My sifter was scrapped together in an afternoon. Even though it’s not real easy on the eye it functions quite well. I’ve put thousands of pounds of dirt through it and it’s still holding up.
Step 1: The Base
Step 2: The Tray
The tray sides are made out of 1x4s screwed together with metal angle brackets in the corners. The screen is 2 layers of hardware cloth one with 1/2″ holes and one with 1/4″ holes. The 1/2″ cloth is to provide support to help hold the weight of the dirt.
After you have screwed the sides together place the tray face down and lay the hardware cloth on it. Take some strips of 1.5″ wide x 3/4″ thick wood (or plywood) and screw them into the bottom of the tray. Make sure the screws go through the holes of the screen.
The handles are 16″ pieces of 2×2. I used an angle grinder with a sanding disk to shape them so that they would fit comfortably in my hand. Use 3″ screws to attach them to the bottom of the tray. I had them screwed in the sides for the first year but eventually they failed and ripped out chunks of wood from the sides of the tray.
Drill a 1/2″ hole about 3″ in from the end to slip the cord through. I like to use reinforced clothesline. It holds up the best. I also wrap the ends in tape to make an eyelet. This helps with wear as well as keeping the cord secure on the corner posts.
The cord is just tied in a circle with the ends poked through the holes in the tray. Set the length so that the tray sits about two inches above the base crossbar. This way it won’t bang into it while you are sifting.
The handles should rest on the crossbar on the other end. They keep the tray stable as you are filling it.
Step 3: Using It
You’ll be amazed at how nice your dirt looks after a trip through the sifter. Your plants will thank you too!
If you like projects there's plenty more at our site: Mike and Molly's House where we chronicle our Mighty Projects on our Mini Farm (AKA our backyard).