I used a rectangle of cement that was poured by the Drennans, the people who lived here while my dad was growing up.
Just barely legible on the slab is written, “Drennans’ Dogwood Dell”
Anyway, I laid the slab our away from the seed room and started carrying bricks over to it.
They are mostly fire brick and refractory soft brick, of various shapes and sizes, with a few red brick mixed in.
Directly on the slab I laid a bed of 16 red brick with a row of soft brick along either side. This would be my base.
Then I ran 3 courses of fire brick in a long skinny rectangle.
I capped off the fire box with a large fire brick, I have no idea where it came from.
The chimney was proportioned roughly the same size as the firebox opening (which I didn’t like) so I took a red clay chimney tile and set it into the existing opening.
Then I just built up around the tile a couple of layers of fire brick, switching to soft brick until the final course, which is one level above the top of the chimney tile.
From no fire at all, it took about 1 hour 20 minutes to bring 10 gallons of maple sap to a boil burning only pine at first, then adding maple and ash as it heated up.
For whatever reason I just can’t get enough of looking at a fire burning in a brick firebox at night.
After a little thinking on things over night, I decided that I wanted the chimney even taller and that there needed to be something to deflect the heat up the sides of the pot.
So I added 4 more courses of brick.
Just letting it vent straight out the sides seems a waste.
For that, I stood the final course of bricks on end.
The redirection of the heat is made obvious by the additional black carbon accumulating up the sides of the pot.
Considering how much of the water was boiled away and how many hours we fired the cooker, we used remarkably little fire wood in the process.
Still a couple of hours from finished, the syrup is starting to take on the golden brown of maple goodness.
There’s more about making syrup (and sugar!) here: