email: cavebear2118 AT verizon DOT com

Friday, June 30, 2017

Compost Bin Onsite, Part 3

The compost bin is finished!  Well, OK, I can add a lid ta keep critters out, but that's not urgent.  Last time you saw it, it looked like this.
The front posts were constructed to form slots down the sides to accept horizontal boards that could be removed for easy access to the contents of the bins.  So the next step was to make the horizontal boards.

I could have just cut boards to length to slide down into the post slots, but allowing air into the composting material is very important.  So I wanted to add spacers between the boards to create gaps where air could get in.

One site suggested using 3" screws sticking out an inch to make the gaps.  I decided they would eventually push into the boards below. So I made 1" wide wood spacers.
 Glued AND screwed, of course...  I want this compost to last 20 years.  The spacers leave plenty of air to get into the composting material.  And the sides and back are all wire mesh, so that is even more air (see the top picture again).
When all the boards were set in place, they sit above the top of the posts.
That was deliberate.  It will make the top slightly sloped back so rain will run off.  The top will be hinged in the back so that I can easily raise it to add or mix the composting material.

I started building the compost bin in mid-May.  The major reason is for making the compost, and I have a LOT of compostable material in the yard), but it was also a labor of love in the construction.  I am no great wood-worker or even a decent carpenter, but I put a lot of technique into this project.

I used tools and jigs I have owned for a decade and never used before.  I deliberately did some things that weren't strictly necessary but improved the strength and future durability.  I overbuilt it in some ways...

Because the first compost bin I built here "fell right over" and it has annoyed me for a decade.  I knew all the mistakes and made sure not to repeat them.

And I loved every minute of building the new one.  I got much better at some routine building techniques and learned new ones.  The tenoning jig was a wonder to use and I am now amazed at my hesitation to use it before!  I developed some new skills of half-lap board connections.  I even finally used my jointer.


And my tenoning jig.

I can now read Sanskrit, can divide by zero, and program in C!  Just kidding...

But I did learn some really good techniques cutting and fitting wood.  And that encourages me to try some indoors furniture.  I think an end table with a floating top will be a good project.  I would like to get into building Arts&Craft style furniture.  Just for me.  I'll never be good enough for selling anything. 

But the compost bin will do for now...

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