I am going to build a compost sifter. It will be a shallow box
three feet long and two feet wide with wooden sides and a hardware
cloth bottom. I bought two five foot long, five inch wide, redwood
fence boards for the sides. I have a circular saw.
Should I miter the ends of the sides, or would a butt joint be
adequate? Should I use steel corner reinforcements? Should I put
the hardware cloth on the outside of the frame or on the inside?
Thank you in advance for all replies.
Whenever I hear or think of the song "Great green gobs of greasy
grimey gopher guts" I imagine my cat saying; "That sounds REALLY,
REALLY good. I'll have some of that!"
Redwood seems like a waste to me. I made mine out of pine 2x4 butt jointed.
I stapled mine to the bottom of the frame and covered the edges with some
scrap 1x stock.
If you use the 1x stock I would add the corner braces. Butt joint will be
stronger than miter in this case.
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No need to use expensive redwood, I used regular 2x4 lumber and made
it so it sits over my wheelbarrow. I used rabbet joints on the
corners secured with waterproof wood glue and two long deck screws in
each corner. Butt joints are weak. Cut hardware cloth slightly
smaller than the outside of the frame and nail a wooden strip over the
hardware cloth edge. The hardware cloth may need to be replaced some
day. My sifter is 20 years old, still going strong.
I used 2x4s, which probably gives a stronger joint. Leave stubs on the ends so
two people can lift it easily, for shaking or moving, thus butt joints. The
sifting area should be slightly smaller than your wheelbarrow.
Wrapping the cloth up the outsides an inch or two will make a much stronger
attachment. Store it out of the rain and off the ground, and it will last
Butts will be stronger than miters.
Wrap the screen around the bottom, and staple. Then cover the fabric on the
bottom with 1 by strips so when you sit the sifter down, you're not sitting
it down on the cloth. I would put outside corner braces on it. I would
also use through bolts on the braces instead of screws, as screws will work
out faster. You can build one a lot simpler and cheaper, but build a hefty
one, and it will last longer, and you won't have to stop and repair it every
time you want to use it.
I have one made out of a commercial rock separating screen. Heavy, heavy,
heavy, but nothing phases it, and it will last longer than I will.
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