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... 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!