Portable Ratwire Bin

Portable Ratwire Bin
Here is a portable holding bin or compost bin that is inexpensive, yet functional. It is made of four hardware cloth panels framed by wood. These sides are attached to each other to form a box by means of hinges and one has latches mounted on it so that it can be opened for access to the material stored within. It is wise to construct this bin with pressure treated lumber, though untreated lumber will serve for 4 or 5 years. This bin will hold about 22 bushels of organic material when filled. If you want a bigger bin, simply make the squares sides larger.

[Line drawing - Ratwire Bin]

Parts List
12' pressure treated 2 x 44
36" wide 1/2" mesh hardware cloth12 feet
1 1/2" galvanized #10 flathead wood screws80
3" galvanized butt door hinges6
1" staples for power stapler150
10 oz. tube exterior wood adhesive1
Large hook-and-eye latches4

Power saw for cutting lumber; handsaw will work
Wide wood chisel
Hammer or Mallet
Wire cutters for cutting wire
Small carpenter's square
Tape measure
Power Drill; hand drill will work

1. Cut each 2 x 4 into four 3-foot long pieces to become the frames for the hardware cloth sides.
2. Next, prepare each of the 2 x 4 pieces so they can be connected into square frames, by fashioning lap joints where they will be connected at right angles. See the drawing for help in visualizing this step. Mark both ends of each 2 x 4 piece with a line parallel to the end and 3 1/2 inches from the end. Next cut that line down to a depth of 3/4 of an inch. With a power saw simply set the saw blade depth to 3/4 inch. With a handsaw take care to keep the saw blade parallel to the face of the board. After the sawing step, each 2 x 4 should each have a 3/4 inch deep saw-cut. Now with a chisel and mallet (or hammer) carefully clean off the half-joint material as seen in the drawing.

3. Make four 3-foot square frames from the lap jointed 2 x 4s as shown in the drawing. Use the exterior wood adhesive where they are joined at each end first, then secure the corners with with four wood screws. Check squareness of each joint as it is fastened.
4. Cut the hardware cloth into four 3 foot square pieces. Staple each edge to the wooden frames. Staple it first at the corners, then smooth it along the wood frames, stapling every 4 inches or so.
5. Connect the sides of three frames using two hinges on each. Connect the last corner with hooks and eyes rather than hinges, so that one frame can open like a gate to give access to the pile within. This is a very portable, accessible compost bin.

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