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sifting dirt by hand with milk crate, larger...?

Posted by songwriterjim NH (My Page) on
Sat, Apr 27, 13 at 6:55

Hello everyone, i use a milk crate with the bottom cut out & lined with 1/4" metal screen attached with zip ties. I was wondering if anyone has seen or come up with a better self standing affair with the screened dirt holder is held in a frame suspended by 4 short ropes & i can shovel dirt onto it and shake by hand & the dirt would fall into a bucket rather than break my back holding the milk crate myself.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: sifting dirt by hand with milk crate, larger...?

I made a screen out of two by four, some hardware cloth, and saw horse legs. You have to move the dirt around with your hands, but it works pretty well. Suspending it would work, but the base would have to be pretty solid. I know the police have sifting tables that they use when looking for human remains, but I have yet to see them for sale online.


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RE: sifting dirt by hand with milk crate, larger...?

I was hoping to find some plans online or maybe someone has already built one & has some pics...?
My original version was a shallow rectangular affair made from 2x4's but too much spilled out, hence the switch to a milk crate - it's deeper & has handles!


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RE: sifting dirt by hand with milk crate, larger...?

I like the milk crate idea -- my 2x4 frame, which is big enough to cover the top of my wheelbarrow, is rather unwieldy.

Question -- why cut the bottom out of the milk crate? If the crate's openings aren't fine enough, why not just line it with the hardware cloth?


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RE: sifting dirt by hand with milk crate, larger...?

The milk crate lined with hardware cloth doesn't really work all that well and it's hard work, I've done it myself. Soil is heavy, and will only fall through a screen if it's dry and sandy.


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RE: sifting dirt by hand with milk crate, larger...?

I started out with a 2x4 affair 18 years ago then switched to a milk crate lined with 1/4" 'hardware cloth' (why call it cloth when it's metal wire screening???) years ago without a problem. Dry/wet dirt, crushed stone mixed w/dirt (to recover the dirt) & ripped up grass sections (again, to recover the dirt) and the screening usually lasts me a season, sometimes 2. I'm not gentle...;>)

Yes, it's hard work (but good excersize!) & after 5 operations on my spine (1 on neck , 3 lumbar fusions & 1 to remove broken hardware from the 2nd fusion - a screw into a vertibrae snapped off just below the surface shortly after my 2nd fusion & i walked around for 2 years in agony until i had the hardware removed thereby discovering the broken screw which didn't show up in any scans), i'm just trying to find a slightly easier way to sift dirt...;>)


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RE: sifting dirt by hand with milk crate, larger...?

Finally built!
Now, if it'll just stop raining here, i'll give it a try!

Here is a link that might be useful: Jims Home Made TV Stand Dirt Sifter


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