My brother Benjamin and his wife Carli came to town and Carli made a spoon!
We started with a nice scrap of maple. After Carli drew the design she wanted we clamped it to the workbench and hollowed out the bowl. We used an old lathe gouge that has been re-ground to do this sort of thing. Once the bowl was roughed out we used a bowl gouge to smooth the inside and get the final shape she wanted.
Once the bowl was ready we moved to the bandsaw on the ShopSmith where Carli cut out the spoon’s profile.
With most of the the spoon’s profile cut, Carli suited up and moved to the belt sander for shaping and making the curves.
We did the sanding outside. Even with the shopvac sucking up sawdust it still manages to coat everything in a fine maple powder.
We used 80 grit sandpaper on the belt sander, so once the spoon was the right shape we moved to hand sanding with 120, 220 and 400 grit sand paper.
Once it was finally silky smooth, she sketched “~Moore~” a couple different ways, then transferred the one she liked best on to the spoon handle. I carefully carved it out with a pocket knife and didn’t even slip on the rounded corners or lose the middle of the Os.
Finally we finished it with several coats of danish oil. This piece of maple had some beautiful quilting in it and Carli did a fantastic job!
I thought that the sap had just about finished running back in March when we made syrup last time much to our delight however, a quick freeze and a week of warm days produced a 2.5 gallon encore of maple tree sap!
If you squint just right at this first picture you can see that the bucket is almost exactly 1/2 full. That means we’re starting with 2.5 gallons of sap (this is a 5 gallon bucket).
While Home Depot calls this a Homer bucket, in reality it can only hold a tiny fraction of a Homer (0.086 homers)
I think this batch’s sap must’ve had a much higher sugar content. For one thing the sap actually browned as it turned into syrup. It also made a lot more of it! I used a candy thermometer again and took it off the stove when it reached 220 degrees Fahrenheit. It had the desired maple flavor this time instead of the good-and-sweet-but-not-quite-mapley flavor of last time. As I took it off the stove it seemed too thin, but as it cooled it did thicken up.
As the sap was boiling I knew I needed to filter it to remove the particulate that is making it cloudy. The only thing I had on hand was some cheesecloth, so I used some cheesecloth folded over to about 8 layer thick to filter it as I poured it into this syrup jar. It did remove some particulate, but not enough. As you can see, the syrup is still cloudy. After a few days the particulate settled out, but obviously I’ll need to find an appropriate filter for next year.
We cooked this down on April 2. That afternoon we had some friends over and Caroline made scones for us all to enjoy!
That’s it for Maple production in Fridley this year. Join us again next year when we do it again! Except we’ll do it right next time! And make even more syrup!