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Old April 7th, 2014, 01:38 PM

Location: Dorset
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Default Construction Advice on Homemade Evaporator

Well I started boiling last week and I am always reminded that I need to invest time and money in to a evaporator system.

I am looking for help on building a new firebox and arch for my small hobby operation. I currently have a basic set up I built a few years ago 2ft wide x 4 ft long x 2ft tall out of 1/4 inch plate steel no fire bricks, no arch just basically a large fire box on legs and one homemade stainless pan 2ftx4ftx 6inches deep. It works, but i know it could be much better.

I only have about 25 taps but would like to get to about 50-75 eventually.

I am a good welder so that is not my challenge, my challenge is constructing and specifications. How large the firebox should be, what the angle of the arch should be and the size of the combustions chamber. Is ther a magic size for the fire box, arch, and venting/ chimney size? Any specs or help would be greatly apprieciated. Also if you have a better idea for my pan etc I am open and welcome comments.

Thanks for your help and this Forum is a great resource.
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Old April 7th, 2014, 01:45 PM
Oddmott's Avatar

Location: Golden Lake, Ontario
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Despite having just built an arch myself... i can offer no help, just encouragement. lol

I wasn't able to find a set of proven dimensions that unquestionably provided the most efficient evaporation.

All i can say after searching for months and months and months for more detailed information - to no avail - is just do it.

Nothing you build, that is larger than your existing evaporator is going to struggle with the sap yield from 75 taps.
- 48 taps & buckets
- 18"x30" pan
- A hand-me-down poorly built oiltank boiler

- 50 taps & buckets
- 25 5/16 taps & gravity lines
- 18" x 30" pan
- A rapidly deteriorating, poorly built, hand-me-down oiltank boiler

- 100 taps & buckets
- 50 5/16 taps & gravity lines
- Two handmade 2' x 3' SS pans
- Handmade 2' x 6' evaporator
- A new 20' x 22' sugar shack (roofed & floored, but otherwise unfinished)
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Old April 7th, 2014, 04:04 PM

Location: Dorset
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Thanks!! I am excited to build it I enjoy building it but don't like cutting things apart.
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Old April 7th, 2014, 06:51 PM
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Location: Pownal, VT
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I strongly suspect that if you merely extend it another 4-10 feet and add firebrick (in the firebox) and archboard or blanket (beyond that) you'll do just fine. You might perhaps make some provisions for air injection. You probably have all (or more than) the firebox you need right now - you just need some room to put the heat into pans.
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Old April 10th, 2014, 01:26 PM
mp4 mp4 is offline

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I did a fair bit of research too and gleaned a fair bit of information from this site.

This is what I learned:
  • Naturally vented fire box should be in the neighborhood of 25% of the arch
  • AOF fire boxes should be 1/3rd to 1/2 the size of the arch
  • One layer of fire blanket in the fire box covered up by fire brick is adequate.
  • Two layers of fire blanket everywhere else is good.
  • Ramp area under your pan should equal 1 1/2 to 2 times the area of your chimney
  • Naturally vented chimney should be twice as high as the length of your arch
  • Chimney height for AOF or forced draft isn't as critical
  • Grate should start at least 8" in from the door
  • Angle iron grates work good as long as the grate is faced to hold the ash which helps insulate the steel

In practice - I wish I had two layers of fire blanket on the fire door side of my fire brick. One layer is OK, but my door warped some and another layer of insulation would have helped prevent that.
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