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I finally built that coal sifter I've been wanting....

Post in 'The Gear' started by ScotO, Jan 28, 2013.

  1. ScotO

    ScotO Guest

    After having over a week of solidly cold weather (finally), I had to empty the firebox out last evening, the ash and coals were really getting deep. I've found when you burn lots of locust, and burn it hard, the coals like to last alot longer that some woods, and that can be a problem for reloading when you want to get the temps up quicker. Coals get covered (and smothered) with ash, which in turn insulates the coals and they last a really long time (sometimes days). I whipped up the idea for this sifter hoping that if I sifted those big coals up and out of the ash bed, that they would burn off better and allow me to empty just the ash when I needed to. And it does that job perfectly....

    I had some expanded metal (heavy duty stuff, not the metal lath you use on parge coating or plaster work), some scraps of heavy guage sheet metal laying around, and an old el-cheapo fireplace shovel that I used the handle off of. So I pieced my experimental sifter/shovel together...

    2013-01-27_18-51-53_325.jpg 2013-01-27_18-52-02_592.jpg 2013-01-27_18-52-14_781.jpg

    2013-01-27_18-52-22_906.jpg

    The ones you can purchase are dinky tin coal shovels with a couple of small holes poked in them......not nearly enough room to sift. I made the sidewalls of mine over 3 1/2" tall to accomodate some sifting action. The entire bottom is expanded metal, too. Works really good!

    Not bad for 25 minutes of work, eh?

    The part that really impressed me was that by bringing up all those coals out of the insulating ash, it allowed them to burn off faster, and allowed for a faster reload. While I won't have a constant need to use it, I feel it was worth building. Can't ever have too many tools or gadgets laying around if you ask me!
    Lakeside, smokinj, BrianK and 11 others like this.

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  2. Defiant

    Defiant Vermont Castings Geek

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    Nice work, now we gotta come up with a name for it like "Overkill Ash Sifter" a slogan something unique like "Made in the USA", and finally a market plan.;)
    ScotO likes this.
  3. firebroad

    firebroad Minister of Fire

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    Scotty, I'd KILL (pun intended) for one of those...==c
    ScotO likes this.
  4. ScotO

    ScotO Guest

    When I get time I'll build a handful of them. This one is kinda 'hodgepodged' together out of scraps from around my shop. I'm going to make a full set of tools for both my fireplace and for my stove eventually, both I and a good friend of mine have antique coal forges. I'll make a handful of these sifters as well. Just not enough time at the moment. Too many "irons in the fire"....(pun intended);)
    OldLumberKid, Thistle and Defiant like this.
  5. Jags

    Jags Moderate Moderator Staff Member

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    I am Mc Loving it. Looks very functional.
    ScotO likes this.
  6. BobUrban

    BobUrban Minister of Fire

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    Hense: Scotty "Overkill"

    I am with you Scott - If there is a tool that may make my life easier and I will use it - I want it. Especially if I can make it!!

    The tool stand I built at the forge holds three tools so no room for another. I am thinking I may need to get rid of the poker and build a sifter. I never use the poker in the NC30 because I have my rake but a sifter may be the next tool to get a spot on the stand. I certainly have the material laying around to make one and you have already done the RnD.
    ScotO likes this.
  7. Thistle

    Thistle Minister of Fire

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    Hmmm.....I have a 3' x 5' piece of that heavy expanded metal (was used between 3 layers of bullet-proof fiberglass 'drywall' in holding cell rooms of new Fed Courthouse Annex I worked at in mid 90's) Was originally gonna use it for a 'flow-through' tailgate for the old '75 Dodge Powerwagon.Truck finally bit the dust,brother used it for a while then sold it to a friend who cut it in half & made a trailer out of the good end.


    However.....I still have some odd pieces of heavy gauge sheet metal,some 3/8 pencil rod,5/16 stainless rods that the ironworkers let me cabbage on to.Brother in law is a certified welder too.....::-)
    smokinj and ScotO like this.
  8. ScotO

    ScotO Guest

    There's not much to making one, guys. As you can see It's all scraps from around the shop. Yes, it does what I intended for it to do. Bob, yours would be a lot nicer looking than this one. I hacked this together literally in 25 minutes.

