Sap Tapping Tutorial

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g4ghb

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Sep 21, 2005
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Wiltshire
G4's Birch Tapping Tutorial - otherwise titled 'how I do it.....;)'

I managed to get a couple of hours to relax in the woods today so after a walk I stopped to set some taps up and took some photos to create a little tutorial of how I do it – Not necessarily the best way but it is my way and it suits me fine. Hopefully it will all make sense as I was on my own and it is hard to take pic’s of tasks that require two hands!

Before starting it is worth checking that the sap is indeed rising
To do this I cut a small nick in the tree



And check to see that it is weeping sap – if so push the cut closed to minimize loss




So - assuming the Sap is rising we can get on with the job in hand.....

To start with this is the ‘set’ I use (bar the tube which I forgot to add but is shown later in the tutorial)
You could perform the whole task with just the drill bit and a knife but the saw makes life easier. To start with I cut 3 lengths of hazel length isn’t of importance but the short piece will be my handle, the long bit my baton and the middle bit my ‘vice’



Step 1 – Baton through the ‘vice’ far enough to allow the end of the bit to fit but not so far it splits in two





Step 2 – Insert the tapered part of the bit in the split and using the ‘vice’ you have just made to help you grip the bit tightly enough drill a hole through your handle











Step 3 – Hammer the bit into the handle – it will be firm and solid now and ready to work









Step 4 – Drill a hole about 3/4” deep in your tree



Step 5 – Clean out the hole to remove ‘sawdust’ (you can see the sap in the pic)



Step 6 – Push tube into the hole (here I used tape on the end to give a better seal) you can see the sap already flowing….



Step 7 – Set up your collection container – here I have used a pop bottle



Step 8 – Leave to collect sap :D

In the meantime whittle down a green stick (I used half of the ‘vice’ – waste not want not) to create your plug to fill the hole when you are finished.



While waiting I also knocked out a quick spoon from the other half - it is still a bit rough but it was so green it needs a little drying out till I can finish it



In about 30 minutes I had collected this much so you can see it wouldn’t take long to get a good harvest.



Step 9 – plug the hole, knock in well with your baton and cut flush to the tree





All neat and now the tree won't bleed to death and live to provide for you another day ;)

Step 10 - Enjoy! :D
 
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g4ghb

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Sep 21, 2005
4,152
67
51
Wiltshire
Strewth! - I'm glad that it worked..... it's taken me longer to write the tutorial than it did to actually do it! :eek:
 
At the risk of sounding like a total numpty what do you do with the sap now that you have it?

Rub it into your boots to water proof them. clean acid stains from knife blades, lubricate door hinges ... I suppose now you're gonna tell me to drink it

Ahahahahahahaaaa aa ahhaaha .. ahem :eek:

Oh c'mon? You cannot be serious!
 

g4ghb

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Sep 21, 2005
4,152
67
51
Wiltshire
At the risk of sounding like a total numpty what do you do with the sap now that you have it?

Rub it into your boots to water proof them. clean acid stains from knife blades, lubricate door hinges ... I suppose now you're gonna tell me to drink it

Ahahahahahahaaaa aa ahhaaha .. ahem :eek:

Oh c'mon? You cannot be serious!
lol - oh yes i'm serious! - get it down you boy, it will put hairs on your chest! ;)

I'm sure Betty wouldn't have needed to ask! :p
 

shogun

Need to contact Admin...
Mar 31, 2009
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U.K
i no nothing about sap tapping!! but i do now thanx for that it is a great thread..atb Alza
 

AJB

Native
Oct 2, 2004
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Lancashire
I’ve been thinking about this, and even though I don’t have access to any birch, I feel the acquisition of a drill bit coming on! Silly question, is there anything special about the tube, food grade etc, I assume bog standard B&Q plastic pipe wont taint the sap?

I was also thinking, if I could get hold of an appropriately sized metal bolt up pipe nipple, it could go through the lid of my Zebra billy, it would be a nice sealed system, meaning no bits in the sap and it would act as a little steam vent when it’s being used on a fire.
 

g4ghb

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Sep 21, 2005
4,152
67
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Wiltshire
Excellent post Graham goodjob

Do you think you get much more sap by using the pipe rather than a carved stick ?
I shouldn't think it makes much difference - it just means it is easy and controllable. Plus a clear tube is less noticeable than a billy hanging on a tree ;)
 

g4ghb

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Sep 21, 2005
4,152
67
51
Wiltshire
I’ve been thinking about this, and even though I don’t have access to any birch, I feel the acquisition of a drill bit coming on! Silly question, is there anything special about the tube, food grade etc, I assume bog standard B&Q plastic pipe wont taint the sap?
I don't think it will make much difference as long as it is clean - to be safe you could use tube from a home brewing kit

AJB said:
I was also thinking, if I could get hold of an appropriately sized metal bolt up pipe nipple, it could go through the lid of my Zebra billy, it would be a nice sealed system, meaning no bits in the sap and it would act as a little steam vent when it’s being used on a fire.
Neat idea - I just use pop bottles - if you want to seal it better you can punch a hole through the lid;)
 

forestwalker

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Rub it into your boots to water proof them. clean acid stains from knife blades, lubricate door hinges ... I suppose now you're gonna tell me to drink it

Ahahahahahahaaaa aa ahhaaha .. ahem :eek:

Oh c'mon? You cannot be serious!
My SO claims that drinking a bit each day during spring stops her birch pollen allergies. She freezes some from spring to spring, so that she can start early.