marina phillips wrote:
I'm kinda surprised no one's really asked about the firebox modification. That's the thing we changed that we weren't planning on. We were doing vertical feeding at first, but a lot of our wood just isn't perfectly straight, and sometimes the fire would climb up the wood if it weren't touching the bottom of the box, and we weren't able fix it when it happened because we were sitting inside....We needed to do it differently.
The fire mostly draws from a hole in the front of an elongated fire brick box (around which we will also add more cob for stability), its dimensions are 22"L x 10"W x 9"D. You can lay odd shaped pieces of wood in there (this is handy - we have a lot of curvy twisted oak), in a neat but jumbled pile, and the fire burns down. We place two metal plates on top of the box to limit the draw there. I still start the fire with vertical kindling up against the burn tunnel entrance, then lay it over when it gets going and add the rest of the wood.
I would only recommend this for outside feed systems. Especially when things have cooled off for a day or more in between firings, it can be smokey when you're starting a fire or filling it back up with wood - until the metal plates are replaced and the fire shoots sideways again. It doesn't smoke much at all after the third stoking in a row.
Joel Hollingsworth wrote:
I use MS Paint, and save as PNG. If SVG files were acceptable, I might prefer to use Inkscape for some of the drawings.
After you have the file, there's a little triangle under the text box, and a link that reads "Additional Options..." which allows you to upload files as part of your forum post.
Erica, with an evaporator you want to increase the surface area to facilitate evaporation. This system would give you a much larger surface area.
Erica Wisner wrote:Do you have to boil it, or keep it from boiling?
tel jetson wrote:
what about something like the rocket bathtub in the RMH book? that's heated by the stove exhausting along it's bottom side, yeah? maybe use the top of the barrel for the pre-heater jbreezy mentioned, then use that same serpentine path heated by the stove's exhaust.
Erica, I don't think it would be tippy at all as long as it was supported properly. I think a mass area at a lower elevation would work for sugaring off. No hurry and the lower temps would insure that it wouldn't burn. You could install a gravity drain to a lower pan.
Erica, the highest quality sap gives you about a 40 to 1 return. That means that you have to evaporate 39 gallons of water to get 1 gallon of syrup. having a large surface area to evaporate is absolutely essential. Some saps, in some years can be closer to 80 to 1.
Erica Wisner wrote:
I'm just tossing ideas out in the dark, here, we don't have the trees or the climate for syrup-making in our region.
tel jetson wrote:
don't be so sure. there have been some folks on Vancouver Island using big leaf maples for syrup production with good results. I believe the sap flows when evenings are below freezing and days are above. that's a substantial portion of our winters most years.
Erica Wisner wrote:
Might be possible elsewhere in the region, but I don't think it will ever challenge the Canadian and New England traditions.
The last time I made syrup I had 80 taps that gave me 50 to 200 gallons a day. A 24 inch pot just wouldn't have the needed surface area. I used a water heater tank, cut lengthwise on an iron stand surrounded with concrete blocks on 3 sides. It worked fairly well but used a ton of fuel (which was ok because I had a ton of scrap lumber to burn) and needed constant tending.
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