We still use firewood in our evaporator. Using wood is beginning to seem a bit pioneer like but we stick with it for two reasons. One, it reduces our out of pocket fuel costs both to make syrup and to heat our home and hot water to just a hundred to two hundred dollars a year for gas and saw chains etc. Combine that with our solar power which provides all the electricity we use over the year and the total fuel cost to make maple syrup is practically zero for us.
Using wood for fuel also forces us to get in the woods and thin out the woods. This removes dead and dying trees and also makes room for younger to trees to develop more leaf area by spreading out on top. Trees with big leaf areas rather than “toothbrushes” on top produce sweeter sap.
Maple evaporators use firewood pieces that are very long (about 30 inches). Normal wood splitters are often only good for shorter logs. Our splitter uses a conical screw that rotates. The screw spins and actually burrows into the log and splits it as the log is drawn up the screw. While the moving screw must be kept clear of loose clothing etc. this splitter can split any length wood and is ready to split the next piece as soon as you remove the split piece. Normal hydraulic splitters need to be reset after each split. I don’t recommend this splitter for everyone but it is an interesting alternative.