Most ergonomic way to screen gritty soil?

maryartist(10b)March 14, 2014

Hi DIY community!

What's the easiest, most ergonomic way to screen your soil mixes? Like Tapla's square wooden screen "trays"? I like those handles... Maybe shaped like a kitchen strainer? Or shelves in a tub? I wonder how a machine might shake the screens for me...

Let's brainstorm!


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Oxboy555(Las Vegas)

I've never tried it, but I think those half-sphere kitchen strainers might be the best way to go. They both contain and sift. I always have to be careful with a simple flat piece of screen that the saved chunks don't jiggle themselves right off the edges.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2014 at 3:52AM
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I've been using Keene Engineering classifiers, works really well for me. They don't take up a lot of space.


    Bookmark   March 15, 2014 at 6:03PM
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Hi Mary,

Are you asking about a hardware cloth screen for removing the larger pieces, or a fine mesh screen for filtering out the small stuff? If the latter, let me suggest the elfa Wide Mesh 2-Runner Platinum (Item #10022537), which can be ordered here for around twenty bucks. Someone had recommended this on the forum several years back; I got it at the time, and has proved to be an excellent investment! A great tool for removing the sub 1/16" particles, it's very sturdy, and the best part is that it holds a decent bit of material. A real time saver, compared to other techniques I had tried previously.


    Bookmark   March 17, 2014 at 9:17AM
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Thank you, Oxboy, Jerry, and Alex! I went out and bought quarter-inch, half-inch and insect mesh screens at the hardware store, sold by the foot...Just something so that I can start making gritty mix while I figure out which of your solutions to buy online.

~ Mary

    Bookmark   March 22, 2014 at 4:03AM
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Most ergonomic? Reach into your wallet, grab a 20 and pay a neighbor kid to do it.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2014 at 11:00AM
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Ha! YES, charina! I'm still sore from lugging bags of gritty mix ingredients through my building a few at a time every day. Next time, I'm hiring a beefy teenager to do the lifting AND the sifting!

    Bookmark   March 22, 2014 at 4:43PM
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hoovb zone 9 sunset 23

I've seen framed screens suspended from wooden frames on legs, so that instead of having to hold up the screen and shake it, you just swing the frame back and forth within the frame. That way you are not holding up the weight of the screen full of material, just pushing it and having it swing back towards you for another push. Then the screened material drops down below.

This youtube example is not perfect but interesting, you might try a hand-crank or a belt attached to a stationary bicycle (pedal power!) instead of an electric motor. I like how it puts the chunks back into the compost bin and the good stuff into the wheel barrow.

Here is a link that might be useful: example of mechanized compost sifter.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2014 at 5:04PM
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albert_135(Sunset 2 or 3)

Most ergonomic I ever had was an Archaeological Sifting Tools. I made it from a kids swingset, some boards and hardware cloth.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2014 at 3:39PM
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Thanks, keep 'em coming!

Here's a funny one:

And you can just watch the last 15 seconds of this one:

I love this one:

and WOW, this one is impressive!

(...Have I gone too far down the research rabbit hole? Yes.)

This post was edited by maryartist on Tue, Mar 25, 14 at 15:59

    Bookmark   March 24, 2014 at 1:04AM
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seysonn(8a WA/HZ 1)

What "hoovb" described is qualified for "Most Ergonomic". It is a manual "Shaker Screen".

    Bookmark   March 24, 2014 at 6:13AM
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I'm asking because I suffered for several years from too much computer work, and I still have low endurance in my wrists from RSI - carpal tunnel and ulnar tendinitis. This online brainstorm is helping me to figure out the best solution for me to build, as a renter with little outdoor access and no yard.


    Bookmark   March 25, 2014 at 4:51PM
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