soil sifting convertible rolling work table

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soil sifting convertible rolling work table

Post  kevin stoeveken on Tue Mar 17, 2015 11:56 pm

i stopped sifting my soils for a while there, but the way i source my ingrediments left me with some very variable particle sizes, ranging from too big to too small...

but sifting can be time consuming when bonsai aint your full time gig...

anyways, after seeing something similar (i believe here somewhere) i was looking around at what i gots on hand and came up with an idea which i executed this past weekend...

when i had my art studio, i had a couple of these cheap shelving units (maybe $20 at harbor freight in the US) that i converted to welding tables as they were made of steel... but they also had shelves which i was now using to do bonsai work on...





so i decided to convert one to a sifting stand, with the option of putting the shelf back in place for working on...
i made 3 sifting frames that nested together with mending plates, attached descending sized screens to each one, bored a hole in each side of the bottom one for a steel pipe to go through for rocking and rolling the sifters, a plastic bag chute to a bucket for the fines and viola... i wont narrate each step, but heres pics that i believe tells the story and feel free to ask any questions...



























tried it out last night and did a helluva lot of sifting in a fraction of the time...
worked great on diatamaceous earth, grit, composted pine bark, pumice, lava...
the bag to the chute wasnt big enough, but i sifted outside, swept up the fines and into the garden they went...


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Re: soil sifting convertible rolling work table

Post  Richard S on Wed Mar 18, 2015 10:12 am

Wow, that's a hell of a contraption! I like it.

I don't need to sift enough soil to warrant building one myself (I only sift bark now) but I can see the appeal. I take it you just put the raw ingredients in the top, agitate it and hey presto! The waste comes out the bottom and your left with three grades of usable soil substrate.

Clever.

Cheers

Richard

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Re: soil sifting convertible rolling work table

Post  kevin stoeveken on Wed Mar 18, 2015 11:14 am

Richard S wrote:I take it you just put the raw ingredients in the top, agitate it and hey presto! The waste comes out the bottom and your left with three grades of usable soil substrate.

as a famous milwaukee native once said:



not as fun as jim lewis' method (because mine takes two hands), but pretty efficient none-the-less.

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Re: soil sifting convertible rolling work table

Post  LanceMac10 on Wed Mar 18, 2015 11:52 am

And if the bonsai thing don't work out for you, pack up the wagon and become a free-lance archeologist!


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Re: soil sifting convertible rolling work table

Post  Rui Marques on Wed Mar 18, 2015 2:16 pm

Very good work on there. Could you please post some photos of the sifted material?

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Re: soil sifting convertible rolling work table

Post  Precarious on Wed Mar 18, 2015 3:31 pm

What is the bar through the bottom box? Is that for agimitation?

I recently bought some pumice online (free shipping, yea!), and it has some variation in size that I can't convince myself is a bad thing, but I can see sifting for the very fine detritus that blocks air pockets. Even that though, doesn't it get washed out in the first few waterings?

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Re: soil sifting convertible rolling work table

Post  kevin stoeveken on Wed Mar 18, 2015 4:49 pm

lance - i'd rather be a freelance gold digger !
or i should say, go back to being a freelance gold digger  Razz

rui - the particles are the same as when using the small hand held bonsai sifters/sieves that are sold commercially, such as these
http://www.bonsaioutlet.com/soil-sieve-set-spx2/
but the particle size is dictated by the size screen you use, so posting a pic would only show you what size screen i used Wink

david - the bar supports all three trays across the open area of the rack, so i dont have to try to hold it up...
when i said i "rock n roll" it, that wasn't just a figure of speech...
i literally rock it up and down and roll it back and forth within the top of the frame...
one could make something smaller that could be hand-held, but i had the rack, so used it...

i used to work under the same theory that the fines will wash out, and mayhaps they do, but too many fines in combo with other factors could cause drainage problems, not in the soil as much as through the screen covering your drainage holes... though i imagine that fines could also clog some features of your other components, such as the tiny holes in lava...

but more importantly i have found that different sized particles tend to settle and stratify, with smaller particles settling down, causing larger ones to rise to the top of the pot...

btw - this thread will act as my poor mans copyright  Twisted Evil   Wink

btwbtw - werent you in the upper 80s yesterday or monday ??? Shocked

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Re: soil sifting convertible rolling work table

Post  Precarious on Wed Mar 18, 2015 5:12 pm

beer city snake wrote:
btwbtw - werent you in the upper 80s yesterday or monday ??? Shocked

Yes, whether it was Western NC, Milwaukee, or even Honolulu (shaka, bra!), we claimed the hot spot. Twisted Evil   (Then we dropped 30 deg the next day, but shhhh, you might scare all the tourists come to see the corn grow.) Razz

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Re: soil sifting convertible rolling work table

Post  Khaimraj Seepersad on Wed Mar 18, 2015 5:25 pm

Kevin,

well done !