    We're gonna fire up my buddy's forge later next month to make some goodies. On that list is a pair of big bucking spikes for my Husky 372XP, a hanger for my 18th century cooking utensils and pots/pans to put them on the mantel beam, fireplace tool set to match them, and some hooks and knick-knacks.....when we get that forge of his up and running, we keep it stoked and go to town. We made a barking spud out of an old leafspring off of a Jeep last year and that baby is awesome for ripping bark off of slabwood.....

    I'll be sure to get pics when that time comes. Bob, have you been crafting anything on the forge this winter? I love seeing the stuff you hammer out!
  9. blades

    blades Minister of Fire

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    Coffee can cut down a piece of heavy gauge 1/4" screen over one end and a piece of conduit pieces brazed together = sifter , been using it for years.
  10. BobUrban

    BobUrban Minister of Fire

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    Scotty It's just low around here so this frozen ground has me on the gather stage or wood procurement. I just was granted permission to take wood from the 80 acres across the street for a face cord stacked outside his garage. There is unlimited ash and maple down in that wood lot with a whole lot of oak mixed in. His woods is low too so I need to "get it before it rots"!! Or before the mud season. My plan is to go "Hearth.com Members" on the wood I stack for him and even top cover it with plastic. I will trade a face or so per yr for access anytime and want him to be happy when he shows up. He just comes out here on weekends and burns in a fireplace. If the weather returns to frozen by the weekend I will be cutting - it it is sloppy I will be forging.
    ScotO likes this.
  11. swagler85

    swagler85 Minister of Fire

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    Thats sweet, I want one
    ScotO and Defiant like this.
  12. Defiant

    Defiant Vermont Castings Geek

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    Get in line;)
    ScotO likes this.
  13. HDRock

    HDRock Minister of Fire

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    Great Idea, like the high sides, looks like a good candidate for brazing it together, only scrap I have around is to big, from building a loading ramp.
    I will have to look around to see where I can get a small amount of something similar, any ideas ?
  14. HDRock

    HDRock Minister of Fire

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    Where is the pics ;?
  15. blades

    blades Minister of Fire

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    I will get a pic tonight, then fun begins trying to post it
    Defiant likes this.
  16. Defiant

    Defiant Vermont Castings Geek

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    Go for it, we love pics, fun ? Let's have some.:cool:
    ScotO likes this.
  17. MarylandGuy

    MarylandGuy Member

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    I use a fryer basket from a restaurant supply store. It's oval and works great. I sift the ashes, then pour the coals back in the stove.
    osagebow, firebroad and ScotO like this.
  18. osagebow

    osagebow Minister of Fire

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    nice work on the sifter! Currently playing coal hockey with a shovel....growing tiresome.
    ScotO likes this.
  19. ScotO

    ScotO Guest

    Thats exactly why I built this sifter! You know when your gloves start smoking profusely that you've been in that stove too long with a tiny shovel. You don't even need to wear gloves with this sifter. Works like a charm...
    osagebow likes this.
  20. Ralphie Boy

    Ralphie Boy Minister of Fire

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    Hey!! I just read this post today! Is it too late to order one of them "Original Overkill All-Purpose Ash Sifter, Fly Swatter and Pancake Turner"?!? I here they're like the McRib sandwich only here for a limited time, so I don't wanna miss my chance!
    ScotO and Defiant like this.
  21. ScotO

    ScotO Guest

    I'm gonna whip up a couple of them later this spring. I'll let you know.

    Maybe make them 'to order'.......;)
  22. Defiant

    Defiant Vermont Castings Geek

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    As I said earlier, get in line:cool:
    ScotO likes this.
  23. ScotO

    ScotO Guest

    I'll make you a special "bluefin tuna" shaped one, Defiant. I'll bring it up when we go fishing this summer!
    Defiant likes this.
  24. Defiant

    Defiant Vermont Castings Geek

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    100_3895.JPG You got it !!!
    f3cbboy, BobUrban and ScotO like this.
  25. ScotO

    ScotO Guest

    DAY-UM!! Lotsa tuna steaks on that bad boy......I hope we catch one like that when I'm up!!
    OldLumberKid and Defiant like this.

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