Into left field

When we last saw our compost bin project, it was at the end of the shop phase of the construction.  Now, it’s on to the field install portion.  The part I haven’t shown you is loading the multitudinous amount of supplies, from staples to hinges to handles that needed to be loaded.  Nor did I document the rather tedious exercise of carrying all those completed frames and hatches and 12′ long 2×6’s out the back of the garage and around the house to get to the pickup.  Admittedly, it would have been faster to just open the overhead garage door and go out the front, but I sort of have a pile of lumber sitting on it.  Bother…

But when I  did get to the site, the pile of lumber in the truck started to come together.  All of the subassemblies had been marked, so I arranged them in their proper order and attached the rear spine into the recesses we cut last time.  It can get a little precarious at first, but it worked out in the end.  Bringing a few clamps from the shop really helps.

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Once the rear spine was in place, I attached the bottom skids.  These did not get recessed because I wanted them to be below grade.  When you’re emptying the bin, once you get to the skid, you know to stop and not dig a crater under the bin.  Once the skids were in place, I could move the whole bin away from the truck, and into place.  It can take a while to maneuver something this big by yourself, and without breaking things to boot!

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The last 2×6 goes across the top rear of the bin to act as a hinge rail.  This way we can put the stress on the whole 2×6, not just the frame.  Then, hinges go on the hatches and two of the doors.  It’s the middle door that gets a little different treatment.  See, no matter which way we hinged it, it would be in the way during the transfer from one of the other bins.  So I used a pintle hinge.  Remember if you will that we had to make the middle door a little bit differently, with two braces instead of one?  That’s so the female part of the hinge could get bolted  into the brace with a 3/8 carriage bolt, since even the smallest one was longer than the frame was wide.

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Two pintles on either side, combined with a lifting handle, means that the door can be lifted straight up off the bin and placed to the side when you’re rotating bins.  Yet, when the female parts of the hinge are slid onto the male portion that stays in the frame, it is held securely.  This might not seem like a big deal, but each of the bins holds roughly 64 cubic feet of compost.  If you can save a couple of steps on every forkful, every time you turn your compost, it adds up to a lot less work, and less spillage.

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