SweetWood Maple Products

Pennsylvania Pure Maple Syrup  


Maple Season - 1999

This was our first year sugaring.  I got the idea from a friend at our church, Ned Beatty, who was just getting out of sugaring due to a bout with cancer.

His operation was simple and inexpensive.  A 10' x 12' Lean-to that had cement blocks and a steel chimney to support a 2' x 4' pan.  He used milk jugs with wires through the handles to put on each tap.  Clean garbage cans stored the sap.  At his peak, he had 130+ taps!  Obviously, if you know much about the boiling process and how long that takes in a 2' x 4' pan, he boiled night and day.  The syrup was dark, but he had a great time doing it.

I disassembled his Lean-to and brought it home on a trailer.  I reassembled it in the back yard.  It was rustic looking, that's for sure (much to my wife's dismay).  I also borrowed his taps, pan and garbage cans.

So, I used his method for 60 taps that year.  Most of the trees were in my yard (I have 14 large sugar maples) and some were my neighbors.

My "evaporator" consisted of a barrel that was cut on three sides long ways, then folded over and supported with a cement block.  This made an "arch" and firebox with a little help from the cutting torch.  I then put a stack in the back and the 2' x 4' pan on top.  This worked surprisingly well.  I am thinking of publishing the plans just for the fact it is inexpensive and fairly easy compared to cement blocks.

I remember this year as being very cold.  I had quite a bit of problems with the sap freezing before getting it into the pan.

I also remember getting very tired of emptying milk jugs!  One gallon wasn't much on a 45 degree and sunny day!  Sometimes, I would empty before work at sunrise, at lunch, dinner time and bed time!  That got old quick.

All this work on jugs got me looking harder and harder at the Leader Evaporator catalog.  Turned out, there was something better than buckets.  So, in 2000... I did tubing.

I also discovered something else...I was hooked on sugaring for good.