Your Questions about the Sapling Evaporator – Answered!

January 31, 2020

Like shiny things? The Sapling Evaporator, in stock now, is a classic, flat black with stainless evaporator pan and accents. Making maple syrup in your backyard has never been this easy OR attractive!

You are seriously thinking about buying a Sapling Evaporator, but you have a few questions. Chances are, the answers are below!

What’s the lead-time on a Sapling Evaporator?

None! Our stock is holding out well, and we’re busy manufacturing more at a good clip. During the season—January through April—we ship product one business day after it is ordered. So, an order placed on Monday ships on Tuesday, Tuesday orders ship on Wednesday, and so forth. Orders placed on Friday, Saturday and Sunday ship on Monday.

How does the Sapling Evaporator ship?

The Sapling ships in a big box via UPS Ground. .

How long does it take to ship a Sapling to zipcode _ _ _ _ _?

UPS estimates place all of sugar country within one to three days of us. except for the farthest reaches of Maine, New England destinations are one day away, as are eastern and central New York. Western New York and the New York City area, as well as Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia New Jersey, Delaware and Maryland are two-day destinations. It takes three days to get a Sapling to Kentucky, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota and Iowa.

How much does it cost to ship a Sapling to zipcode _ _ _ _ _?

Not a thing! All of our orders SHIP FREE!

May I come pick up my Sapling instead?

Sure thing! If you choose pick-up at check out, you will be prompted to schedule an appointment, but you can always change the date and/or time after-the-fact. If whatever you selected no longer works for you, or if you didn’t see the date you were hoping for upon checkout, just send us an email (kate@vermontevaporator.com). We’ll work it out!

(Please bear in mind that all pick-up orders are subject to 6% Vermont Sales Tax, whereas orders shipped across state lines are not subject to any sales taxes.)

What is the best way to place my order?

Online! And thanks for asking. We’re a small operation, so placing your order on our website helps us stay organized and avoid mistakes. Having said that, if you prefer to take your business offline, we understand. Give us a call at 802-552-8499 and we’ll take your order over the phone.

How many taps will the Sapling handle?

We recommend the Sapling for operations ranging from 5-50 taps for customers who anticipate saving sap up for occasional boils (e.g., weekends or days off from work). Customers who are able to boil whenever the sap flows should be able to handle up to 100 taps. The Sapling is not recommended for operations bigger than 100 taps.

How many gallons per hour can I evaporate on the Sapling?

We have measured everything from 4 to 8 gallons of evaporation per hour on our Sapling. The speed of your boil will depend on many things, including: the temperature outside, whether it is precipitating, the heat of your fire, your level of attention and skill and whether you are using the Sapling Warming Pan or other warming situation of your own invention.

Does the Sapling come assembled?

Almost completely! All new Sapling owners must install the legs, the stack and a ball valve. That involves six self-tapping screws, pipe tape (provided) and eight bolt assemblies, all provided. Installation directions come with each Sapling and are also here.

What tools should I have on hand for assembly?

A power-drill with Philips-head attachment installed for the self-tapping screws and a wrench for tightening bolts should do it. Self-tapping screws don’t require drilling—although some folks prefer to pre-drill—but do pair well with power tools.

Is the Sapling portable?

Yes! The Sapling is light enough for one or two people to move it around easily (see below) and even comes with threaded holes on each foot for the intrepid customer who wishes to install casters for locomotion around easy terrain.

How heavy is the Sapling?

All assembled, the Sapling is about 90 lbs. The heaviest part (the barrel with legs and door installed) is about 50 lbs.

What are the dimensions of the Sapling?

People usually ask because they are wondering if it will fit in their car. The answer is yes! We once fit a Sapling Evaporator in a Toyota Corolla! (We had to take it apart.) The Sapling will fit in any SUV or truck bed.

The Sapling ships in a box that is 38 x 25 x 27 (L x W x H). With legs installed, it’s about 33 x 23 x 29 (L x W x H).

If you need more detail than this because you are installing your Sapling in an outbuilding, please be in touch!

What kind of outfitting does the Sapling require?

Besides sap, the only thing you absolutely need to bring to your Sapling is an inch or two of sand or ash to be placed on the bottom of your barrel (to protect the metal from the hottest part of your fire).

Should I firebrick my Sapling?

This is a matter of personal choice. The benefits are heat retention and added protection for your barrel. The downside is a smaller firebox.  If you are curious about how to lay your brick in your barrel, you can watch us do it here. Sold on the idea? You can now purchase just the right amount of firebrick for a Sapling from us!

Can I install my Sapling in a sugar house?

Provided you consult your local fire warden and do it safely, yes! While the Sapling was designed for outdoor use, we have many customers who have installed their Saplings inside an outbuilding.

What kind of wood should I burn in the Sapling?

Opinions vary about what kind of wood is best, but the truth is that most people just burn what is available at little or no cost. We like a mixture of hard and soft, ourselves. Your wood should be split a time or two more than you would split it for use in your wood stove so that it about the width of your arm. Best to keep the lengths to two feet or below.

How much wood do I need?

It’s a hard question to answer without knowing what kind of wood you are burning, but, by way of a ballpark answer, we suggest 1/2 cord of wood per every 5 gallons of syrup produced.

I don’t have that much; where can I find inexpensive wood?

Check with a local hardware store or lumber mill. Very often, outfits that sell lumber will have or know where you can get inexpensive wood called “slag” wood – the bark edges of trees cut for lumber. You can also use old pallets, clean construction extras, or dry fallen wood. See here for a more complete discussion about sugar wood.

Can I get to finished syrup on the Sapling or will I need to finish on a separate pan?

While the experienced and the brave make it to finished syrup on the Sapling, most of us amateur sugar makers pour-off when we are very close (for us, it’s usually about 2:1), and reduce the rest of the way on propane nearby or inside on the kitchen stove.

I’ve been following you for years, and have noticed that the Sapling has gone up in price. Have you made improvements to the Sapling that justify the price increase? 

Yes! In addition to increases in the cost of our inputs—most notably steel and freight—design and quality improvements make the Sapling more expensive to produce and deliver. But we think the new and improved Sapling is well worth it!  The 2020 Sapling’s doors and legs are made out of a higher quality steel than ever to ensure that the Sapling withstands many years of hearty use without experiencing any warping in these areas. In addition, the Sapling door has been reengineered for a tighter fit and smoother handle and air vent operation. The Sapling now also comes standard with the Sapling Stack Bracket, an attractive and functional way to keep the Sapling smokestack stable through the years. And, last but not least, the Sapling now comes with free, expedited shipping! (See above.)

How can I get the most use out of my Sapling?

The Sapling will last you many years with proper maintenance. Need help with that? Check out the Sapling Care Kit. While the Sapling Evaporator is a complete maple-syrup-making machine in itself, there are ways of making it run more efficiently, including using a warming pan and/or installing the Sapling Evaporator Efficiency Package. In addition, your Sapling can be used year-round to grill, smoke and bake wood-fired bread and pizza. Four Saplings for four seasons! Now that’s value!