Weekend Project Boondocks, USA

Earlier this week my husband played the hero as he often does so when he asked if I’d help him finish making his maple syrup evaporator what could I say?


In the last month he picked up two old oil tanks, some angle iron and a welding machine off Craigslist. I steered clear of the sparks that he said could blind me until the tank looked like this:



The tank was empty so he welded the shelf within–I had no idea what it all meant until it began to come together today. First we put in some sand and leveled it:



Then I had the job of cleaning old mortar from the bricks also gotten off Craigslist while husband cut a door into the tank.


Have you ever heard metal being sawed through? It’s painful.


Now I began to understand what we were doing.





We painted it with a high temperature paint.


The syrup boils on top in this big pan and the fire burns beneath it. We have to wait until February, but I’m pretty impressed with my husband’s handy work.

30 thoughts on “Weekend Project Boondocks, USA

    1. We bought the pan before my husband got the welder–now anything is possible! February’s only a few months away, but I think we’ll be doing some sort of test firing soon. I’m excited to see it in action too.

  1. Wow I am really impressed with your design. Nice to see some creative minds at work. I was wondering if you had any updates of how it worked and some pictures of it in action?
    Troy, Tiverton, Ontario, Canada

    1. We’re having a late start due to cold weather and snow but this weekend the sap was running. We will definitely have an update and pictures within the week 🙂 Up into the wee hours last night using the new design.

      Thanks for stopping by!

  2. Hi – I am in the process of putting my evaporator together and just wanted to know what size angle you used? It looks to be fairly large – 4×4?

  3. How did it work for you and have you made any changes? I ask because I made one just like it but haven’t tested it yet. How many gallons did you get?

  4. You guys did an awesome job! I am building something similar and my son asked if we cut a door on the backside (opposite of the firedoor) could we store wood in there? I thought that was a great idea! It would stay dry and would be isolated quite well from the heat and would be conveniently close by. What do you guys think? Best Regards, Dave from Little Suamico, WI.

  5. I saw your idea 2 years ago and based the evaporator I made off of what you had in your photos. Would it be possible to get some of the dimensions like the size of the Firebox the rate of angle you used into the flu. And also where you purchased that pan from I like the design in the fact that it preheats the sap. We have been doing this ever since I made the evaporator and my children and wife love it. What a great way to spend the time during the melt and muddy season. Thanks again.

  6. Can you tell me where you got the door? I don’t see one available online that has the nice air intake at the bottom.

  7. Hi. Would you be interested in making one of these for me? If so, how much would you charge me? My father made my last stove in a very similar fashion, but he is 91 now and cannot lift more than 20 pounds due to his heart condition. My pan is 3 feet by 4 feet. I would love to talk to you about getting one built for me. Let me know if I can call you or you can call me. My email address is stu@stusutton.com.

  8. Sounds like they too busy to answer all questions. Don’t want to give out all info. She should help every reader who has a question!

      1. Prayers for your family. Hope your husband is better now. We have been building a concrete fore and this year. OK In 2020 we will start to build our new evaporator. Can you all share the measurements you used in cutting the fuel tank?

      2. Thanks for the kind words. My husband is feeling a lot better. Lyme related rheumatoid arthritis is a horrible thing. My husband cut the fuel tank based upon how his evaporator pan would sit. The measurements for the pan are 24″ by 48″ He improved some of the things he did but last year he wasn’t into me making a video of it. Maybe this year I’ll have one. 🙂 Have a great syrup season.

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