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Thread: What’s the best piece of advice you were given when you started?

  1. #11
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    upstate N.Y.
    Posts
    183

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    I read it here, if you work full time keep the boiling to 60 hours per season.
    2.5X10 HE
    600 RO
    Vac

  2. #12
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Bellingham,Ma
    Posts
    86

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    Best advice I got was
    " don't reinvent the wheel - they've already done it"
    2 x 6 W F Mason arch, Leader WSE AUF drop flue pans
    40 taps 2009-
    New 16 x 16 sugar shack 2010
    180 taps 2012 -
    200 taps 2013 -
    220 taps 2014 -
    250 taps 2015 -
    shurflo pump 2016 -
    new mainlines and saddles 300 taps 2017-
    added Deer Run 125 RO, filter press and CDL water jacket canning unit in 2019
    Bombardier 400
    BX 22 Kubota
    2020 is our 25th year making the " nectar of the gods"
    Just a hobby

  3. #13
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Walpole, NH
    Posts
    1,189

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    I don’t have any advice that I was given as I am at least 3rd generation sugarmaker and grew up making syrup. Advice I would give a new sugar maker is New and Shiny doesn’t make great syrup, attention to details and hard work does. Don’t spend more on equipment than you can afford, because great syrup can be made on old, dull equipment.
    Sugaring for 45+ years
    New Sugarhouse 14'x32'
    New to Me Algier 2'x8' wood fired evaporator
    225 Sugar Maples Currently,(105 on 3/16" and 110 on Shurflo 4008 vacuum, 10 gravity), (16,000 before being disabled)
    1947 Farmall H and Wagon with gathering tank
    2012 Kubota with forks to move wood around

  4. #14
    Join Date
    Mar 2017
    Location
    Granville, PA
    Posts
    358

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    Best advice I have been given is from Snooky. Actually he was being specific about when I had ordered my first RO and we talked about how there would be an incident that would be inevitable where I would need to be drawings of syrup and the RO would need attended to so I should consider getting an auto-drawoff. I have thought about that conversation frequently. In essence he was saying that "every action has an equal and opposite reaction" (Sir Issac Newton) so before you do anything, think about every aspect that may change as a result.

    Thanks Paddy Mountain. Good advice.
    Last edited by minehart gap; 12-26-2020 at 08:12 PM.
    Matt,
    Minehart Gap Maple

  5. #15
    Join Date
    Feb 2017
    Location
    Central Wisconsin
    Posts
    401

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    The best advice I received was to buy or make an RO. Cut evaporating and wood cutting time in 1\2. I'm a 40 gallon producer with a flat pan.
    1960 - 1970s 70 taps on galvanized buckets with Dad and Grandpa.
    1970s - 1985 Acted crazy!
    1986 - 2005 20-30 buckets.
    2006- 2017 70 buckets and bags
    2017-2019 100 bags and buckets
    2020 Finally retired!!! 75 buckets, 50-75 on tubing. RO Bucket, New 12 X 16 Shack and a 36X42 flat pan.
    2021-Adding another 125 taps along with a second RO bucket.
    Lots of Family and Friends and a dog named Skyy!

  6. #16
    Join Date
    Dec 2015
    Location
    Tennessee
    Posts
    179

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    Some of the best advice was when I was advised to take advice!!

    Don't blow shavings out with your mouth , use a wire or twig.

    Chunk that ice out and don't worry about the drops of sugar it may have , its mostly all frozen water!!

  7. #17
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Albion PA
    Posts
    5,045

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    This is one to ponder a little?
    After making syrup on and off for 60 years it seems like there should have been some advice given. Lets see?
    - Learn how to read when syrup is finished coming off of a ladle.
    - At any time during a full boil your only 15 seconds from disaster.
    - Always have that Aaah S**T bucket near the evaporator during a boil.
    - Don't leave your boiling evaporator unattended.
    - A automatic draw off is like having another person in the sugarhouse with you.
    - Learn more about making syrup each year.
    - Accept advice from other syrup producers.
    - Have your wood dry and ready.
    - Keep your wood the right size and your fire hot.
    - Have your defoamer ready when you start the fire.
    - Watch you depth of sap in your entire rig. 1.5 inches is good.
    - Keep your operation in balance, tap count with boiling time.
    - Teach and mentor others in maple syrup production.
    - Find ways to reduce your labor.
    - Continue to have fun making syrup.

    Regards,
    Chris
    Last edited by Sugarmaker; 01-19-2021 at 05:25 PM.
    Casbohm Maple and Honey
    600 roadside taps
    3x10 King, WRU, AOF and AUF
    12" SIRO Filter Press.
    2015 Ford F250 PSD sap hauler
    One Golden named Maggie Cat named Lucy
    Too many Cub Cadets
    Ford Jubilee and several Allis WD's, and IH tractors

    www.mapleandhoney.com

  8. #18
    Join Date
    Feb 2016
    Location
    Peru, Maine
    Posts
    782

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    Whether you’re a hobby guy or have 100,000 taps, if you care about production then “the woods is where you make it or break it” is the best advice I received.
    This really got me researching and eventually working in a large bush for the experience and knowledge to set up our own groves correctly. We have completed new installs on 2 of 3 areas and will complete it next year. This site has been an amazing help. We all love hanging around the sugar house in March making syrup but it’s the woods that got you there.
    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

  9. #19
    Join Date
    Jan 2018
    Location
    OH
    Posts
    166

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    I'd suggest you decide how much money you want to spend on this hobby before you start. You can go cheap and inefficient and store your syrup in mason jars, or you can go nuts and buy expensive an RO, evaporator, filter, and bottling equipment.

    It would cost me a lot less to go buy syrup for $5.99 a bottle at Aldi vs what I've spent, but I decided (after starting) that I'd dump whatever is necessary into my hobby.
    2021: 28 taps. 18"x36" flat pan and dual natural gas burners.
    2020: 31 taps. 3 full size steam table pans on a custom 6x water heater natural gas burner setup.
    2019: 31 taps on silvers. Back porch gas cook top with 2 full size steam table pans. An amazing 14.9 gallons in my backyard!
    2018: 22 taps on 9 silvers. Propane turkey fryer and full size steam table pan on electric stove. I made 4.25 gallons in my backyard!

  10. #20
    Join Date
    Jan 2020
    Location
    Stirling ontario
    Posts
    177

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    With common sense you can make money...maybe not a lot unless you go big.
    But how much money do you make golfing or fishing or whatever?

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