How to Build a Rock Screen

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A crucial part of tilling dirt and preparing it for future use is in the removal of weeds, rocks and other unwanted sediment. Soil that has been cleared of this material provides a richer base, which can be treated with compost, peat moss and fresh, store-bought soil for use in sowing fruits and vegetables or to grow a beautiful lawn. A properly made rock screen helps remove these articles and acts as your first step toward turning over your acreage in preparation of a coming growing season.

Things You'll Need

  • 10-ft. length of 2-by-4 lumber
  • 2-by-2-foot square of 1/2-inch plywood
  • 5-foot length of 3/4-inch-by 1-1/2-inch furring strip
  • Safety goggles
  • Work horses
  • Circular saw
  • Work gloves
  • Paint brush
  • Wood treatment or stain
  • 1/2-inch-by-1/2 inch wire mesh hardware cloth 24-by-36 inches
  • Tin snips or wire cutters
  • Two 8-by-8-by-16-inch cinder blocks
  • Carpenter's square
  • 8-1/2-inch deck screws
  • Screw gun

Preparation

  • Establish a safe area to cut the 2-by-4, plywood and furring strip. Utilize the work horses to provide a stable fulcrum for your cutting purposes. Wear safety goggles to avoid sawdust residue getting into your eyes.

  • Cut the 2-by-4 into two lengths of 36 inches and two lengths of 21 inches using circular saw and set aside.

  • Cut the plywood into four 5-by-5-by-7-inch triangles using the circular saw and set aside.

  • Cut the furring strip into two lengths of 22 inches and two lengths of 6 inches each and set aside.

  • Paint the wood with wood treatment or stain and allow at least 24 hours to dry.

  • Cut a 24-by-36-inch piece of the hardware cloth using tin snips. Trim any edges so that perimeter of the cloth remains enclosed.

  • Lay the hardware cloth on a flat surface and place a cinder block at each end to help keep it flat.

Building a 24-inch-by-36-inch Rock Screen

  • Select a 36-inch 2-by-4 and a 21-inch 2-by-4 and place the narrow side edge of the 21-inch piece flush against the wide face of the 36-inch piece. The two pieces together should form the letter "L." Place the carpenter's square on the inside of the "L" to ensure a 90-degree angle.

  • Drill a screw from the outside of the 36-inch length into the end of the 21-inch length that is flush. Place the screw in the center of the longer 2-by-4 at the point above where it meets the shorter piece at the inside angle. Ideally, you should drill into the center of the of the connecting 2-by-4. Recheck the angle with the carpenter's square, maintaining it at 90 degrees.

  • Drill two screws on either side of the first screw equally apart to completely fasten the two pieces together.

  • Place the other 21-inch piece against the other end of the same 36-inch 2-by-4, forming the letter "C." Repeat steps 2 and 3.

  • Screw the final 36-inch 2-by-4 to each 21-inch piece, forming a 24-by-36-inch rectangle, using three screws for each end (as in steps 2 and 3) for fastening.

  • Stretch the hardware cloth across the newly built rectangle. Concentrating on one corner, arrange the cloth so that its corner is flush to the corner edge of the rectangle.

  • Place one of the plywood triangles on top of the rectangle corner so it covers the cloth between the rectangle and itself. Drill one screw into each corner of the plywood triangle into the rectangle. Repeat this step for each remaining corner.

  • Center a 22-inch piece of furring strip on one of the 36-inch sides of the rectangle between the triangles on each corner. Drill three screws equally apart on the furring strip to fasten it and the hardware cloth to the rectangle. Repeat this step on the opposite side of the rectangle with the other 22-inch piece of furring.

  • Center a 6-inch piece of furring on one of the 21-inch sides of the rectangle between the triangles on each corner. Drill a screw on each end of the furring strip 1-1/2 inches from each edge to fasten it and the hardware cloth to the rectangle. Repeat this step on the opposite side of the rectangle with the final piece of 6-inch furring.

  • Stand up the newly formed rock screen to ensure it is sturdy.

Tips & Warnings

  • Treating the wood helps protect it and establish a long life for your rock screen.
  • 2-by-4 lumber can be purchased at varying lengths for your particular needs, but if you have scrap 2-by-4 left over from other projects that meet these lengths, it will save you time and money to use them. The same can be said for leftover plywood and furring strips.
  • Power tools, such as a circular saw, can be dangerous. Work in a clearly defined area and use all relevant safety equipment to avoid accidents.

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References

  • Photo Credit Hemera Technologies/AbleStock.com/Getty Images
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