Adventures in Self-Construction

I’ve been watching a ton of online videos of metal detectorists working in water. Have been for awhile, so much so that I’ve tried it myself…and loved it.

I’ve seen some guys working with a floating sifter, ones they’ve built themselves, which seems like a good idea. Most of the ones I’ve seen were constructed of PVC pipe bound with those foam pool worms. The sifting screen is usually something called ‘hardware screen’, a material that’s sturdy but not made of metal, which means your pinpointer will be a big help in that pile of gravel/sand/clay in the sifter.

So, I took the plunge.

Made a trip to my favorite big-box building supply store looking for the materials I’d need. Inch-and-a-half PVC pipe, 4 ninety-degree elbows, joint cement…all easy to find. I asked one of the clerks for hardware screen; he directed me to the area where repair materials for window screens were displayed.

The screens were all metal.

I told the man what I needed that particular screen for; he looked at me as if I were speaking  Japanese.

“It’s non-metallic screening material, and I need it in 1/8th-inch size.”

I got a look of bewilderment in return. He then directed me to the lawn and garden center to check out their landscape weed barrier material.

Now I was frustrated. I didn’t want to have to visit a half-dozen stores to find what I needed.

As I was shoving my cart in the direction of the registers I passed an aisle that displayed plastic tub containers…and a light bulb went on. I returned all my items back where I’d found them, then went back to those storage tub displays. I found a rectangular flat one, about six inches deep, and snatched it off the shelf. Since I already had some pre-cut pool worms, all I had to pick up was some sturdy zip ties. This should be easy.

After getting home and mowing the lawn at Ram Field Ranch, I set to work on making my sifter. First, I laid out a grid on the bottom side of the tub where I proceeded to drill 40 quarter-inch holes. The pre-cut sections of pool noodles were placed along the four sides of the lip  of the tub and secured with thick zip ties. I added attach points for a clip-on  lanyard and voila! It is ready to go.

My only concern will be cracking of the tub floor once the weight of a scoop of sand and gravel are added; hopefully, the thickness of the plastic will hold up. If it doesn’t, I’m only out five bucks and fifteen minutes of my time.

Then I’ll go the PVC route, IF I can find the hardware screen.

Stay tuned, sports fans…

floating sifter


Author: timteamohio

Retired cop embarking on new adventures, seeking to recover the history beneath us.

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