Introduction: Fit an Adjustable Floor to a Wheelie Bin Firewood Container

240L wheelie-bins are great for moving and storing a few nights-worth of firewood, but are difficult for shorties to get the last bits out of. Here's a way to deal with that.

Given that the bin is only needed in fire season, there may be a summer use for it: what are your ideas?
  • put packs of ice in the bottom for a BBQ cool-store (as supplies are used, the rest is easy to reach by raising the board)
  • store potting mix for the spring to autumn planting season
  • use the bin for garden refuse collection for wheeling to the compost bin
  • make a nesting area for your chooks (chickens)
  • ...

Step 1: Materials and Tools

240L wheeliebin
MDF fibreboard or plywood (in my case 20mm thick MDF)
6mm rope

something of similar radius to the inside corner of the bin
pencil or marker pen
round file or some sandpaper

Unknown: I had all materials and tools already to hand.

Step 2: Mark, Cut and Drill Floorboard

Measure the width and depth of the bottom of the bin and transfer those dimensions to your timber. The MDF sheet I had was serendipitously the right width, so I only needed the front-to-back measurement. In these photos I only measured the very bottom of the bin so there is quite a wide gap when the board is raised. Next time, I would measure just above the axle step and sacrifice a bit of storage space.

Use something with a similar arc to the inside curve of a front corner of the bin to mark two arcs in what will be the front corners of your board. In my case, this was a roll of electric fence* wire. In an upcoming short Instructable I'll show you another method for transferring this curve.

Cut out the shape. A jig saw is easiest for this.

Drill a hole in each corner that is large enough for a snug fit by your rope. Don't put the holes too close to the edges.

* New Zealander Doug Phillips invented the non-shortable electric fence in 1962.

Step 3: Cut a Notch on Both Sides

The notch could come to a sharp point at the top, but I was worried about wear on the rope. Given that the only real strain on the rope is when the floor is raised and is only carrying less than half the firewood, most of this step is probably irrelevant, but anyway...

Halfway along the bin lip on one side, make two cuts that nearly join each other and reach no more than halfway up the lip. The remainder of the lip is needed to hold the knot you will tie.

Break out the flap you've just made.

Use a file or sandpaper to smooth out the notch point.

Repeat this on the other side.

Step 4: Fit the Ropes and Tie the Knots

Cut two lengths of rope. Each length should be about two and a half times the height of the bin. This allows for doubling the rope and tying the knots.

Feed each end of the ropes through the holes in the floor (one rope per side) and tie a stopper knot like a thumb knot, or better, a figure eight.

Lay the floor inside the bin, then pull one of the ropes until the floor is within easy reach of the shortest person who will collect the firewood. Hold the rope so that your forefinger is at the top of the notch. Tie a thumb knot with your other hand - don't move the position of your forefinger! - and ease the knot tighter without making it move past your forefinger. Do the same on the other side so that the board is level inside the bin. You may need to adjust one of the knots. If you need to change the height of the board later, it is simple enough to loosen, move and re-tighten the knots.

Lower the floor to the bottom of the bin and repeat the process with the loop end of the ropes. I tied mine with the floor just slightly above the bottom so there was a little bit of tension on the rope once the firewood was in - this keeps the ropes snugged into the notches.

Step 5: Raise the Floor

Once the firewood is below easy reach, simply take hold of the inside knots, pull them up, and fit them into the notches.

Remove the remaining firewood with ease and comfort.

Step 6: Remove Wasps From Base of Bin

While tipping the bin over, just before taking the photos for Step 5, I nearly put my hand on the paper-wasp nest that had appeared over summer. Here is the quick and humane* way of removing it as taught to me by my young stepsons some years ago. Flame and an aerosol can. Beats a slow death by pesticide.

Naturally it can be dangerous, generates a lot of heat, and is not recommended by me. If you damage yourself, others or materials after this warning, you only have yourself to blame.

Please don't go around destroying paper-wasp nests because you can: they play an important role in pest control.

* (the wasps die very quickly)