If you use a mix with fines/medium/large expect to end up with same thing as casting concrete.

Just finished, putting some 5 mm gravel [ builder's, silica based ] and a little compost on top of a perlite with very little compost mix. Used a mesh to keep the two materials separate.
So now you can water and not get the perlite moving.
Laters.
Khaimraj

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Re: soil sifting convertible rolling work table

Post  Forbes on Wed Mar 18, 2015 5:28 pm

Very nicely done. I too was curious about the bar, until I saw the last pic... my exact thought, "Huh... he really did mean 'rock and roll'..." LOL.

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Re: soil sifting convertible rolling work table

Post  LanceMac10 on Wed Mar 18, 2015 5:48 pm

Kevin had to change up his original design. I believe this was his original incarnation.


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Re: soil sifting convertible rolling work table

Post  kevin stoeveken on Wed Mar 18, 2015 9:21 pm

yeah...

i presumed the poultry preferred to peck out the peewee pieces,
but the persnickety poulet persisted on picking at the perky pecker...

painful. affraid

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Re: soil sifting convertible rolling work table

Post  kevin stoeveken on Thu Mar 19, 2015 11:26 am

Precarious wrote:
beer city snake wrote:
btwbtw - werent you in the upper 80s yesterday or monday ??? Shocked

Yes, whether it was Western NC, Milwaukee, or even Honolulu (shaka, bra!), we claimed the hot spot. Twisted Evil   (Then we dropped 30 deg the next day, but shhhh, you might scare all the tourists come to see the corn grow.) Razz

right on... we had a really nice stretch here too and it was tempting to bring some trees out of the garage, but i resisted and now we are back to reality... still nice out, but more seasonal which is why i instead took the opportunity to build the sifters.

(hows that for a segue to back on topic ? Wink )

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Re: soil sifting convertible rolling work table

Post  Leo Schordje on Tue Mar 24, 2015 10:15 pm

Really neat invention, professional looking, well done. I will be over Friday with a few cubic yards of mix to sift. I love having a friend who knows how to use power tools. cheers

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Re: soil sifting convertible rolling work table

Post  kevin stoeveken on Tue Mar 24, 2015 11:04 pm

sorry leo, but i will be off seeing one of my grandsons...

bring some on the 19th for the next AAC session and have at it !

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Re: soil sifting convertible rolling work table

Post  kevin stoeveken on Sat Mar 12, 2016 3:12 pm

there was some interest in this thing from outside the ibc, so i am just bumping it to make it easier to find...
although with the new subforum categories it seems out of place under members trees,
so fiona, feel free to move it to contemplations (or *gasp* top threads even... if it seems worthy Razz )

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Re: soil sifting convertible rolling work table

Post  Bonsai Jay on Sun Mar 13, 2016 10:30 pm

WOW! Thats what you did to sift your soil!?
I feel not as resourceful now. I drilled some small holes in my daughters Lego bucket, mixed my Akadama, Kyodama and John Inns and sieved it through silent

You inspire me to think bigger and better than Lego Box with holes.

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Re: soil sifting convertible rolling work table

Post  Marty Weiser on Sun Mar 13, 2016 10:52 pm

Very nice sifter. Or if you want to go nuts you can build one like this. The next addition is a conveyor belt so I can shovel the soil on 40 cm above the ground and have it dump it slowly in the hopper at 1.6 m.


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Re: soil sifting convertible rolling work table

Post  M. Frary on Mon Mar 14, 2016 1:52 am

You guys sift substrate components?

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Re: soil sifting convertible rolling work table

Post  kevin stoeveken on Mon Mar 14, 2016 11:55 am

damn marty !!!
mines a tinker-toy compared to that machine !!!

i feel so... so... inadequate Embarassed Razz

and speaking of tinker-toys - jay that was an innovative idea for doing with whats on hand...
but the handheld round sifting screens are pretty cheap and worth it... Wink

which bring me to mike... i wasnt sifting for a while there, but am starting to pay more attention to my substrate and am glad i am going back to sifting... i was being too frugal and now that i am coming up on my 5th growing season, i see the mistake there...

i know you use straight oil-dri and i too still use it as one of 3-4 components, but these were a bit enlightening:

http://crataegus.com/2013/11/24/life-without-turface/

http://crataegus.com/2016/01/11/further-thoughts-on-turface/

(michael lumps oil-dri in with turface)

i have never used turface and in regards to akadama, i find it ridiculous to waste resources on the shipping of something like that from japan to north america... dirt cheap in japan ends up being really expensive by the time it gets here... makes no sense to me Evil or Very Mad

i am now using lava, expanded shale, sifted oil dri and composted aged pine (or chicken grit in conifers)... but i may consider swapping out the oil-dri for pumice, except i hate how white the dri-stall is that is available here.


