|Project by Scott R. Turner||posted 08-31-2010 04:25 AM||2837 views||8 times favorited||5 comments|
This dual compost bin was one of the summer projects this year. I’m posting it partly because I don’t see any other compost bin projects here at LJs.
The design was based on this project at the Lowe’s website. My version had several modifications. First, I eliminated the floor; it seems counter-intuitive to build a compost bin that holds the compost away from the earthworms and other bugs of the soil. Second, I used 4/4 lumber for the slats; it seemed like expensive overkill to use 5/4 lumber for those parts. Third, I replaced the middle joist in the bottom frame with a header running the other direction (see picture); I thought the joist unnecessary since I wasn’t adding a floor, and it would make it harder to shovel compost out of the bins. Fourth, I eliminated the carriage bolts to attach the posts to the bottom frame and just nailed them in; this seemed simpler and just as sturdy to me.
These changes impact the design in a couple of ways. First, you’ll have to space the back slats more than 1/4” apart since they now have to reach all the way to the ground. (Or you could add another slat.) I added hardware cloth to the back walls as well, since the gaps were bigger. Second, the side runners for the front slats will be too wide if you use the recommended 2×2 spacers. Instead, use a 1×2 along with a thin Masonite or similar strip. Third, you can avoid buying the 2×6 lumber for the floor. I also ended up with excess 2×4s, so you may want to check that part of the material list.
The gardening community seems divided about whether it is safe to use treated lumber for compost bins. I chose to use treated lumber for the bottom frame (where the bin is in contact with the ground) and regular grade lumber for the rest. Everything got two coats of primer and two coats of exterior grade paint.
A couple of tips about the build. First, I attached the hardware cloth with a staple gun. If you’re going to do it the old-fashioned way with fence staples you’re in for a day’s worth of work. Also, 3/4” fence staples will come through 4/4 wood, so be careful about where you attach. Second, the assembled bin weighs quite a bit. You’ll need two people to move it, or you might want to do the final assembly in place (as I did). Finally, I don’t recommend the barefooted drilling technique being demonstrated by my son in the above picture :-)
Hope this proves helpful to someone!