I have a pile of leftover driveway gravel (about a pickup bed full) that I'm
planning on recycling
for french drain filler, but it's very dirty and full of sediment. I
spent most of the afternoon trying to spray it clean with a garden hose,
but I wasted a massive amount of water, and I didn't get very far.
I eventually began raking out about a third of a wheelbarrow load at a
time and washing just that, which seemed to go faster than trying to
tackle large amounts at once, but it's still going to take a while at
I think the best solution would be to build a washing frame out of 2x4s
and some fine wire mesh to hold the gravel while allowing the sediment
to be flushed out through the bottom, but I'm not really dealing with
such a large pile that it warrants taking the time to make a trip to the store,
roll of mesh, and build the frame.
I've also read where some people used composter drums or concrete mixers
to roll and wash their gravel, but neiter of those are at my disposal.
Anybody know of faster way of getting it done?
Rake it out on a solid surface, let it dry, and hit it with a leaf
blower? The fines should take flight before the gravel chunks do. It'll
take a little practice, like blowing leaves out of garden without
blowing out the mulch.
But a screen box and a wheelbarrow is the traditional way to do it.
Hardware cloth is what you are looking for- you may not even need a
frame, just a wheelbarrow. Bend it over the top, and hold in place with
bungee cords. Put a shovel on, shake, and then scrape the 'clean' gravel
off the other side. Once barrow is full of fines, take it out back and
dump it. If you can get the pile dry, you don't need to use water- it'll
separate clean enough.
Or just give it away on CL or freecycle, and have a short load of washed
gravel delivered. It ain't expensive. All depends on what your time is
Your are correct. I hate all things French.
In fact, right after the first Gulf War, I found myself in line at the
market when a gong went off.
"Congratulations!" said the clerkette, "you've just won a free loaf of
Randall's famous French Bread!"
"I don't like the French," I said. May I have a loaf of San Francisco
Sourdough bread instead?"
"Er, no. I don't have any sourdough bread."
"Mexican cornbread, Greek Pita Loaf?"
"I've got this French bread right here," the clerkette said.
Fearing this episode would turn into a poor imitation of the Monty Python
Cheese Shop skit, I asked of the six or so people behind me: "Anyone want a
free loaf of perfidious French bread?" One chap meekly raised his hand.
"Give it to that guy" I instructed the clerk.
She set the bread aside, took a breath, and got back on message. "Would you
prefer paper or plastic?" she asked.
"I don't care," I said. "I'm bisacksual."
She lost it.
Mustard guys were from NY-- drain guy was from Massachusetts.
In 2003 they put out a news release telling folks they were not French
Go ahead and build a screen. I made one, and it has come in handy on lots
of occasions. If you're going to spend the time to dig a French drain, do
it RIGHT the first time, and use clean gravel. If you're concerned about
getting the dirt out of it, it must be pretty dirty. Don't settle for 50%
runoff or a clogged French drain.
Heart surgery pending?
Read up and prepare.
Learn how to care for a friend.
get a shopping cart, flip up the hinged back panel, and toss the gravel in by
the shovelful. if you need to retain a finer size stone, add the appropriate
sized wire mesh. when this gets tedious, pretend you're a fireman on a
Don't WASH it, sieve it. Make a 2 x 4 frame about 2 feet by 6 feet, tack
some wire mesh on it sized to the size of stone you want to keep. Set it up
at a 45 degree angle and shovel the gravel against it at the top. By the
time the gravel has rolled down the wire mesh, it will have lost enough of
the fines to make it clean enough to use in your French drain. Be sure to
clean up the fines that drop through the screen to keep them from plugging
the mesh at the bottom of the slope. This method can go real fast if two or
more are working. One to throw the gravel at the top of the mesh, one to
remove the fines, and one to claim the screened gravel that you want.
That works fine for readying stone for the french drain. When you
need to wash it is when you are using it as aggregate in concrete and
the fines are organic - soil instead of pure sand.
We washed about half a yard in Burkina to make concrete for the base
of the water system - using the screaning method with a hose, 5 gallon
pail at a time. Kept the kids occupied (young teens at the time)
replying to ShadowTek, Bill in Palmyra wrote:
I used a cement mixer. Throw about 2 buckets of gravel in there, turn it on,
spray water in, shut off and pour off the dirty water, repeat about 3 times.
Did about a ton of gravel in an hour and a half.
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