Sunday, October 19, 2008

Building some sifters for cleaning natural clay.

This afternoon my wife was not up for dealing with the two boys, so I elected to take them around with me. I wanted to make a couple of 1 foot square sifters for cleaning natural clay. The first batch I made with an undersized six inch round kitchen strainer, and it made the chore so much more tedious than needed. Christian's leg was still bothering him, so I still needed to carry him. I took the boys out for a trip to the hardware store and bought a small box of two and one half inch long deck screws, some quarter inch steel mesh, and some steel window screen material. Christian was able to ride around in the cart without being in pain, which helped in trying to look for the pieces I needed. I also picked up some cheap safety goggles for the boys so they could hang around while I used the power tools.

I had a couple of scrap two by fours that were taken from the basement in a recent remodeling which worked well. After trimming out the bad parts and making them square in the power miter box there was enough for the eight box sides I needed. I also decided to mortise a simple interlocking joint for a little extra strength. Rane enjoyed helping make the mortise joints, while I held the wood chisel in the right place. Then it was a simple matter of three screws per joint, and checking it for square. I stretched the screen out the best I could, but being only a foot square there is not much stretching needed. For the under side covering the screen, I probably over did it, but I used some scrap half inch by 1 inch redwood bits that were from a broken outdoor table. I held the drill while Christian pulled the trigger on the variable speed drill to screw down the screen with one inch long screws every 1 inch to insure that the screen would not slip out.

All went as planned, and I had to go dig out a pickle pail full of clay to test it on. I did the heavy screening and decided to wait for the fine screening until tomorrow. As a bonus I decided to clean up the clay slip mess I made yesterday and found I could salvage about half of that batch. I mixed it with some of the drier stuff from today to make it easier to move around. It will need to be slaked and cleaned again however, so I'll add that to my list of things to do tomorrow.

No comments: