This morning, I posted how I made maple spiles out of electrical conduit. Now, I would like to show you an easier, cheaper way. Traditional spiles can be made out of any wood with a pith, so I made a couple of spiles out of boxelder. Ironically, boxelder is one of the species of maple that can be tapped for syrup as well, although I am only tapping sugar maple this year. You could also use sumac or elder.Begin by taking a segment of boxelder twig, no more than 0.5 inch in diameter, and cut it off at an angle. Whittle down the cut end to make a bit of a cone. This end will go into the tree.
Next, cut an angled cut a few inches down the branch. This will be the spout.
Using a skewer, twig, or piece of wire, remove the pith from the spile. This will create a channel for the sap to run through.
You will have to push pretty hard, but eventually you will scrape out all of the pith, ending up with a hollow tube.
I made this one a bit too large, for the sake of illustration, but it works just as well with thinner twigs. Now you have an easy (5 minutes), free spile!
The downside to this design is that you have to insert the spile by hand, and can’t use a hammer to tap it in. They didn’t give me any trouble, though. If anyone has tips on how to make these, please let me know.
~The Homesteading Hippy