nice dinner each evening. My brother in law never wanted to stop for lunch, but we ate both nights at A Cracker Barrel. Both times were very good. I was looking for either a Cracker Barrel or Golden Corral, we never found one closes enough to where we were.
    I'm pleased with the 2x6 evaporator but wish I'd requested a round bottom head tank (but square corners will work). The vaporator is soldered which I knew when I ordered. I had a Leader 2x6 lead free for 3 seasons before I got the 3x8 I used for many years. When I got the 3x8 it was soldered too, but about 3 yrs later I ordered a new evaporator to use on the same arch, it was tig welded. On that I changed from 3x6 raised flue pan with 7" flues to a 3x5 raised flue with 10" flues. My new2x6 has a 4' raised flue pan with 8" flues. Enough for this long post!
    Dave Klish, I recently ordered a 2x6 wood fired evaporator from A&A Sheet Metal which I will be converting to oil fired
    Now have solar, 2x6 finish pan, 5 bank 7x7 filter press, large water jacketed bottler, and tankless water heater.
    Recently bought another Gingerich RO, this one was a 125, but a second membrane was added thus is a 250, like I had.
    After running a 2x3, a 2x6, 3x8 tapping from 79 taps up to 1320 all woodfired, now I'm going to a 2x6 oil fired and a 200-425 taps.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    New Hartford, N.Y.
    Posts
    2,101

    Default

    Wow, Dave. I had to stop midway through reading this post and take a nap. Anyway, congrats on the new rig! And I'm glad to hear you were not caught up in and/or taken out by any of the car chase participants. Hopefully, nobody else was either.

    I bought a new canner this spring, but sadly, my ride to get it was not nearly as exciting as your road trip!

    Steve
    2014 Upgrades!: 24x40 sugarhouse & 30"x10' Lapierre welded pans, wood fired w/ forced draft, homemade hood & preheater
    400 taps- half on gravity 5/16, half on gravity 3/16
    Airablo R.O. machine - in the house basement!
    Ford F-350 4x4 sap gatherer
    An assortment of barrels, cage tanks & bulk tanks- with one operational for cooling/holding concentrate
    And a few puzzled neighbors...

    http://s606.photobucket.com/albums/t...uckethead1920/

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Oneida NY
    Posts
    11,614

    Default

    Steve, I'm sorry for the long story. We didn't get caught up with those high speed cars nor the police chasing them. I don't know the results, but the one car we saw in the median was on it's roof, it was well after dark and we don't know the condition of the driver or any passengers. By the time we paqssed the scene only 2 police cars were still there, no ambulances or worse.
    An adventure for sure, the way down was OK, the final leg down and the whole trip back not so fine. I hope I never need to go back, or if I do, I'll plan 3 days driving not 2.
    Actually, it wouldn't have been as bad if the downpour didn't make us decide to stop 2 hrs early, we could have used those 2 hours on day 2.
    Dave Klish, I recently ordered a 2x6 wood fired evaporator from A&A Sheet Metal which I will be converting to oil fired
    Now have solar, 2x6 finish pan, 5 bank 7x7 filter press, large water jacketed bottler, and tankless water heater.
    Recently bought another Gingerich RO, this one was a 125, but a second membrane was added thus is a 250, like I had.
    After running a 2x3, a 2x6, 3x8 tapping from 79 taps up to 1320 all woodfired, now I'm going to a 2x6 oil fired and a 200-425 taps.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    Wardensville, Wv
    Posts
    328

    Default

    You drove right by me, there are no straight roads in WV, rt220 is considered a decent drive, not fast, decent. Also lots of places back in the sticks where cell phones don't work, especially if you have Verizon. Do you recall what road you used to get from 220 to 81? I know you can get from Franklin to Harrisonburg via 33, further north you can take 48/55 from Moorefield to Winchester(this way takes you through Wardensville where we are located). I was under the impression that A&A was in PA. Do you have any contact information, or price list for equipment? That is by far the closest manufacture of maple equipment to me. I have driven almost to the Canadian border for equipment! Glad to hear you made it back in one piece
    2024 - 57 Gallons - Short season, many and varied problems remedied in short order! - No buckets!
    2023 - 38 Gallons - RO broke, Buckets didn't run, rebuilt vacuum pump mid-season, still made good syrup!
    2022 - 52 Gallons - DIY RO, 50% less fuel, no late nights in the shack!
    2021 - 48 Gallons - new pans, new arch, lots of new taps and tubing
    2020 - 32 Gallons
    2019 - 27 Gallons

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Oneida NY
    Posts
    11,614

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    I only recall that as rt 220 turned about 90 degrees right, acroass a wide but shallow river, we went straight. At the end of that road we turned Rt then a ways later about a 45 degree left onto a rd named after a schoolhouse, don't recall that name. After that rd I think we came to a rt turn onto a bigger road, and before the intersection, maybe a mile back we could see the 4 lane road across the valley. It was shortly after that when we passed the rt 220 intersection. I don't know if I recalled enough for you to figure out where we were. On that portion of the trip I don't recall losing GPS a lot, but we did lose it a few times. I think that 4 lane was as we got near to rt 81N and at 4.6 miles away was where the first traffic jam stopped us but I'm a little foggy to be honest.
    On our approach to Monterey, we did lose GPS and likely all cell service, but we were too busy watching the road and were well aware of the huge drop off on the passenger side of the vehicle. On that road, once we got to where the road became more typical we were less than 2 miles I think, from rt 220 and the center of town.
    I agree that rt 220 was by far better, just not ideal.
    I will say that A&A was an educational place. A&A was bought out by an Amishman and he was working solo, I didn't ask if he has help at times. I suppose it's possible he had a son or more in school, all I saw was him, his wife tending to her chores and a young daughter.
    Last edited by maple flats; 05-14-2024 at 08:19 PM.
    Dave Klish, I recently ordered a 2x6 wood fired evaporator from A&A Sheet Metal which I will be converting to oil fired
    Now have solar, 2x6 finish pan, 5 bank 7x7 filter press, large water jacketed bottler, and tankless water heater.
    Recently bought another Gingerich RO, this one was a 125, but a second membrane was added thus is a 250, like I had.
    After running a 2x3, a 2x6, 3x8 tapping from 79 taps up to 1320 all woodfired, now I'm going to a 2x6 oil fired and a 200-425 taps.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2015
    Location
    Warren, MA
    Posts
    260

