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First time Sugar'n

Post in 'The Wood Shed' started by Stax, Feb 25, 2013.

  1. Stax

    Stax Minister of Fire

    Joined:
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    Welp, I've started. This is a very interesting hobby. First, I was so ancy waiting for my taps to arrive, I improvised. I used a 3/8 plastic T valve into reccommended 5/16 food safe tubing using 5 gallon food safe buckets from Wal-Mart. I originally tapped 2 large Silver Maple trees, 2 in one and 1 in the other. In the larger tree, I noticed that i was losing a lot of sap around the plastic T valve (my drilled hole was probably too large), so I pulled em out and drilled a larger hole the same size as my tubing and inserted the tubing. I know this isn't recommended but it seems to be catching more of the sap flow. I'm still losing a lot to the ground. After checking the 3, 5 gallon buckets I totaled just around 9 gallons of sap in just 24 hrs. Today, my real taps came in and I tapped the other tree that just had one tap in it. This time, I drilled my hole a little smaller than the tap, and gently tapped it into the drilled hole for a snug fit. This tap does not seem to be leaking around the tap. My gathered sap is in two buckets sitting atop ice in my beer cooler. I can't wait to check after work tomorrow as we should have good sugar'n weather into tomorrow.

    I want to thank Hearth.com Members for answering my questions and helping me as I learn a new hobby.
    Tap Pic 1.jpg Tap Pic 2.jpg Tap Pic 3.jpg Tap Pic 4.jpg Tap Pic 5.jpg Tap Pic 7.jpg

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  2. pen

    pen There are some who call me...mod. Staff Member

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    Love making maple syrup. Takes a lot of beer, but it's worth it.

    Wish our sap would start running.

    pen
    ScotO likes this.
  3. ScotO

    ScotO Guest

    I can smell that sap on the boil right now.......MMMMMMM....

    I see pancakes in your future, my friend!
    Thistle likes this.
  4. nate379

    nate379 Guest

    Normally able to do it this early? Was asking my brother (lives in Maine) and they still have another 3 weeks, maybe 4 till ready to start tapping trees.

    Weird to see no snow too. Another ~2 months here till it's spring.
  5. Jeff S

    Jeff S Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2008
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    Loc:
    Kimball,Michigan
    Since I make syrup on a hobby basis I don't mind dealing with the small sap runs associated with tapping earlier than the norm,so far I have collected 48 gallons since setting taps on Feb 9.Every year is different,last year with the unusual warm weather we had I collected over 100 gallons in Feb,in fact many people in my area that waited until the "traditional" time of year hardly got any sap at all,Typically the earlier sap runs will have higher sugar contents which will provide better yields.
  6. Jon1270

    Jon1270 Minister of Fire

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    Silver maple? I didn't know you could make syrup from silver maple sap. I thought that only worked with hard / sugar maple.
  7. JP11

    JP11 Minister of Fire

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    When my uncle the forrester was marking my trees to cut.. he kept commenting on soft maples I could tap if I wanted to. He said it's just that you need MORE of the sap to make syrup.

    I need another expensive, time consuming hobby like I need a hole in the head. I'm resisting so far.

    JP
    seige101 and ScotO like this.
  8. Jon1270

    Jon1270 Minister of Fire

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    Ah, so the difference is that sugar maples have a higher concentration of sugar, not that the sugars are fundamentally different? That would make sense. I imagine that besides needing more sap, you need more fuel to boil off all the extra water.
    ScotO likes this.
  9. JP11

    JP11 Minister of Fire

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    Well yes, physics would say that.

    I'm no expert.. it was just a comment that he made along the way that I had a nice run of them all downhill to my future barn area. I could run a line down pretty easy. Maybe later, when I get 5 years ahead on firewood.
  10. ScotO

    ScotO Guest

    All maples can be used for sugaring. But sugar maples contain the highest percent of sugar (2 to sometimes 4% or more). Another thing interesting about sugaring is our topography in this part of the country is crucial to making it. You need subfreezing nights/upper 30's-low 40's during the day for optimum output.
  11. Bocefus78

    Bocefus78 Minister of Fire

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    Just Outside Indy
    I'm a first timer also! Boiled for the first time last weekend and ended up with a pint of syrup! I'm running 20 taps in 10 sugar maples. My sap really isn't gushing yet. Scotty also helped me get started. Another thanks here!

    Attached Files:

    ScotO likes this.
  12. ScotO

    ScotO Guest

    I looking good brother! Dammit you guys are making me jealous.....I'm going to have to do at least ONE week.......

    I'm glad you guys are doing well....keep it going, and keep me updated....
  13. fishingpol

    fishingpol Minister of Fire

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    Definitely envious of you guys. Around here I know when the sap is running when the maples that had small branches break off over the winter start dripping sap out the broken ends. Usually the squirrels would lick the sap icicle after an overnight freeze. Lucky buggers.
    Thistle and ScotO like this.
  14. Ralphie Boy

    Ralphie Boy Minister of Fire

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    Ya see, that's why I love to play in this playground, you just learn new things all the time. I did not know you could use silver maple for that!:eek: My neighbor's bottom land along the creek is thick with silver malples and I'm sure he will let me tap 'em next season. I best get ta reedin' up on the right ways so's I'm ready for next year.==c
    ScotO likes this.
  15. nate379

    nate379 Guest

    My brother was explaining it to me and it certainly isn't as simple as just tapping a tree and letting it drip!

    He did some birch trees last year as well, might do some this year too. I know they make birch syrup up here.


  16. Flamestead

    Flamestead Feeling the Heat

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    Loc:
    Windsor County, Vermont
    I grew up sugaring along the coast of Maine. This isn't too early for the coast, but Maine has rather diverse terrain.
    Here in VT I'm seeing some taps go in. Next year I'll be jumping back in, and I'm already getting excited.
    Check out mapletrader.com - seems like a very useful site.

    EDIT: made half a gallon on the PH last spring. Not good to spatter the soapstone with sap. I bet this new cooktop would give a better boil.
    ScotO likes this.
  17. Stax

    Stax Minister of Fire

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    Day 2: 6 gallons of sap on 4 taps. Total after 48 hrs, approximately 16 gallons, maybe a little more. The bigger maple of the two has given me 10 gallons over the past two days. Tap Update.jpg
    ScotO likes this.
  18. Flamestead

    Flamestead Feeling the Heat

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    I had read this quote from North American Maple Syrup Producers Manual, and thought those of you with an OAK would appreciate it:

    ...150 cubic feet of air per minute is required to burn seasoned hard maple at the rate of one-fourth cord per hour...
  19. Stax

    Stax Minister of Fire

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    Man...I don't know if I could use a sugar maple for firewood.
  20. Flamestead

    Flamestead Feeling the Heat

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    I hear you! I've cut very, very few, but do have some places where I need to select among Sugar Maples. Still, I suspect that wood might end up in the stack for the house rather than for the sugar wood. My Dad keeps eyeing some of my standing dead pine for sugar wood, but I have a wealth of Red Maple that needs to die, so I'm just dropping the dead pines and letting them rot.
  21. Johnpolk

    Johnpolk New Member

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    First timer here too! Pretty excited for it to warm up so we can give it a try.
  22. NW Walker

    NW Walker Member

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    Another first timer here. I've got a dozen taps in some BL maples, although I think I may have been too late. Not much sap yet, it's been a couple weeks. I've got my fingers crossed though.
  23. Augie

    Augie Feeling the Heat

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    North Of Canada
    Have the Tulip Poplars in the back yard tapped and some Sugar Maples on another lot, but Sap isnt really running in SE Michigan, maybe next week.

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