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
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!