I saw this one from last year, but no one really went into detail about what they use and efficiency of their methods: http://www.hearth.com/econtent/index.php/forums/viewthread/1640/ I have about 15 good sized trees behind my house, but only tapped four of them this year. Toddlers tend to prevent you from spending your weekends intoxicated from drinking a case of beer while watching sap boil... I have a drum stove kit that I picked up at an auction for $5, and my wife bought me two "full size" steam table trays (about 4 gallons/each) from a local restaurant supply store. I cut the top out of the drum and set the two trays in the opening. I placed a few concrete landscape/retaining wall pieces in the bottom of the stove to keep the fire under the pans, then just keep wood loaded in the evaporator. I gathered clean 2X4 scrap, powder-post beetle infested barn siding, broken pine picnic tables, etc. that I scrounged from the barns, along with some nice dry slabs from the local mill. The set up is in an old cattle/sheep shelter. I boiled down 35 gallons in about 6 hours, leaving me with about 3/4 gallon of syrup. I expect to have another 40 gallons or so of sap this next weekend. Anyone else cookin' down maple sap? Have you found any tricks/efficiency boosters while minimizing costs? I know - why not go buy some at the local store? I enjoy doing this sort of thing on my own (including soap, beer, making my own interior trim, raising chickens/eggs, etc.). I figure that this might be something of a "family tradition" that my daughter and I can look back on when she gets older. I have some pictures of my rig that I will post here in a day or two...in the mean time, I'm interested to hear others' experiences.