Shake or be shaken: see the big screen

This one's for James Alexander-Sinclair (Blogging from Blackpitts Garden) who was apparently inspired by the automatic compost screeners featured in my "Shake yo' compost screen" post earlier this week. But he wants something "bigger and better," he says. His brain on fire, he is all pumped up to turn his many talents to the question of large-scale screening.

Well, James, in support of your efforts, I decided to share with you these possibilities.

This one's quite cute, and will fit in the back of your pick-up. However, since it has no moving parts, it's not entirely clear how the dirt you dump on top is supposed to make it through the screen (especially a screen at that angle), but I'm sure you'll figure something out: maybe instead of shaking, you can take up jumping. Of course, you can always buy the "Optional Vibrator Package" for a mere $1,400. 

Soil screener new lg

Portable Soil Screener. Portable as in slip it into your back pocket?  The site has a video of it in action. If you have had a very dull day, check it out.

Then there are the Box sifters, a model of simplicity:

This one speaks for itself. A man's machine.

Below, we see one that may have been competing with the little red fellow for Cutest Sifter on the Block prize. Realizing that it would never make it, its designers gave it a name meant to close the gap. People,  meet–


–the "Shaker Buddy." Who could resist? (If you don't believe me about the name, click the link.) I just wish I could tell how much of that stuff off to the left in the photo is actually part of this little buddy. It looks a bit like the spaceship in 2001 going on–and on–and on–

Now, if those are still too small-time, we can move up a grade to the drum sifters, like the one below. For some reason these are called "trommel" sifters, a term uncomfortably close to "trauma"–perhaps a reminder of what you would experience if you unfortunately got caught in the drum, which would pommel and perhaps pulverize you. Come to think of it–


–this one comes with an optional pulverizer.

If you really want to go big-time, check out the fellow below. I was deeply tempted by the offerings in the "Scalper" series, but realized that those were more appropriate on this side of the Atlantic, so finally went with this one:


The Achiever Shredder/Trommel

It's probably a good thing this picture is blurred; if we could see it clearly, we'd have nightmares.

So, James, that's the lot. I figure they'd drive a lesser man to take refuge under his bed, or to drink. But I expect them to drive you outside, hammer in hand, defiant of wind and weather as you fashion the compost screener suprême, the sifter of sifters, the quintessential shaker. Plato, surely, will have to concede, when he sees your construction, that this once an essential form has been realized on earth.

Go for it.

13 Responses to Shake or be shaken: see the big screen

  1. I am choked with emotion that you have gone to so much effort on my behalf.
    I am impressed by these offerings but am currently involved in the construction of the zenith of screens. It involves a Humvee, a sonic oscillator, three domestic blenders, the turntable mechanism from a centurion tank and the combined efforts of twenty-seven generously upholstered Belly Dancers.
    I am going to name it The Manic Riddler in your honour.

  2. i think just the Box 810 will do me actually

  3. Just classic, Kate! I’m glad James appreciated it.

  4. Hi Kate- Love it! I actually thought I liked the one in the video from last. Now I think I gotta get me one of those. I like the traummel.

  5. James–This reminds me of when North Dakota honored Dave Barry by naming a sewage pump station after him. Nonetheless, I stand ready to break a bottle of cheap champagne over the brow of this wonder. Just say when.
    Emma–Perfect. If you’ve got any belly dancers lined up, that screen makes a perfect stage.
    OFB–He’d better.
    Heather The combined Achiever-Shredder? I suspect it of having identity issues, but don’t we all?
    I have a confession: I was so struck by these big sifters when I stumbled over them (it was a day of major bruises) that I ached (those bruises again) to share them. (Misery loves company.) James, with his enthusiastic pronouncements that he was heading for the shop to craft the ultimate “riddler,” merely provided me with an excuse. Sorry, James. But thank you.

  6. Awwwww, shucks!!! And I thought it
    was going to be a post about a cool new garden-related IPhone/IPod Touch app…..

  7. Wow, that is comprehensive! I am impressed but I think I’ll stick to my wee fridge drawer + chicken wire design invented by my dear hubby. Simple and effective (and free!)
    You crack me up girl, thank you, in the midst of yet another breakdown here and need all the light relief I can get. Hugs.
    P.S. I have recently bought a very snazzy new dress and shoes, so when the big day comes, I’m ready for the party. Nothing better than a dedication of a new screen!

  8. So sorry to disapppoint, Krys. Maybe you could post that one?
    Carrie–I, too, am not to be tempted from my old screen. Glad I can lighten the load a bit; sure wish the sun would just shine steady on you.
    I haven’t heard back from James about the champagne day, but when I do I promise to let you know. However, I’d recommend wearing that dress whenever you can; if you wait for James, it might be out of style…

  9. Sadly this delightful post has come to late for me to share with my allotment neighbour. He’s spread 13 tonnes of compost obtained from our municipal composting scheme without sifting it first. As a result he has a lot of bright blue and white plastic bits spread over his entire allotment too as people aren’t that careful in what they throw into their compost collection bin.
    Let that be a warning to us all about the perils of not sifting compost first and go forth and select the right beast for the job without delay.

  10. I am glad to see that someone is treating this issue with the seriousness it deserves, VP. I fear that the levity displayed by some of the commenters above bodes ill for the composts of this world.

  11. If you knew where you were talking about you should not make the comments about small soil screeners. Why would big in this case be better. Not all sides have thousands of yards of soil to be screened. Our screener is totally environmentally friendly and is a great success with landscapers and other businesses. Look us up on our website.

  12. Wow, Klaas. You sound seriously peeved, though I can’t tell with whom. Me, I suppose. Or was this supposed to be funny? I guess I missed the joke.

  13. Great article!

    Some legtimately good options there. As capacities must rise, a larger trommel should be selected – something like the EDGE 622 Trommel Screen, seen at

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