|Project by chscholz||posted 11-11-2010 12:48 AM||2675 views||0 times favorited||14 comments|
I don’t know about you, but I am not a big fan of the hot composting method. You need to get the carbon to nitrogen ratio just about right and add gallons of water. Too much trouble for something that, given enough time, can be achieve in a more efficient way.
So we started piling up leaves and other organic material in the backyard two years ago, started a new pile last year and moved the old pile. A quick inspection of the old compost pile indicates that there is enough compost already to be used in our fall and the upcoming spring planting.
The first order of business is to separate larger particles from the ready to use compost. “Nothing easier than that,” I thought, all we need is a large sieve some elbow grease and we’ll turn a pile of old leaves into a pile of first-rate compost.
A quick trip to the local Borg: no suitable sieve, no sieves in the local garden stores either!
I think there is an old saying that, if you can’t buy it, you need to make it. I had some course mesh left over from a sieve that I made to sieve pensai soil last year and there are always a few 2×4s in the garage earmarked for one of the many projects that I would like to start.
I must admit, I am not a good woodworker and I don’t like to work with power tools and I don’t believe in glue as structural material. Cutting a basic dovetailed box was not all that difficult. It certainly is not furniture grade joinery but I figure good enough for outdoors tools.
Of course, as it always happens when starting work without a plan, I forgot that dovetails do not transfer force well in lateral direction. Traditional Chinese mitered tenons would have been a much better joint. Unfortunately this is way beyond my skill level and would require much more time than I have available. After all I have to move a compost pile within the next few weeks. To stabilize the frame I added two dovetailed clamps.
In fact this contraption, ugly as it is, resulted in a surprisingly stable frame. No glue, no power tools, not too bad!
The harder problem of course is how to attach the mesh to the frame. Various designs came to mind, none of the feasible for one or the other reason. “I could just mosy over to Lumberjocks and ask the experts over there, surely some one will come up with the ingenious idea that has been illusive to my”, I thought.
That’s when SWMBO entered the garage. “Hey laowei, why don’t you just screw some slats to the bottom of the frame and clamp the mesh between the slats?”. “I only want to use hand tools, don’t want to use glue and I most certainly don’t want to use screws, nails or any such things” I thought to myself, but from the look in her eyes I knew that this was not the right answer. And she was off already getting the power drill a box of drywall screws and a pair of slats. A few minutes later she had already screwed the first slat to the frame securely holding down the mesh.
What can I say, the sieve works like a charm.
the compost is moved and we’ve got a nice pile of first-rate compost, I’ll call this mission accomplished. I’ll go back to the mental drawing board so to speak and think about how to attach a mesh to a frame without nails or screws. But chances are we’ll be using the sieve like it is for a few years before the next major re-design.
Thank you for listening.