How to Assemble Your DIY Maple Syrup Evaporator – The Sapling

Dec 21, 2022 | DIY Maple Syrup

How to set up your DIY Maple Syrup Evaporator, The Sapling.

The Sapling Evaporator is a great way to get started making your own maple syrup! We’ve designed this DIY maple syrup evaporator to support 5-50+ taps, perfect for the backyard sugar maker. The Sapling is an outdoor, wood-fired, maple syrup evaporator. So there’s no need for a sugar house. You can also convert the Sapling into a grill and a smoker for year-round use!
 

evaporator grill - maple syrup supplies

Even though the Sapling is simply designed, it still offers many advanced features! It has a continuous flow pan like the big expensive evaporators use. This means that your sap flows through the pan in a channel. This is caused by the dividers in the pan, which creates a sugar gradient. This increases the efficiency of your boil, making for shorter boil times.
Baffled Maple Syrup Evaporator Pan
Baffled pans are much more efficient that the typical DIY flat pan method. You can draw off sap without emptying the pan and killing your boil. This means more syrup on more pancakes in less time!
 
 

How to Assemble The Sapling

 
The Sapling comes with all the parts you need, but you need a few tools to assemble your sapling. Before getting started, gather:
 
an electric drill
a 3/32” bit;
a Phillips screwdriver
A Phillips head bit for your electric drill;
 
Once you’ve assembled your tools, it’s time to get started assembling your DIY Maple Syrup Evaporator.
 

Remove all parts from inside the box. Inside the box, you will have:

  • one (1) flue takeoff;
  • one (1) 90° elbow;
  • one (1) Sapling Stack Bracket;
  • two (2) pieces of flue pipe;
  • seven (7) self-drilling screws;
  • one (1) evaporating pan;
  • one (1) ball valve;
  • a smidge of pipe tape;
  • one (1) door,
  • two (2) leg sets,
  • eight (8) each for the legs:
    • bolts,
    • nuts
    • lock washers
  • sixteen (16) each for the door:
    • bolts,
    • nuts and
    • lock washers
Maple Syrup Evaporator and Grill

Step 1:

Assemble the leg sets onto the barrel. You do this by using the predrilled holes on the barrel. There are 8 sets of bolt, nut and lock washers for attaching the legs.
 
HINT: The easiest way to assemble the legs is as follows. Orient your Sapling “bottom-up,” with the cavity facing down. (It helps to have a skinny table or workbench or pair of saw horses to do this while steadying the unit.) Align the holes in each leg set, so that the feet face the rear of the machine. Then push a bolt through each pair of holes, with the top, wider part of the bolt, facing out. Finally, reorient the unit with the cavity facing you. Install the lock washers and nuts on the inside of the barrel and tighten!
 
Sapling Maple Syrup Evaporator

Step 2:

Assemble the door frame onto the barrel. First, make sure the hinges for the door are on the right-hand side of the barrel. The latch for the door, with the open part facing up, should then be on the left-hand side.
 
Line up the holes in the door frame with those on the barrel. Again push the bolts through each pair of holes with the top, wider part of the bolt on the outside of the barrel. You should have 16 bolts, lock washers, and nuts for the door. Finally, install the lock washers and nuts on the inside of the barrel and tighten.

Step 3:

Attach the door to the frame by aligning the pegs on the door to the holes on the door frame. Gently tap the door near the pegs to push the door hinges into place.
 

Step 4:

Attach the Stack Flange to the DIY Maple Syrup Evaporator. To do so, line up the stack flange with the hole cut out of the back of the evaporator. Then, center the flange on the hole.
 
We recommend pre-drilling these holes. We’ve assembled tons of evaporators, and pre-drilling the holes makes a big difference! You can line up the flange and mark the location of the holes on the barrel. A pencil, chalk, or a nail will work to leave a mark on the barrel. Remove the flange from the barrel, and pre-drill the holes you marked.
 
Align the holes in the flange with the holes in the barrel.
 
Use the self-tapping screws and your electric drill to secure the flange to the back of the barrel.
 
Next, slide the 90° elbow on the flange at the back of the barrel. Make sure the exit of the elbow points straight up!

Step 5:

Attach the stabilizing Stack Bracket to your DIY Maple Syrup Evaporator.
 
Take your stack bracket out of the box. Stand facing the back of the sapling evaporator, with the stack flange and elbow right in front of you. You will then position the stack bracket so the short bent end is flush against the barrel. Align the long straight part of the bracket flush against the elbow. Be sure the hole is above the elbow’s uppermost adjustable crease.
 
Mark the hole on the barrel and pre-drill this hole, as you did previously. Then use a self-tapping screw to secure the stack bracket to the barrel.
Make sure the long straight part of the bracket is flush against the elbow. Make sure the hole is above the elbow’s uppermost adjustable crease. Then, take the last self-tapping screw to affix the bracket to the side of the elbow. The metal of the elbow is thinner than the barrel, so no pre-drilling is necessary!
 
Then attach both pieces of flue pipe, one on top of the other, into the elbow. You now have a stack attached to your Barrel evaporator!

Step 6:

At last, place the pan on the barrel evaporator. When standing at the front of your evaporator, The draw-off is on the left side.
Wrap your bit of pipe tape around the draw-off and wind around. Then screw the ball valve on, over the pipe tape. This ensures a tight fit!
 
And voila! You’ve assembled your DIY Maple Syrup Evaporator, the Sapling!

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