Garden Dirt Filter With/Without Legs

Diana Krall – How To Mend A Broken Heart.

So, we’re gonna build a dirt filter. I use it primarily for my garden dirt, which results in heavily aerated, nutrient dispersed, debris free, water absorbing soil; plants love it. Because explaining a quality build absent of precut wood and a drill would be intensive, I’m going to assume you have them, though the following paragraph will give you a start. I’m also providing two builds: one with legs, one without.

You can build it without a drill, using nails instead, but that can critically compromise it’s integrity. You can handsaw-cut the wood, but that requires allot of skill and knowledge. If your cuts aren’t clean, they will compromise integrity. You can build a simple miter box [using youtube tutorials and very little materials], or buy one for ten bucks, to help with cutting. You can use nails to attach the cloth instead of the suggested staplegun, as seen below – they just tear up the frame more.


Tool & Materials list:


Thirty-five+ 3-1/2in decks screws & the associated bit.

Drill with a drill bit of equal or slightly less diameter to the screw shank [not the thread].

Staplegun and fifty or more staples.

Pliers for removing the staples that don’t anchor correctly.

A pencil, some form of square, and gloves are helpful, but unnecessary.

Hardware-cloth with whatever size gaps you want; I suggest ½ inch for filtering bad dirt, and larger gaps for better dirt. The smaller the gap, the more work you’ll have to do. Hardware-cloth can be found at most hardware stores, and some country or department stores. It comes in varying dimensions, in rolls or cut to length. I suggest a minimum of 2 ½ ft by 2 ½ ft, as the larger the cloth, the more work-surface you have; and if a frame with legs is large enough, you can slide a wheel-barrel under it. Keep in mind: the larger the cloth, the more eventual droopage; it’s not a big deal though.

Wood. The dimensions of the frame are determined by the dimensions of the cloth: if [like me] your cloth is 31in by 39in, your wood frame will be 25in by 33in; that requires two beams of 2×4 at 33in and two at 22in [22in, because using butt joints removes 3in from their necessary length] – doesn’t really matter which side you make shorter. The extra 6in of cloth [more, if you want] will be draped over the edges of the frame then stapled or nailed down.


With that wood alone, you can build a functional frame. But, four lengths of 2×4 at approximately 6in, with the ends cut at 45 degree angles, will severely reinforce the frame [bottom right of next picture]. If you attach legs, you can omit the reinforcements: the legs will act as reinforcement.

If you want legs, simply determine the height you’re comfort working at, and cut four lengths of either 2×4 or 4×4. The 4×4 will be more stable, but also more costly/difficult to salvage. If you’ve got allot of 2×4’s, you can always screw them together to make 4×4’s, though remember to prevent screw intersection with the anchor points to the frame, and that they may need planing.


The reinforcements next to the legs [above photo] are excessive, unless you want the alternative use of the table [later mentioned]. In the following picture, you will see the stagger-pattern for attaching the legs, which increases stability. I used 2×4’s and 2×6’s because they were available; this is inideal, because 2×6’s reduces the available space for a wheel-barrel.


 So, for a 31in by 39in cloth, you’ll need:

Two lengths of 2×4 at 33in.

Two lengths of 2×4 at 22in.

[Optional reinforcements] Four lengths of 2×4 at approximately 6in, with 45 degree end cuts.

[Optional Legs] 4 lengths of either 2×4 or 4×4, cut to whatever height you want the screen at – remember that you’ll often use force to push the dirt through [use gloves], so bending over a bit helps with forcing it. And the higher it is, the less stable it is.


Now, we put her together.

First, we align the beams of the frame and drill pilot holes, being sure the butt joints are positioned correctly: the beams with -3in will be sandwiched between the full-length beams. Be sure to align them carefully, and rigidly hold them while drilling; this can be difficult alone, but is manageable, and there are specific tools and methods to assist.


Given the occurrence of knots, it’s safest to drill your pilot holes the full length of the screws. Doing that requires a very long drill bit. Alternatively, holding the boards aligned, you can penetrate the top board completely, and the bottom board slightly, then remove the top board, and deepen the shallow hole on the bottom board.

Remember: you must use a drill bit with equal/slightly less diameter than the shank of the screw, or your screws won’t hold well/split the wood.

With all pilot holes drilled, screw the beams together. Once done, you can either add the cloth [skip a few paragraphs ahead] and be finished, or add the reinforcements/legs. If using the reinforcements, place one in each corner, drill pilot holes following the direction of the reinforcements, then screw them in, then add the cloth. The following paragraphs cover leg-installment.


In the next picture, you see a corner of the frame. I’ve drawn on the positions of the preexisting screws which hold the frame together, aswellas the future position of the 2×4 leg, and my future pilot hole locations [ignore the X]; this is done to prevent screw intersection and general fuck-ups.


The next picture shows the use of C-clamps, which help hold the board inplace while drilling the pilot holes. As earlier stated: you can align the boards alone and without extra tools, but it takes dexterity, strength, and ingenuity. Simple C-clamps might cost you five bucks each.


