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Build your own sieve

Making your own sieve is not that hard. Most materials can be found relatively easily at your local DIY store. A bit harder perhaps, is finding the perfect mesh for your needs. This mesh or screen should have a specific opening size, it should be sturdy and stainless. Moreover, a screen made from thin wires 'cuts' better trough sand, allowing you to work with more comfort.

The mesh size should be chosen based on the size of fossils you want to find and the type of material they are in. If the mesh size is too large, you lose some of the fossils. If it's too small, you'll need too much energy to sieve through the matrix material. Sometimes, several sieves with varying mesh size are used to sieve fractions.

A good basic mesh size to start with is 5 mm. You can construct a separate finer sive (e.g. 1mm) as an inlay element.

Example of a home made sieve

Sieves can be quite heavy when filled. Therefore, a supporting construction can come in handy. A couple of 'legs', e.g. bars that stick in the sand, make it easy to shake the sieve. The example shown here uses rebars. Two elements in which the rebars fit, are welded and attached to the sieve. The rebars used are about 1.75 meters (5.7 feet) long. It's essential that the sieve can be put on and taken off the bars with ease, because the sieve needs to be emptied after the material has been searched. A small sieve weighs less, and simple handles might be sufficient.

When constructing a sieve, mind the following things:

 

Angle brackets are necessary to make a sturdy construction

  

A possible leg design


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