Magazine article Sunset

Build a Sliding Compost Sifter

Magazine article Sunset

Build a Sliding Compost Sifter

Article excerpt

To get top-quality compost, you need to separate twigs, rocks, and undecomposed vegetable matter from the good stuff. The best way to do that is to use a sifter with a wire mesh bottom. The sifter shown here gets a vigorous workout in Sunset's test garden, but since it rests on a wheelbarrow, it puts little strain on backs and arms.

The sifter consists of two parts: a frame that straddles most wheelbarrows (lengthwise or sideways), and a tray with a bottom made of metal screening. You fill the tray with coarse compost, slide it back and forth in the frame, and dump the leftovers from the tray after the fine compost has fallen into the wheelbarrow.


Our sifter was built with redwood, but you can use fir, cedar, or a pressure-treated wood. You'll need:

6 feet of 1-by-1

10 feet of 1-by-2

5 feet of 1-by-4

16 feet of 2-by-4

46 #6 2-inch drywall screws

8 #10 31/2-inch drywall screws

1 2- by 3-foot piece of 1/2-inch square galvanized metal screen

Galvanized 14gauge staples

2 sturdy metal handles Sandpaper

Clear polyurethane Candle

For tools, you'll need a handsaw, a combination square, a drill, a hammer, a screwdriver, tin snips, and a paintbrush,


Cut the wood according to the dimensions in the drawing. …

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