Build a Homemade Maple Syrup Evaporator

Build a homemade maple syrup evaporator using these step-by-step instructions to harvest your maple syrup on your homestead.

| February/March 2000

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    Learn how to build a homemade maple syrup evaporator.
    ILLUSTRATION: MOTHER EARTH NEWS STAFF
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    Illustration of a variety of maple syrup trees.
    MOTHER EARTH NEWS STAFF

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Instructions on making a do-it-yourself homemade maple syrup evaporator for maple syrup making. 

Many backyard evaporators are built from concrete blocks. A firebrick liner stops heat damage. Steam-table trays, like those used for buffets in restaurants, make ideal evaporator pans.

Before starting construction on your homemade maple syrup evaporator, gather the materials and build a mock-up of the evaporator, placing the concrete blocks and firebrick just as they would be in the completed firebox, without mortar. By making a mock-up, exact dimensions can be worked out and problems corrected before the actual construction.

The width of the firebox depends upon the length of the steam-table trays and should be built so that the lips of the pans rest upon the edge of the firebrick.



The length of the firebox is determined by the combined width of whatever number of pans you decide to build into your evaporator, which in turn depends on how much boiling capacity you think you will need. It takes about 100 square inches of pan surface to boil off one gallon of water per hour. Steam-table trays are approximately 12 inches by 20 inches, or 240 square inches, which means each pan will give you approximately two gallons per hour of boiling capacity. I opted to use five of these 12-inch-wide trays in my evap — giving me ten gallons per hour of boiling capacity — and so my firebox needed to be 60 inches long.

As for the height of the firebox, I made mine three blocks, or 24 inches, high. Make your firebox too high, and you'll need a massive fire to sufficiently heat the pans; too low and you'll have a difficult time loading the wood and tending the fire.

daniel O'Connor
3/7/2011 8:58:01 AM

Great and helpful







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