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Re: soil sifting convertible rolling work table

Post  Marty Weiser on Mon Mar 14, 2016 1:03 pm

I like your system - easy to set up and store. Mine takes at least 30 minutes each way to set up and put away for storage so I only do it when I have a bunch of soil to sieve. I use some smaller hand sieves when I don't need to do much.

To answer M. Frary, Yes, I sieve my substrate components. The reason is that most of the materials contains a wide ranges of sizes that will often compact and lose porosity as has been stated before. On Sunday I was testing a couple of samples of pumice that I purchased locally before the local club gets fully into repotting season. It looks like they both may be available nationally through the right distributor so that may be helpful to some folks. International folks will need to settle for the data. I am not endorsing either product, just providing information.

The sieve analysis was done fairly well, but not up to testing lab standards. The pumice was moist, but not wet which lead to some of the finer particles sticking to the larger ones. The sieve loading on the smaller sieves was more than one particle thick (I did not want to spend all day). and finally, it was a horizontal slide rather than a full vibration motion. As you can see, there was a wide range of particle sizes and the smaller ones will fill the gaps in the larger ones - the +1/16" stuff generally does not wash out very well with the initial watering in my experience. I did not notice much dust, but when dry I would probably have more.


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Re: soil sifting convertible rolling work table

Post  kevin stoeveken on Mon Mar 14, 2016 7:02 pm


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Re: soil sifting convertible rolling work table

Post  M. Frary on Wed Mar 16, 2016 1:32 am

beer city snake wrote:damn marty !!!
mines a tinker-toy compared to that machine !!!

i feel so... so... inadequate Embarassed Razz

and speaking of tinker-toys - jay that was an innovative idea for doing with whats on hand...
but the handheld round sifting screens are pretty cheap and worth it... Wink

which bring me to mike... i wasnt sifting for a while there, but am starting to pay more attention to my substrate and am glad i am going back to sifting... i was being too frugal and now that i am coming up on my 5th growing season, i see the mistake there...

i know you use straight oil-dri and i too still use it as one of 3-4 components, but these were a bit enlightening:

http://crataegus.com/2013/11/24/life-without-turface/

http://crataegus.com/2016/01/11/further-thoughts-on-turface/

(michael lumps oil-dri in with turface)

i have never used turface and in regards to akadama, i find it ridiculous to waste resources on the shipping of something like that from japan to north america... dirt cheap in japan ends up being really expensive by the time it gets here... makes no sense to me Evil or Very Mad

i am now using lava, expanded shale, sifted oil dri and composted aged pine (or chicken grit in conifers)... but i may consider swapping out the oil-dri for pumice, except i hate how white the dri-stall is that is available here.

That's because Hagedorn tried to use organic fertilizer on turface. It doesn't work.
Also it shows how much he knows when he lumps turface and diatomaceous earth together. They are 2 totally different things completely.
If you read Walter Pall's watering and fertilizing system inorganic fertilizers should be used with inorganic substrates. The substrate doesn't matter.
Hagedorn iwas taught in Japan. He will always look down on anything besides kakadama.

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Re: soil sifting convertible rolling work table

Post  kevin stoeveken on Wed Mar 16, 2016 12:07 pm

2 points i agree on mike...

i have not stopped using DT earth... i sifted a sack of napa last nite and as usual, there were a TON of fines, so its obviously worth sifting, especially if using it with other components...

the other is "kakadama" (i like that)... no need to import it when there are other substrates available.

but re: fertilizers, our AAC guy steve, here in MKE, has been doing this for over 20+ years and he uses all inorganic substrate with organic fertilizer (composted chicken shit only) and he has super healthy and vigorous trees...

(and yep - i have watched and recommended walters vids on this matter many times)

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Re: soil sifting convertible rolling work table

Post  JimLewis on Thu Mar 17, 2016 1:31 pm

agimitation?


Say what?

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Re: soil sifting convertible rolling work table

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