Once the frames were all lapped together (4 frames, 4 corners, 2 sides to the joint, 2 cuts per side is 64 different saw cuts just to get the frames up. Whew!), I had to make the top hatches, which were 6 feet long and 4 feet wide. They are constructed in a similar manner: another 32 saw cuts. Then I had to put the braces in on the frames and on the hatches. These are a form of half-lap that, since it’s not on a corner, is also known as a crossing or halving joint. It’s fairly similar to our previous joints on the male end, but the female end requires a chisel and is best cleaned out at the end with a router plane.
As with the corners, they are secured with a weatherproof adhesive, and heavy duty (treated lumber approved) screws. There are six braces so far, and every one of them requires 4 saw cuts. Add another 24 saw cuts to the running total.
Finally, I had to make the doors. There are three doors to this bin agglomeration. The stated idea is that you can flip compost from one bin to the other to aerate it and make it turn from a bunch of kitchen muck into a proper soil amendment faster, as adding the oxygen from aeration increases the rate of microbial activity. Science!
To fit in our 12′ length, our doors have to be slightly less wide than they are tall to make room for the skeletal framework. Not enough to be apparent at a glance, but enough that if you aren’t paying attention, it would be tricky to rework…
Each of those doors, constructed similarly to the frames, has its own set of joints. The middle door has two braces, to account for some hardware mounting issues. So, this adds another 72 saw cuts to our total.
Finally, the frames are cut for the reinforcing spine. This spine is two 2×6’s that are going to be housed inside the frames for better rigidity. This is best handled by clamping all the frames together and doing a gang cut on them. This ensures that they will all be in the same plane. It takes awhile to cut through six solid inches of yellow pine, but do persevere. It’s best in the long run. Again, I cleaned out the bottom with a router plane to ensure accuracy. And this last bit (with another 20 cuts) will wrap up the shop portion of the build. Next time, we’ll start on the field install.
In case you were curious, but didn’t want to count, this project has required 212 accurate saw cuts to get to where we could start really putting it together. Thankfully, I was able to get it done before my saws went on strike for better working conditions…