Little Creek Maple Farm

Our adventures around the homestead.

Sugaring 2013 – Test Boil, Part 1

Last weekend I finally had enough sap to boil, so I had to get my act together and finish setting up the WF Mason 2×3 Hobby Evaporator.  I had previously bricked up the evaporator and calibrated my syrup pan thermometer, so now all that’s left was to install the smoke stack, set the pans in place and do a test boil.

I am boiling outside so I went with standard 6” black stove pipe that can be found at Lowe’s or any other home center.  I picked up a 6” 90-degree elbow for $9.48, (3) 2’-0” sections of 6” black stove pipe for $9.98 each, a rain cap for $10.28, and a 12-pack of self tapping stove pipe screws for $1.98.   For a total of $51.68 I had all the parts and pieces ready to go.

I started by slipping the elbow over the steel collar of the evaporator.  I needed to gently tap around the circumference of the collar on the evaporator several times in order to get it small enough to wedge the elbow on over the collar.  This was the second hardest part of the process.  The hardest part was snapping together the sections of 24” stove pipe along the seams.  I am not sure what gauge metal these where but this was a royal pain.  The basic process is to press both sides of the seam together making almost a heart while trying to get one end of the locking seam started.  This was a bear to do, but once you get the seam locked now you have to squish your now oval stove pipe back into a circular shape.  I am sure there is an easier way to do this but it was lost on me.

After assembling all of the stove pipe, I proceeded to slip on the first section onto the crimped end of the elbow.  I found it easier to force the elbow onto the collar of the evaporator a little bit more by articulating the 90-degree elbow to 180-degrees and inserting the first section of 24” stove pipe.  For whatever reason I was able to get more leverage when pushing in a straight line towards the evaporator and got the elbow a good 3/4” onto the collar.  I then swiveled the elbow back to 90 degrees to check the angle of the smoke stack.  Right away I could tell I was going to have an issue stabilizing the stack because of the stack’s weight and the swiveling of the elbow joints so I was on the search for a quick solution to stabilize the stack with materials I had on hand.

Smoke stack & First Boil 2013 2013-02-16 001

I grabbed my bean trellis to use as a sturdy frame and found that two metal sections of my roof rake would be just the right size and length and had some nice predrilled holes at both ends to act as sturdy fire resistant angle braces to stabilize the stack.  With a plan in mind I dry fit the next two section of stove pipe and rain cap on the ground and then set them in place on top of the first section.

Smoke stack & First Boil 2013 2013-02-16 005

I then attached the pipe to the bean trellis angling them back to the stack to brace the stack laterally as well as helping to pick up some of the weight of the stack itself which wants to fall back away from the evaporator.  I simply wired up the stack to the two pipe stabilizers and then screwed the stack together with stove pipe screws using 3 screws equally spaced around the circumference of the stove pipe at each section.

Smoke stack & First Boil 2013 2013-02-16 007

Next it was time to set-up the pans…

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February 19, 2013 - Posted by | Sugaring | , , , , , ,

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