How To Make A Fine Mesh Sieve From Scratch
I think we can all agree that common tools we use today will be increasingly hard to find if our society were to fall apart.
This article will explain how to make one such tool, a sieve, easily and with materials that you are likely to have available to you in a scavenging environment.
A sieve, despite most people's reactions on first hearing it is actually a very useful tool that will be needed to make life bearable again. Uses range from making gunpowder to sifting flour to make your food taste better. Most articles on how to build a sieve tell you to go buy the screening material. Well that isn't exactly doable when society has broken down due to lack of electricity. Here you will learn how you can make your own custom sieve from scratch.
This is only one way to make a sieve. It is a typical traditional type sieve, so let's get started.
The first thing you will need to do gather some materials. You will need wood, wire, DIY glue and small nails. Things to consider. The physical size of your sieve will dictate the size of your wire. A large sieve will need a heavier wire. Luckily most sieves that require fine mesh size do not need to be big so this isn't often a big problem. If you do want to make a large, but still fine mesh sieve then that can be accomplished by providing some support to the fine wire mesh by running a heavier gauge wire diagonally under the mesh to give it added support of add cross bracing wood pieces to support the mesh.
Were to get the wire? Well you can probably scavenge wire from cars that no longer have gas to power them. Any old wire will do. Speaker wire, wire from cars, wire from boats, or if you want heavier duty wire, then you can step up to old house wiring or wire scavenged from cables such as cables for dog runs, etc. Eventually you might have to make your own wire via blacksmithing skills or from plastics.
When using wire from cars, etc. you will need to strip the coating from the wire using a knife or a wire stripping tool or you can even burn off the coating, but that is messy.
Next you will need some boards. These boards do not need to be store bought, but certainly can be. The board will need to be thicker than most standard sieve instruction you find on the Internet because of the weakness of the wire you will likely be using and the manner in which it is secured. Galvanized wire is best, but copper wire is going to be much more readily available.
Next you will need to make a square of the size you want your sieve to be. Actually you will want two. One to fit perfectly on top of the other with no gaps. So it is best to make the square and then cut it into an upper and a lower half. This ensures that they fit together perfectly. Add bracing for strength and set the upper section aside for now.
Next mark off a line on all four sides of the bottom wood frame for each strand of wire. A small nail will be driven into each of these marks. Staggering the nails is the only way to make a fine mesh screen otherwise the nails will be too close together.
Wrap a length of wire around the nail multiple times. The smaller the wire the more wraps will be needed. Pull on the wire and if it easily unwraps than that wasn't enough wraps.
If possible use long pieces of wire that can be wrapped/secured to one nail and then simply run across to the opposite side and with only one loop around the appropriate nail and then back to the first side to be wrapped/terminated. This will speed up the sieve making process!
After all of the wires have been run in one direction, you will need to then start on the other side and this is the hard and time-consuming part. You can't simply run the second direction wires over the top of the first. You have to alternate, first over then under than over, etc. Your adjacent wire should go under then over then under alternating as well, but out of sync with the first wires on either side of it.
Once all of your wires have placed and their ends secured the next step is to glue everything in place. This is done in two phases. First, the wire wrapped nails are glued. Once this is done and has hardened you can prepare to place the top piece we set aside early on top which will cover the wires and pinch them between the two pieces of wood. However, first apply glue all along the boards where they will touch. Ideally you will have screws available to screw the two frames together to provide strength to the upper to lower section. This isn't absolutely required, but it does help add durability to the sieve.
There are many variations of this and probably my favorite is a plastic variation. The sieve is made in the same way, but it does not need an upper and lower half. After the wires have been wrapped around the nails, plastic is melted and put on top of the nails thick enough to cover the wrappings of the wire. To do this just use two pieces of wood to form a raised wall along the outside. This forms a trench with the nails. Melt the plastic and cover the nails and wire. Let it harden and you should have the screen securely held in place.