A sense of eartherealness

No, I haven’t faded. In this wonderful world where digital commitments are worth the paper they are printed on, a lot of people can dip in and out of their online presence.   Too easy are the methods to distract us from following through.  (Oh, look, a text message.  This is hard so i think I’ll peruse Twitter.  I don’t feel like thinking so I’ll play a turn-based global strategy game interacting with people across the globe.)

Reality often is that we will find things other than what we ought to be doing because of a couple reasons.  In my case, the biggest is fear.  Primarily in the form of screwing up.

Yesterday, i put up a photo of a line being scribed and a hole location marked.  (This was on Twitter, which I consider linked to my page here even though it isn’t yet.) For those who missed it, here it is.

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Marking the location for the screws. Predrilling the hole reduces the chance of splitting the wood.

What this photo is a part of is a dirt sifter i have been meaning to makr for a while.  What’s a dirt sifter, you ask? Basically, it is a small frame with a screen on it to dump dirt onto.  The dirt clumps fall through, and items too large for the holes in the screen remain.  Since i do some container gardening, this will let me quickly process soil at the beginning or end of the growing year, separating stones and stalks from dirt and soil.

The frame is designed to rest across the tub I use for “raw” soil.  Whether i get it from a bag or a shovel from the ground, this tub holds it until i need it.  The screen resting on the top lets me pour dirt onto it, sifting out things that don’t belong, so the soil tub can be ready to go quickly.

I have two more screens planned, of reducing hole sizes, to help in this process.  (We’ll have a temporary place for this dirt to go after screening, so it doesn’t mix with the tub dirt right away.)  This project, though, is the initial screen.

There are several elements to consider for this project.  All of them can be done in five minutes each, or you can rush through and build a couple in five minutes.  If you want this to last several seasons, it will need to be weather resistant.  The screen also needs to be attached by durable means.  And care will need to be taken on the grips, so it is smooth to the hand and somewhat resistant tk the dents and dings of shovels full of moist earth.

Of course, i chose regular pine 2x4s for this project.

(The joke is that the material is pretty much the opposite of what is needed.) Cost was a large factor in my decision.  Also important was the fact that I have the tools to work with construction grade lumber and do not need specialty saws, blades, or masks.

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Parts waiting

I cut the frame using a hand saw, but you could do this with power tools if you like.  The dimensions do not have to be precise at this point, but the closer they are now, the less work later to even them out.  The handles are longer than the middle pieces, and will have about a third cut off and shaped into a pleasing form.

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All the sides being gang-prepped for drilling.  The shape of one handle can be seen on the corner of the middle stack.

Now, I did not finish this last night.  (Mostly because I have misplaced my staple gun.) But the first will be completed soon, and this project was more intended for me to get back into the workshop and start making some serious sawdust.

For me, it has been longer than i care to admit.  And I have been missing the process.  So, even if I have just five minutes between research papers, let’s see what we can get done.

There are some shortcuts I took here, that I will not be taking on other screens.  For example, in the framework, I used drywall screws.  They were the first ones i could find, but not the appropriate screws.  Secondly, the holes have not been countersunk.  And simple hand pressure was used to hold the pieces together, so gaps formed.  This can be corrected before the next stage, so it is not a problem.  Just letting you know what i did, so you aren’t surprised if it looks different next entry.

(By the way, there have been several recent aquisitions to the FiveMinute shop.  So pardon me while I learn how to use them effectively.)

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