Sugar Shack




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

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

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

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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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    67 Discussions


    4 months ago on Introduction

    Beautiful finish! I don’t have maple trees around the vicinity of my home so I reckon this gem could be a great hideout too. The kids would love to have a space of their own away from the main house too. This beats a treehouse, anytime!


    5 months ago

    Ma cabane au Canada, tapie au fond des bois, y'a des écureuils sur le toit....
    Beautiful sugar shack, thanks for the tutorial.


    5 months ago

    Wow! This is way better-constructed sugar shack than any I've seen. I think you took more pains than you needed too, but you enjoyed doing it. Lots of air leaks are an advantage as you will find out.
    You could probably build a better stove for boiling. You want a pan with as much surface area as you can muster both for surface to evaporate from and surface exposed to the fire. Your stove is designed to heat the room.
    To keep your chimney from rusting away, just take it down and store it inside. You only need it up for a couple months a year.

    1 reply

    Reply 5 months ago

    Thank you ... and I all agree with you about your comment ! I'm looking foward to change my stove and replace it by a real evaporator ... Alway's place for improvement !

    Penolopy Bulnick

    6 months ago

    This is a great looking little sugar shack :)

    How has the season been going for you so far? How much sap are you able to cook on that stove at a time?

    1 reply
    Simon_CloutierPenolopy Bulnick

    Reply 6 months ago

    Thank you for the comment !
    I'm still collecting the Sap this week and next week before boiling it. Hope I will get around 150 liters. I should be able to boiled it in one day with my little setup ! A fire that will last for around 15 hours!
    I should end up with about 4 liters of maple sirup ! Not much I know. ... but a lot of fun !


    8 months ago

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

    9 replies

    Reply 6 months ago

    OMG!! Really?? Maple syrup water?? Running down a tree? And that lady has some in her front and back yard?? Im just going lose my mind! I love maple syrup!! Oh this would give tree hugging a whole new meaning, there must be kids everywhere lined up under the trees.
    Um so where exactly is this place?


    Reply 6 months ago

    Hi ! There's maple trees a lot in Canada and in the North of the USA. But here in the Province of Québec in Canada, we produce 70% of the maple sirup around the world !


    Reply 8 months ago

    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 :


    Reply 7 months 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.


    Reply 7 months ago

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


    Reply 7 months ago

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


    Reply 8 months 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


    6 months ago

    Is that black chimney pope holding up for you? I heard it if for interior use. I’ve been debating on using it because it is cheaper than stainless steal, but people say it rusts. How much did it cost you for The Who chimney setup? Thanks!