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Old January 10th, 2014, 10:37 AM
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Hi everyone. This is my first time posting anything on this site so here it goes. I will be starting the build of an oil drum arch and was going to build my own 2x5x10" pan. I was looking into 18 gauge ss. Is that to thick or just right? Also if I decide to put in some dividers should I go length wise? I will try to upload some pics when I start the build because I enjoy looking and learning from all your pics. Thanks!!!
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Old January 10th, 2014, 11:40 AM
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Welcome Fire Guy. Ask away on anything that comes to mind. I would ask what are your skills at welding. Thinner is better but if you don't have the skills then go thicker. I have two welders but NO ability to weld thin SS to the standards that others have. I say do what you can get done before the season starts. Sitting out a season because we say you should do this or that is folly. You will learn more from your first season on a set of homemade pans you designed and built than all the posts from now and your first tap. This wont be your last set of pans unless you absolutely hate making maple syrup...............Yea right like that will happen. Take some time on Youtube looking at what others have done. Make what you can afford and complete and get it done.
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Old January 10th, 2014, 06:53 PM
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Originally Posted by Fire guy View Post
Hi everyone. This is my first time posting anything on this site so here it goes. I will be starting the build of an oil drum arch and was going to build my own 2x5x10" pan. I was looking into 18 gauge ss. Is that to thick or just right? Also if I decide to put in some dividers should I go length wise? I will try to upload some pics when I start the build because I enjoy looking and learning from all your pics. Thanks!!!
Fire guy! Welcome to the whacky world of maple syrup makers. Haynes has given You some good info and has also helped me several times. LOL - I tasted maple syrup for the first time in my life when I was 45 and loved the stuff. A friend gave my Wife and I a batch pan to use and some instructions on how to make maple syrup about five years after my first taste. It has been a learning adventure. After Batch boiling for over fifteen years - My oldest Son asked if He and his Son could build me something more efficient. Why Heck Yes! - We all did a lot of digging for information about a basic continuous flow evaporator pan layout and how they work and it wasn't easy. I responded - As I have roughly what You are talking about building. My arch is a 250 gallon fuel oil tank - 2' wide 5' long. My pan (pans) are steel (stainless is better). Picture a flat bottom pan 2' x 5' with sides about 5" high. Now we divide this up into sections (We made some mistakes - but it works). We welded a divider side to side two ft. from the back - giving us a sap pan 2' x 2' and a syrup pan 2' x 3'. We welded a divider lengthwise in the sap pan giving us two sap sections 12" wide and 24" long. We welded two dividers lengthwise in the syrup pan - giving us three syrup sections 8" wide and 36" long. On paper figure out Your pan section layout and where your holes will be placed in your dividers so you will have a serpentine flow effect through your sections - starting in your first sap section where sap is added and ended in your last syrup section where almost syrup is drawn off. -----Have been using this rig for about four years and it is much faster then a batch pan. It is basic continuous flow with no float valve for adding sap or automatic drawoff valve for removing almost syrup. LOL I do it the old fashioned way - whew! Hey - I know You will have more questions and how a pan (pans) is-are laid out varies rig to rig. If I did it again I would make the sap pan as least as big as the syrup pan. But - Hey it works. Also - Don't be stupid like me ---- Your most important tool in maple syrup making is the Syrup Hydrometer - Buy one (2 or 3) right from the start and use them. Don't be shy about asking questions. Have Fun and make maple. ----Mike----
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Old January 10th, 2014, 08:16 PM
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Thanks mike. i just checked out your pics. I may copy your pan but make the sap section a little longer like you said if you think that would work better. I priced out a 4x8 sheet of ss today. wow! the 24 guage was a little under 200 but i am thinking that might be too thin for a rookie. as much as i would like to buy a ready made pan i also like to build stuff myself "and save a little money" its crunch time so i gotta get going!!
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Old January 27th, 2014, 10:21 PM
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Another quick question, should I put two or three dividers in the syrup section of the pan? And why?
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Old January 27th, 2014, 11:31 PM
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Having a 2X5 pan that is divided depends on you configuration. Because you are using the word syrup section I will assume the syrup/finish pan will be about 24" of the total 5'. So one diver is a must 2 would be nice. It helps by keeping the levels of concentrations separate. If the finish pan was one big un divided pan then you would be batch cooking. You don't want the incoming sap mixing with the almost finished syrup.

Think of sap as a bunch of ill mannered travelers showing up at the security screening area at the airport on Christmas eve. first choice is a big room full of people mulling around verses and room with rope lines so first one in is first one out without chaos. Yea people can climb over and under but mostly they follow the channels. I hope that helps
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Old January 28th, 2014, 09:01 AM
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Thanks mike. i just checked out your pics. I may copy your pan but make the sap section a little longer like you said if you think that would work better. I priced out a 4x8 sheet of ss today. wow! the 24 guage was a little under 200 but i am thinking that might be too thin for a rookie. as much as i would like to buy a ready made pan i also like to build stuff myself "and save a little money" its crunch time so i gotta get going!!
>>>>>>

You might want to look around. that price is way out of whack. at the end of December I picked up a 4x10, 24 gauge, b2, at Klien Steel for $82. That price included strapping it to a pallet and wrapped to protect it from the environment. Dane.
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Old January 28th, 2014, 11:09 AM
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Another quick question, should I put two or three dividers in the syrup section of the pan? And why?
Fire Guy - What Haynes said is true - Were I to do My 2' x 5' total pan today. The Sap area would be 2' wide by 3' long with one divider giving you two sap sections (each 12" x 36"). the Syrup Area would be 2' x 2' with two dividers giving you 3 syrup sections (each 8" x 24"). I already gave You the measurements on my 2' x 5' continuous flow - flat pan setup and it works fine as it is. But if I did it again - I would do it as I said above as I think it would work better. You don't want to have a section less than 8" wide as it is some time necessary to scoop things forward when leaving the pans sweet at the end of a boil with the isolation plugs or gates in or closed. ----Mike----
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Old January 30th, 2014, 08:38 PM
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Wow danE. That sounds cheeeeeap. I like that. I ended up scorning what I needed for freeeee! We'll I just have to make the guy the same size pan as me. No problem. I started the arch the other day. I will try to post some pics soon. Thanks for the help.
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Old April 3rd, 2014, 01:29 PM
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Ok so I had my first boil last night and I figured I was getting 10 to 12 gallons per hour evaporator rate. I have an AUF setup with a two by four continuous flow pan. Does that sound about right?
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