A compost screen can be made in various sizes depending on your needs. These instructions are for a screen that measures 15" x 20". Place it over a wheel barrow or box when screening your finished compost. Coarse or incompletely decomposed materials that remain on top of the screen, such as nut shells or twigs, can be returned to the compost pile. The finely textured compost material that passes through the screen can then be used as a top dressing on your lawn or for a seed starting mix. You can use either a 1/4" or 1/2" mesh, depending on how fine a finished material you want.
one - 1"x3"x72" strapping or scrap lumber pieces
2' of 1/4" galvanized mesh
one - 72" quarter-round trim
Handsaw and chisel
Cut 6' of the 1"x3" into four pieces, two at 20" and two at 15". Cut a 1/2" deep and 1" wide (or the width of your strapping) section out of the two 15" ends. Use handsaw and chisel to cut out these four lap cuts. (See detail A)
Make square frame fitting the 20" sides into the 15" lap joints. Put enough carpenter's glue to hold it together, then nail it.
Cut the galvanized mesh to the size of your square and staple it to the frame, or staple your mesh to the frame and then cut around the edges with tinsnips. Try to tension the galvanized mesh so it will not sag when filled with compost.
Once the mesh is secure on the bottom of the frame, nail the quarter-round or 2" strapping over the mesh so it will hold the mesh in place and prevent it from stabbing fingers and hands with sharp mesh ends.
This design sheet was originally produced for the Community Composting Education Program in Seattle, Washington.