The Old, The New

oldtI’ve been accused of hovering around the syrup evaporator. I can’t make myself read a book while I’m out there, because I’m often up and around every few minutes looking at the fluid level, checking the specific gravity, looking at the firebox, etc. etc. I admit it. Even with a tiny evaporator like mine, there is enough going on that I feel I have to keep on my toes.

Yesterday I was near the back of the evaporator looking at something, when a strange color caught my eye. It was an orange/red slit coming from the back. On closer examination, I saw that the 6″ “T” through which all the smoke from the firebox is transmitted to the chimney had a crack in it that was probably a quarter inch wide. The orange glow I was seeing was the hot gasses from the fire! This was bad news, because if the “T” came apart, the entire chimney could fall down, leaving the hot gasses out into the shack.

oldt2As quickly as I could, I shut things down, closed up shop, and walked back to the house. I got in the truck and drove to town, where I bought a new “T”, some new stove pipe, and some other odds and ends. This morning I bundled everything up in my big duffel bag and headed out there. I was prepared for this job to be a long one, but it went pretty well. After I got the old “T” off, I put it on the shelf and took a picture to show how close I’d come to having the thing disintegrate on me.

newtThe new “T” went on without a hitch, and the stovepipe chimney was still in good enough shape that I put it back on. I started a new fire in the reconfigured stove, and it worked like a champ. This little problem surely could have been worse. I’m glad I fuss around the evaporator enough that I noticed this problem before it got much worse.

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