    Default

    Glad you made it back safely. Congrats on the new rig! You said you were converting it to oil-fired; couldn't you have bought it that way?
    2016 - 2 x 4 Randy Worthen built arch and pans 11 taps; 2.625 gallons of syrup!
    2017 - 29 taps; 11.625 gallons of syrup!
    2018 - 30 taps; 98 pints bottled! New sugar house being built, new equipment coming!
    2019 - 125 taps; 50 gallons made! New 2x6 Smoky Lake Corsair arch, drop flue pan, auto draw. Smoky Lake filter press and Steam Bottler
    2020 - 173 taps; only 35 gallons made.
    2021 - 242 taps; New record! 50.5 gallons made!
    2022 - 321 taps; New record! 80 gallons made!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Oneida NY
    Posts
    11,614

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    I tried, but A&A doesn't do oil fired and A&A has a considerably lower price that converting it will still be a few $1000 under what the ones who do sell oil fired charge. Besides, I've even made arrangements (with my brother who recently bought a processor that mounts on his JCB skidsteer) to get my wood processed into a 4 way or 6 way split if I decide I'll need to go wood fired for one season before converting. I still have about 1/3 what I'd need to burn wood and I have more than enough standing dead ash to make up what I'm short. I would still need to resplit the pieces to have wrist size but handling wood in easily handled size pieces into wrist size is quick and easy with my Super Split. I'll decide that be mid July to early Aug. That's long enough to dry dead ash for the 2025 season. I'll need to come up with the oil gun an oil tank (however I do have a 150 gal tank I'm not using, I could use that, but I'd rather get a 275 gallon tank. I'm just trying to cover all bases. Since I sold my blueberry fields I can't count on cash from blueberry sales and I refuse to use the proceeds from that sale, It's already invested and I refuse to touch it. So if I don't magically find an oil burner and tank I can go with wood for 1 season. I'd also need to get enough $ to get either tank filled. Consevatively my calculations say I could quite a bit of syrup on 150 gal of oil if I RO it to 8%, and I hope to get between 10-12% concentrate.
    Anyone with a sharper mind than mine has become in recent years see an issue with my math? I used the rule of 86 (now 88) and made a gal of syrup from every 11 gal of 8% concentrate, 10-12% will be a bonus. The oil , if I only use the 150 gal tank I have should thus make 60 gal if I avg .3 gpt on 200 taps and 75 gal if I get .35 gpt on 250 taps. If I can get ,4 gpt on 200 taps I could get 80 gal of syrup from 200 taps and if 250 taps at .4 gpt on 250 taps 100 gal of syrup. That's about my long term average, between .35 and .4 gpt. Just to be on the safe side I could do 300 taps in 2025, then add another 125 in 2026 to reach my theoretical max based on my old inventory from 5-6 yrs ago on what my max taps possible were. I also have a neighbor who has 2 rows of maples, mostly sugars 1 row about 2' over the line and another about 12', maybe 14' on their side of the line. Each row has about 15-18 trees. I haven't asked yet, but I have sent sugar over there for her horse several times in the last 20 years (not all the same horse). That could add more taps fairly quickley. All of those trees are 1 tap size, each about 40-45 yrs old. In fact I think there might be 3 or 4 rows of the planted trees, most of which her father planted dug from my woods and their's. And being planted in straight lines they would be easy to set up. I also let her dump all of the horses manure in a pile on my land. I then turn the pile a few times each year and my wife uses the composted manure, a win win in my book.
    The tenative 425 max tap count does not count the trees on the neighbors side, those could bring the count up even higher with no hauling of sap like I used to do years ago, I would however need to make 1 sap ladder to give the neighbor access to my land so she could continue dumping the horse manure on my land, in fact that sap ladder would only need to be 4-5' lift.
    Dave Klish, I recently ordered a 2x6 wood fired evaporator from A&A Sheet Metal which I will be converting to oil fired
    Now have solar, 2x6 finish pan, 5 bank 7x7 filter press, large water jacketed bottler, and tankless water heater.
    Recently bought another Gingerich RO, this one was a 125, but a second membrane was added thus is a 250, like I had.
    After running a 2x3, a 2x6, 3x8 tapping from 79 taps up to 1320 all woodfired, now I'm going to a 2x6 oil fired and a 200-425 taps.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2019
    Location
    Nashville, MI
    Posts
    948

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    Sounds to me like you have a great game plan already Dave, way to go. Looking forward to hearing how your season progresses next year.
    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 ga.l syrup
    2021 - Didn't work out
    2022 - 25 taps on bags / 8 taps on 3/16's line - late start

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