Floyd Boyett's Syrup Operation 

Here is a short run down on how I got started in syrup making. I have been playing with old engines and tractors for about 7 years now and making as many shows as possible. About 5 years ago, while a friend and I was checking out a lead on a hit and miss engine, in Newton, Co., Texas, and I was able to get a Columbus #12, the one I operate with James Nash's mule Frank". I am also into genealogy and found out that my East Texas ancestors were syrup makers. About 6 years ago I also was able to purchase 30 acres just south of Kountze, Texas and started fixing the place up to have an operating farm to get an idea of how my ancestors lived. I can tell you now that they had a hard but rewarding life! Any way, I started accumulating farm equipment and things just started falling together. I joined Power of the Past and the David Bradley Club. (I just retired 3 years ago as a service technician for Sears, Roebuck & Co.) I met a couple from Silsbee, Texas, Fred and Linda Miller, and they had been making syrup for a number of years. They invited me to help them and they also gave me my start of cane. Then a couple of my gardening buddies want a start of cane and they have joined me in making syrup at my farm. We are all in the learning stages, this may last for quite a few years, but we have been making pretty good syrup the last few times. We are getting brave and making thicker syrup lately. Just last week we tried the thermometer method at 226 F. and that turned out very good. We were also trying the foam method but chickened out at the 226 F. temp and did not get to see the foam fall completely. The next time I'm going for total drop or 228 F.

 As for as the equipment in the photos, it is mine. I have a #12 Columbus mule mill that Frank operates. That's the mule not the man. The mill with the 4 ft. flat belt pulley is a #11 Columbus that was factory equipped the way you see it in the pictures. It is a real crowd pleaser and I like using it. (Just got it out of Buna, Texas this last year.) The other mill, on the trailer, is a #13 Columbus that I got from a widow in Beaumont, Texas. Her husband had converted it with an angle drive and Vbelt pulleys. I have an 80 gal. and a 40 gal. Chattanooga Plow Co. dish and a homemade 75 gal. stainless steel vat fired with propane. We use the stainless vat the most because it seems to make the best syrup and we can control the heat easier. It does cost a lot for the gas though! 


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Cub belted to mill Farmall "Cub" belted up to the Columbus #11 cane mill

Columbus #12 Close up of mill.  This is an original combination mill.

Starting early. An early start.  Good friends Bo Clark, left feeding the mill and James Nash taking off the bagasse.  Some of the cane was 14 feet long after heading!

Feeding the mill Another view of the grinding.


Vat and furnace The stainless steel batch pan, left, holds about 75 gallons of juice.

Detail of burners. The burner is nothing more than a 3/4" pipe with 4 holes drilled in it. I tack welded tubing (top fence railing) over the holes for the venturi. It does a fine job.

Bo and James skimming. Left: Bo Clark and James Nash skimming. Photo taken from product end of vat.

Boiling syrup Isn't that a pretty sight?

Checking the syrup Here I am testing the syrup.

Converting a Columbus #13 Mill.

This set up works fair. The problem I have with it is that the small 3" pulley on the angle drive does not have enough surface contact area and if I set the mill tight the belt will slip on this small pulley. I had a 7" pulley to start with and it would not slip but it ran the mill too fast. If I had a John Deere H to run it with I could go back to the 7" pulley. The pto of the H would be slow enough to operate the mill at the correct rpm's. The pto's on the tractors I have are all too fast for the larger pulley to be used. I am thinking of reworking this rig and running it with a 7 HP Wisconsin, that has gear reduction, and making it a self contained portable rig.

Columbus 13                              Columbus 13                           Columbus 13

To go to a great page on our Fall Syrup Festival by John Bailey

Thanks For Visiting!

Floyd Boyett  mailto:floydandbobee@copper.net


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