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Old November 3rd, 2016, 12:08 PM
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Default Can I get a Little Advice on a Evap. Build? (Curved Sides, Insulation, Exaust)

Hello all,
I am looking to get into maple syrup/sugar producing for my own consumption. Not as a hobby, I need to produce enough quickly enough to make it worth my time.

But have some general questions about a homebuilt wood powered evaporator.

I have started with a home oil tank, approximately 5'x4' (its a little less than 4', with a ~3' flat area).

I am thinking of using one half for the evaporator pan, and other to build a skirt around bottom (to build the arch).

Insulation: Been looking around, and it is looking like ceramic blanket is the most affordable. I think I should be able to line the outside of the arch with this. What do you think? But I am thinking squirrels would start nesting in that right away. How would you prevent that?

And what would you line the ground with. I am thinking it would be best to keep the fire up off the ground with some grating. But could I just put some loose perlite down over a bed of sand? Actually using firebrick seems mildly expensive (and as heat rises not as big of an issue). I have not looked at the price for this, but I am assuming this would beat firebrick in expense.

My father is retired from a boiler installation/repair/maintenance company so we can probably get a lot of this stuff wholesale. But at this point I am just looking online for prices and what is even available.

Curved Sides: The direct bottom is flat, but I would prefer to connect the skirt about half way up the curve on the two sides. I was warned about sap burning, but the angle is not extreme (it curves up quickly). Would you worry about this? Could this be countered by just pushing the fire into the middle (keeping the direct flames off of the sides) when the pan sap level is low?

Exhaust: Are the exhaust stacks really necessary? The size of this setup would probably require 2-3 stacks, the expense of which would add up. Smoke rises, I am outside (planning on being under a small leanto, open on all sides). Can I leave out the stacks, or maybe just use a small piece of tin to keep the smoke away for a foot or two?

Thank you for any and all suggestions.
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Old November 3rd, 2016, 12:39 PM
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Building an oil tank arch

You can start here, there is a lot of information in the home built section if you do a search.
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Old November 3rd, 2016, 12:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wisnoskij View Post
Hello all,
I am looking to get into maple syrup/sugar producing for my own consumption. Not as a hobby, I need to produce enough quickly enough to make it worth my time.

But have some general questions about a homebuilt wood powered evaporator.

I have started with a home oil tank, approximately 5'x4' (its a little less than 4', with a ~3' flat area).

I am thinking of using one half for the evaporator pan, and other to build a skirt around bottom (to build the arch).

Insulation: Been looking around, and it is looking like ceramic blanket is the most affordable. I think I should be able to line the outside of the arch with this. What do you think? But I am thinking squirrels would start nesting in that right away. How would you prevent that?

And what would you line the ground with. I am thinking it would be best to keep the fire up off the ground with some grating. But could I just put some loose perlite down over a bed of sand? Actually using firebrick seems mildly expensive (and as heat rises not as big of an issue). I have not looked at the price for this, but I am assuming this would beat firebrick in expense.

My father is retired from a boiler installation/repair/maintenance company so we can probably get a lot of this stuff wholesale. But at this point I am just looking online for prices and what is even available.

Curved Sides: The direct bottom is flat, but I would prefer to connect the skirt about half way up the curve on the two sides. I was warned about sap burning, but the angle is not extreme (it curves up quickly). Would you worry about this? Could this be countered by just pushing the fire into the middle (keeping the direct flames off of the sides) when the pan sap level is low?

Exhaust: Are the exhaust stacks really necessary? The size of this setup would probably require 2-3 stacks, the expense of which would add up. Smoke rises, I am outside (planning on being under a small leanto, open on all sides). Can I leave out the stacks, or maybe just use a small piece of tin to keep the smoke away for a foot or two?

Thank you for any and all suggestions.
First and foremost don't use the inside of the oil tank as a pan. Even if it was new I don't think I would consider it. Steel pans do work they just take more work. Rust is the biggest problem. Stainless pans are the industry standard. Remember your making a food here. So anything that at one time had contact with chemicals is out for storage, cooking, or canning. Basically if it comes in contact with sap or syrup. It should be food grade.
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Old December 18th, 2016, 03:58 PM
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We built an evaporator from a fuel oil barrel with a 2'x4' Smoky Lake drop flue hobby pan. We were pleased as to how well it worked,the first 2' is fire box with grate, firebrick lined where fire is and ceramic blanketed the rest of interior . Held ceramic blanket in place with expanded metal bolted through sides. We set it up with forced air draft, it burned so hot by end of season we totally melted the expanded metal , and warped the cast iron door all up. Making a new door and getting some stainless expanded metal to hold blanket in place. Other than those two things worked great. We figured we were boiling off 21 to 23 gallons of water per hour. We are in the process of building a 24'x16' shack, tapped 100 trees last year, ended up with 31gal of finished syrup, we may go for 200 this year. Will post some pics one of these days. Good luck !! I looked at many of the photos posted here of other homemade fuel oil barrel evaporators to get ideas for ours-- very helpful!!
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