As before, drill your pilot holes to full depth, then set your screws. The next picture displays that process near completion [with the frame’s screws pulled out for display], as well as my laughably numerous fuck-ups – I like to feel my way through new processes rather than plan obsessively.


Now, whether you’ve chosen legs or otherwise, center the cloth over the frame, and mold it into place by force, bending it down over the edges [see the first and second pictures on the overall post]. The corners will overlap, which is fine – just fold it out of the way, as seen below.

Hammer the cloth flat on one side, then staplegun the metricfuck outta it, then hammer the staples deeper. Repeat that step on the far side, being certain to make the cloth as taut as possible. Then do the other two sides. Once done, you can simply smash down, or clip off, the excess cloth on the corners.

Remember that with nails used properly, as shown in the first picture, your cloth will hold fine. The downside is: when you have to remove old, worn cloth, you’ll eventually run out of room for new nails [simply rip out the old]; and nails merely being there can get in the way of your work. Not a huge concern either way.


Light a cigarette and cackle at the heavens, arms raised in challenge, boasting to the gods of your mastery over “their” realm. Assuming you’ve installed legs, you can also rub that in their worthless faces: fuck someone on it while howling your savage glory.

You can find free [and decent-to-premium] wood in some industrial parks: they often place containers throughout their property, wherein tenants drop all their trash wood. Just act like a fucking adult while taking the wood [not making a god damned mess, you peasant], and you’ll probably be ignored. Habitat For Humanity ReStores also sell used construction materials. And you can often find people simply giving away wood.

So, with salvaged wood, this build cost me a total of 10 bucks: 5 for new cloth, 5 for new screws. I’ll probably add a picture of filtered dirt in the future; right now it’s all soaked.


Now, unlike most dickheads that post recipes, I’ll talk about personal stuff AFTER the recipe – you pricks know what you’re doing. And fuck you if you’re thinking “‘recipes are for food, not builds.” Same god damned thing, you pedantic shit.

Anyway, I have allot of great memories attached to this filter. My Granny once had me put in a garden for her.. it must have been at least 20ft by 25ft. The damn property had been rented by drunks and druggies, so the ground was permeated with broken glass and paraphernalia.

My one-legged French friend and I spent a hell of allot of time on that garden, as it was sod to begin with, and we had to go deep to get healthy dirt. We actually broke the water main in the process, which though problematic, was also hilarious; I think I was the one that hit it. It was also pretty fucking funny watching a one-legged guy use a shovel, cussing in a dense French accent.

Granny loved the damn garden. Loved it. She’d sit sideways, rooting around in the dirt caring for her plants, for hours. Roses were her favorite, but we put in all sorts of vegetables too. From our tomatoes, I made marinara, which the freshness made unrecognizable to store-bought. Gophers got plenty of our other vegetables however, as the supreme dirt was easy to dig through – you can install mesh around the garden/roots.

My Great Uncle, whom I later lived with, was an avid gardener, and I’d help him around the property. When we first started, I kept suggesting we build the filter, as it would severely aid our work. A very competent man with very effective methods, he was used to being surrounded by idiots pushing useless ideas on him, so he wasn’t receptive.

So, I built it on my own, then showed him it’s effects, forwhich he was severely impressed; that screen began building my credibility with him. We later put in a box-garden, a water fixture, and all sorts of other projects; all during a summer that capped at 108 degrees, when I had never previously lived in a climate above 60. A good man, he; though admittedly religious.

Tools Hub



~ by Louis Naughtic on February 24, 2017.

8 Responses to “Garden Dirt Filter With/Without Legs”

  1. Really cool! Thanks for the recipe. I will definitely put one together come thaw along with a compost bin. This makes for great planning. Gardening is the best and I’m looking forward to nurturing some tomato plants from seed and getting my medicinal/culinary herb garden started indoors once I get paid. In the town I’m moving to this spring/summer this is a ReStore that I went to for building materials for my senior capstone film project. I had never heard of such a place before. I got all sorts of great stuff for my apartment, too–wooden boards and cinder blocks for stands and bookshelves, scrap wood for wood-burning projects. Really nifty place. Too bad there isn’t one where I currently live. Thanks again for this post! Looks like it was a lot of fun!

  2. Ha, recipe. Ya, you’re going to be surprised by how bitching this thing is: because people rarely mention in when talking about gardening, but once you use it, you will protect it with your fucking life.

    Ah, which is why I carefully build it using better materials: I want it to last. Ah shit, I forgot to add: the mesh will wear out. Just rip it off, then put another on.

  3. Good to know! Are you going to do any gardening this year?

  4. No, I just built this exclusively for a stranger over the internet. Such arrogance. But seriously: absolutely; my residence already has a large garden in place, though the dirt needs treating.

    I’m glad to have her back in my life – even if I didn’t have a garden to work.

  5. Lols, of course. That’s really cool that there is already a garden plot in place. And now that you built the sifter you are all ready to steward the land! May not be your dream farm at this time, but it’s something!

  6. Well, if you build one, give me pictures. I want to be certain my baby is cared for – and that you don’t go defiling my good name with shoddy work.

  7. Will do, I won’t let you down

  8. You’d be the first.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s