does anyone screen their own soil?
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Thread: does anyone screen their own soil?

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    does anyone screen their own soil?

    We are digging up stumps and rocks from around our cabins, and we are going to need cleanish fill to help level spots. We've got 20 acres of woods that we can get fill from, but as this is going where a lawn is, we'd like to keep larger rocks out. Does anyone have experience screening their own dirt like this? I was thinking of building a frame and using 2x4" mesh fencing, and dumping a bucket load of dirt at a time on it, but I'm not sure how well this would work.

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    Quote Originally Posted by lewisc1985 View Post
    We are digging up stumps and rocks from around our cabins, and we are going to need cleanish fill to help level spots. We've got 20 acres of woods that we can get fill from, but as this is going where a lawn is, we'd like to keep larger rocks out. Does anyone have experience screening their own dirt like this? I was thinking of building a frame and using 2x4" mesh fencing, and dumping a bucket load of dirt at a time on it, but I'm not sure how well this would work.
    I've done it several times almost like you describe here. Two x four frame with 1/2" square open mesh is sufficient. Smaller screen like 1/4" generally will clog up. You can put the screen on a table top that you design so that it can be rocked back & forth and/or bumped so the dirt falls thru the screen. The other method would be to just put the frame on an angle of about 45 degrees & then using a shovel just throw the dirt into the screen. This usually requires you to pick up the droppings at the bottom of the screen & re shovel it. Lot of back breaking work but good results.

    If you have a lot to do, suggest you search on google for a set up to build something like a slew box used for gold mining. In other words you want to build a motorized table. Use a low RPM motor or gear one down. Put on a pulley attached to an eccentric linkage that will allow the screen table to wiggle back & forth. Make it all up from junk parts & a motor. A washing machine motor would work with the right sized ratios of the pulleys to slow it down. That's all I can say. Of course the alternative would be to buy pre screened top soil. Sometimes paying the price can be worth it. You did not say how much you need. Good luck. I don't screen no more, I got smart & lazy at the same time.

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    My kingdom for a trommel screener!

    I've thought about this ALOT because my entire lot is a mix of sand, gravel and boulders. If I had the equipment to do it I'd love to take off the top 2' of soil and screen all of it. I'd need something with a lot more capacity than anything I could build though.

    The 2x4's and 1/2" hardware cloth things work fine for a couple of cubic yards worth of dirt. I dunno that I'd want to do much more than that though. If you are only worried about the bigger stuff you could probably get away with using something like the goat panels that Tractor Supply sells. Those have a 4"x4" mesh and use pretty heavy wire.
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    I had been looking at the rotating type, but unfortunately, there wont be power near where we would be grabbing dirt from... Oops. That's why I was kind of liking just a screen to dump through.

    I think 4x4 might be too big as we live in a place with lots of glacier deposited rocks, and there's a lot of it.. Haha

    Also, would you guys recommend doing it by the front end bucketful, or using the backhoe?

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    I can give you a name when I get home of a co. That is making a rake that attachrs to your existing bucket. Get you down to 3 in.

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    Quote Originally Posted by John Deere 1025R TLB View Post
    I can give you a name when I get home of a co. That is making a rake that attachrs to your existing bucket. Get you down to 3 in.

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    Sure, that sounds interesting!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Maddog View Post
    I've done it several times almost like you describe here. Two x four frame with 1/2" square open mesh is sufficient. Smaller screen like 1/4" generally will clog up. You can put the screen on a table top that you design so that it can be rocked back & forth and/or bumped so the dirt falls thru the screen. The other method would be to just put the frame on an angle of about 45 degrees & then using a shovel just throw the dirt into the screen. This usually requires you to pick up the droppings at the bottom of the screen & re shovel it. Lot of back breaking work but good results.

    If you have a lot to do, suggest you search on google for a set up to build something like a slew box used for gold mining. In other words you want to build a motorized table. Use a low RPM motor or gear one down. Put on a pulley attached to an eccentric linkage that will allow the screen table to wiggle back & forth. Make it all up from junk parts & a motor. A washing machine motor would work with the right sized ratios of the pulleys to slow it down. That's all I can say. Of course the alternative would be to buy pre screened top soil. Sometimes paying the price can be worth it. You did not say how much you need. Good luck. I don't screen no more, I got smart & lazy at the same time.

    Or, you could just securely attach a high rpm motor to the frame, then get a 3" thick solid round chunk of metal. Cut it in half across the middle and put it on the output shaft of the motor.
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    Here is a video I found on youtube of guy screening topsoil. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xb_fLo1NZX8
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    soil screener

    the best screener I have yet to see on u-tube is the one that bob keeland built from new finland, Canada, same area where Paul Short lives that does all the u-tube videos. it was built out of odds and ends that he had around the house and out of wood and it it skakes yet to boot, check it out, big jim

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