Sugar Shack

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About: Love to spend time in my workshop, transform ideas in the real world !

Building my own sugar shack has always been a childhood dream!

I live in Quebec - Canada, so it's probably in my nature :-D

Being a father who works full time, 3 seasons have passed between the design and the final construction ... A major work yes, but I am very proud of the result ! I have attached all the necessary documents (3D model, 2D drawings, photos) and I encourage you all to embark on the adventure of making your own maple syrup. Of course, if you have maple trees in your surroundings ;-p

Step 1: 3D Design & Material

When embarking on a construction of this kind, it's better to make a complete design of the project to build.

Several advantages:

- unforeseen events are almost eliminated during construction

- develop a complete list of required materials

- saves costs by maximizing design with standard materials

- allows the development of the required subassemblies, etc ....

I used Autodesk Inventor as a design software ... I've enclosed drawings and final 3D within this instructable. You will also find the list of required materials on the last page of the 2D drawing.

All the wood used for the outside comes from wood crate ...this wood destined to junk will be entitled to a new life!

Step 2: Floor Support

I chose to use poured concrete legs. (cheap and very durable)

I used forms of 10 '' dia. But it could have been easily 8’’ dia. I bought also an adjustable leg system. (That way, it will be easier later on to adjust finely the level of the entire structure)

Start by locating the forms on the ground. Take the support that will be the lowest as reference. Draw a level line and cut the lenght of the other forms. Follow the directions of the concrete manufacturer and pour the forms one by one ... do not forget to insert the adjustable support before the curing process !

Step 3: Floor

To support the floor, I built 2 beams (2 times 2x10 screwed together) with treated wood. These beams are installed directly in the adjustable legs.

Then, I build up the floor perimeter using 2x8'' ... (supported by the 2 beams)

Next, complete the floor with all the joist. (Dont forget to add joist hanger at each end) see photos ... that way, your building will last square for years.

And finally, I used 3/4'' plywood sheets for the top.

(See Drawing for all required dimensions)

Step 4: Steam Exhaust Chimney Sub Assembly

One special feature is needed when building a sugar shack … a steam chimney ... The maple water will boil for hours in the shack, so a lot of steam to evacuate. I decided to make it in a subassembly to avoid a lot of work at height later ... I screwed the shutters to the chimney frame … later on, I will create a simple system to close and open the shutters (accessible from the floor).

See Drawing for any dimensions

Step 5: Walls Sub-assembly

Unfortunately, I did not take pictures of the walls sub-assembly that I built. Mounting walls independently (on ground) will make life a lot easier. I even preinstalled forens on all walls ... always easier and faster to install horizontally.

Unlike on the drawing, I did not mount the roof gables on the front and rear wall sub-assembly... it was finally easier to handle without.

Step 6: Walls Assembly

Start by mounting one of the walls on the floor structure. Fix it temporarily (well level) using a diagonal. Subsequently, place the other 3 walls always well level. Anchor all the walls to the floor and between themselves.

As you can see in the photos, I started putting the steam cheminey in place. I had to get him inside the cabin before closing all the walls ... (he did not go through the door opening). This subassembly is quite heavy ... my first challenge was to mount it over the walls. What I managed to do with a little patience and some homemade levering system.

Step 7: Structural Roof Completion and Steam Chimney in Place

Autumn had arrived ... the colors of the trees were magnificent! What a beautiful time of the year to work outside!

This step consisted in assembling the last roof truss and putting in final place the steam chimney.
Finally, I could see a semblance of sugar shack in front of me! Well happy!

Please refer too 2D Drawing for a every dimension needed ...

Step 8: Roof Forrens

Since I had already installed the forens of each walls, I just had to install the remaining forens of the roof.

Beginning of November ... and snow was already there !

The material of the roof were metal profile roofing (Vicwest) ... that's why it wasn't mandatory to put wood sheet under.

Step 9: Roofing

I was looking foward to do that step ... My sugar shack's located right under many trees ... that why I was searching for a roofing solution that is easy to install, economical and most important, low maintenance !

Ultravic (From Vicwest company) fit perfectly my need ... I could even choose the color ... a color that would remind me of the old Quebec sugar shack style !

I have attached the list of material with trim detail above.

I'm pretty satisfied with the result and it would last for years without any maintenance !

Step 10: Siding, Door, Soffit

Last big step before having a shack sheltered from bad weather ... the siding !

One board at a time, nail by nail ... It took me around 12 hours to complete the job ... the most beautiful thing ... it cost me 0$ for all that wood ... (Only my time to remove all staples from the crate) ... but still, a nice way to recycle things !

I bought a really nice and neat door from kijiji (online classified advertising service) ... full metal ... and the color match perfectly with the roof ... almost Magic !

Step 11: Chimney

Another good step was in front of me before my sugar shack was functional ... The chimney ...

I evaluated the different options available on the market ... For a chimney at a reasonable cost ... I opted for the single-walled chimney ... By cons, by making this choice, I had to make sure I had a clearance of 18 " with any combustible material ...

I decided to make a wall passthrough with a concrete slab ... a very economical solution. The steps are pretty simple, make a formwork ... fix in place the desired pipe ends. (In my case, I chose a 36'' pipe that I wanted to let go 24 '' inwards). mix and pour the concrete. Voila !

Then, I made the necessary hole in my cabin, add 2 supports (leg for the slab).

The total length of the chimney should be 3 times the length of the evaporator. with my chimney design, it was not a problem.

I made custom mounts at the back to keep everything in place.

I've done a test, and everything works perfectly! Yéééé !

Step 12: Ready for Sugar Season 2019 !

Only about 1 month left before start of sugar season ! Wooohooo !

I almost cant believe I finally made it ! I'M READY !

To get maple water, the best temperature is between -4°C at night, and 4°C at day ... mostly happen in my region during March ...

Meanwhile, why not decorate the inside ...

I'll post later on an instructable about making your own maple sirup ! :-D !

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    50 Discussions

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    LynneDe

    1 day ago

    Awesome shack, thank you. My son mentioned to me two days ago, let the neighbor know that next year, he won't be tapping your trees, Mom. He's planning to do it. We have about 8 maples in the front, more on the side and in the back, so we have plenty from which to draw upon. We live next to a sugar maple stand as well and they have a higher tech setup, but they've also been using our trees out back...well, we'll see how long that continues too. In the meantime, great setup. I've sent the link to my son, we'll see what happens. I can just taste that rich dark sweet syrup now....yum! Blessings!

    2 replies
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    Simon_CloutierLynneDe

    Reply 1 day ago

    Hi,
    I appreciate your comment thank you ! and I agree with your son ... dont let your neighbors take that gorgeous sugar out of your trees ;-p ... take advantage of it instead !

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    LynneDeSimon_Cloutier

    Reply 1 day ago

    While we don't often get the 'fruit' of those trees, our neighbor's grandfather does plow the end of our driveway, where the town trucks bury us. As I am a senior, and my husband and I disabled, that's a huge help, so it's been kind of a 'thank you' to the whole family.

    On the other hand, my son has been working on my lawn and garden tractor to fabricate a snow blower from old parts, and he says I won't need our neighbor's help for that in the future as we've done in the past, but regardless, since we aren't able to tap the trees, at least someone has had the blessing from them. :) Blessings to you on your tapping also.

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    temper

    15 days ago

    It is fairly obvious that you live in a country where timber (I suppose that's your lumber) is extremely cheap.

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    rene1502

    25 days ago

    Hi,
    I am Dutch and have no idea what a sugar shack is. Could someone explain please?
    René

    7 replies
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    malijairene1502

    Reply 25 days ago

    Hi,
    It is a place where in Québec, at the begin of the spring when it is still freezing during the night but not during the day, the maple sap begin to goes up and down in the trees. People made some holes in the trees to gather the water which is a little bit sweet. When there is enought maple water they boil it in a sugar shack until it become a sirup: maple sirup : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maple_syrup

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    carirmalijai

    Reply 23 days ago

    Not just in Quebec, but also other areas where sugar maples (preferably) grow and temperatures dip below freezing. I live in Minnesota and gather the liquid and make my own syrup.

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    Simon_Cloutiercarir

    Reply 23 days ago

    Glad To hear that ... in my opinion ... its the best sugar ! Why not use every maple tree possible !

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    carirSimon_Cloutier

    Reply 21 days ago

    I live the middle of town and I have a total of two.

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    Simon_Cloutierrene1502

    Reply 25 days ago

    Hi René, a sugar shack is a place use to make maple sirup ... (where the maple water's boiled to obtain maple sirup)
    Best regards
    Simon

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    carir

    23 days ago

    Great design and finished product. I can see why it took so long. Lucky one of my maple trees is 50 feet and the other 55 feet in a different direction from my walkout basement, so I can just walk there every day. If I knew what to do with all the snow in the way, I would be happy.

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    Simon_Cloutiercarir

    Reply 23 days ago

    Thanks for your comment. ... maybe the best way to deal with snow is to walk there with snowshoes... have fun !!

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    carirSimon_Cloutier

    Reply 21 days ago

    Sure, I'm 5 feel tall and 72 and the snow is right now about 4 feet, if I trip, they will find me in April. lol

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    chevalrouge

    Question 22 days ago on Introduction

    I love your plans but when I try to download them I get a message saying "Sorry, we couldn't find that one." Do you know what is happening with the download?

    1 answer
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    Simon_Cloutierchevalrouge

    Answer 22 days ago

    Thank you for your comment !
    The administrators of the site are aware of the situation and said that the issue should be fixed soon. ... sorry

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    orditronix

    22 days ago

    Bonjours Simon,
    J'adore ta cabane à sucre, je suis québecois des laurentides, mais je demeure maintenant au NB. J'espère que tes prochaines récoltes serons bonnes.

    1 reply
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    Simon_Cloutierorditronix

    Reply 22 days ago

    Bonjour ! Merci pour le commentaire et ça fait plaisir de parler en Francais ! :-D

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    Okhotnik

    26 days ago on Step 12

    Interested to look more into this project, but the "download" link is broken.