Brick Maple Syrup Evaporator plans/design? : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread

I'm trying to make up a business plan for a family maple syrup operation. My father says we can build our own evaporators out of brick (for indoor use in a sugar house). After an evening of searching online, I can't find a picture, plan, or description. I know this is because most people buy the umpteen thousand dollar prefabricated evaporators, but we don't want to go into debt just to start. Has anyone ever seen one, built one, used one, seen one online? Does anyone make their own syrup now? Any input would be greatly appreciated! Also, anyone with masonry experience out there? I have some brick use/heat tolerance questions. Thanks.

-- Rheba (, January 16, 2001


The Highland Maple Festival, in Monterey Virginia is held over two weekends every March. If you are close enough, try to attend this year. They have tours of several sugar camps in the area, ranging in style of production from boiling sap in a bucket to the modern, expensive evaporators. Eagles Sugar Camp has a system similar to what you are describing. It is in a wooden shed. The fire pit is box like structure about six feet long, three feet wide and three feet high. This is made of brick. The front end of the box is open, in order to add wood to the fire, and the top is open. There is a sheet of steel, at least an inch thick, covering the top of the box. On top of the steel is the evaporator pan. They give a very informative tour, specific temperatures to use and how to maintain the temp, ect...

-- Terri Perry (, January 17, 2001.

Thank you Terri. Short of an actual plan, this is the type of description I was looking for. Wish I could make it down to Virginia, but we're in Canada.

-- Rheba (, January 17, 2001.

Hello Rheba. Are you looking at producing maple syrup just for yourselves? My husband and I produce maple syrup here in Michigan. We purchased our evaporator from a couple that was upgrading to a larger one. I believe we were able to purchase one cheaper than what it would have cost to make one (We did look into making one - - Basically, the first question I would ask is what kind of quality of syrup do you want to have. Believe me, different machines produce different tasting syrup!!!). I can give you a few numbers of some suppliers in our area that sell used evaporators if you're interested. The best way of course is to buy direct from the seller - - What state are you from? I know that Canada, Vermont, Maine and Michigan have their own associations - - Perhaps you could look into joining one in your area. Michigan also has a monthly newletter that lets members advertise no longer needed syrup items they wish to sell. The wealth of information that we have gained through our association was priceless.

Making maple syrup is no easy job - that's for sure. Have you ever made it before? Your best bet - - all in all - - is to find someone who has made it before and can share with you the dos and don'ts of things. Let me know if you have any more questions, I'd be glad to help.

-- Lynette Henson (, January 17, 2001.

My family has made syrup on our land for five generations now, and my dad sells most anthing you need to make the stuff. He can get you any size evaporator you might need. You can give him acall at 218-885- 1013, C & C Sugarbush. Let me know if you need any more information. My kids and I make ours in a flat pan sitting on concrete bricks next to the garage, nothing fancy but it works. We collect our sap in washed out 3lb coffee cans, store in it a new, 30 gal garbage can and cook it when we have enough to make a batch. The average is 40 gals of sap to make one gal of syrup. My dads place has tubing to collect the sap, a two pan evaporator and a seperate bottling room with all the stainles steel stuff. He sells his, we make ours just for us. If you are going to sell your syrup you may need a lot more expensive evaporator than if you are just going to keep it for yourself. Steve

-- Steve Collins (, January 20, 2001.

Before you build, know what size pan you intend to use and then build the arch to your pan size. But before you do anything talk to someone in your area with experience or get a copy of Backyard Sugarin. If your thinking of a business start small and work your way up. There is alot more to sugarin than you might think especially when your talking business. When I first started we used a flat pan on cement block. It took about 9 hours to make a gallon of syrup. Now we have an evaporator that's not much bigger than the flat pan and can make a gallon of syrup in 45 min to an hour, something to think about if your time is important.

-- Peter (, January 21, 2001.

Thank you all for your contributions. I've been looking into this for a few years now (as a business), and I have the North American producers manual (?), as well as a number of catalogues for equipment suppliers here in Ontario. Later today I'll be joining the Ontario association. As for the brick evaporator...well, that was Dad's idea. However, Dad hasn't been too forthcoming with material lists (evap., building, etc.) for me to price. So, Hubby and I are going to start alone with an inexpensive (small) evaporator that can later be upgraded with a hood and preheater. My loving brother has donated his "kind of" garage for at least the first year (don't want to rot it out on him, even though it has huge doors and windows). I wish we could start just for our own use, but our land, and trees are 2.5 hours from where we live. Just can't wait for next spring!

-- Rheba (, January 22, 2001.

I am very interested in this. We live in Alaska and don't have Maple trees but do have a lot of Birch. There are about 6 producers of Birch syrup in this area and they seem to have a good market. We have sold some sap to them on a very small scale. I guess the ratio for birch syrup is 100/1 or even higher but the birch trees put out a lot of sap...they seem to average over a gallon a day each.

We have 11 acres of sloping land in front of us completely covered in birch trees. I have often thought it would be a perfect place to collect sap with tubing and gravity feed to a high production evaporator heated with natural gas. The gas is inexpensive here.

any thoughts on this idea? How much does a good evaporator cost anyway?

-- marty van diest (, January 31, 2001.

We are also interested in starting a Birch Syrup Business, But have had little Info on Net(plans) WE have access to large amount of Birch trees on The banks Of the frazer River In BC. Sounds Like We have a sim problem.The Evaporators For maple Can Also be Used For Birch But times Gravites etc Must be changed. Then evaporater I,ve seen is such and Produces A great syrup,but like you I would like some plans to build my own,possibly out of s.stell(food grade). PLease fell free to E.mail me As maybe we can help each other out some how Doug

-- Doug (, April 01, 2001.

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