How to build a compost bin

This article is about how to build a compost bin. Building your own compost for your garden is a great idea, especially if you think at the benefits you will get, both for you and your family. Even if on the market there are a lot of fertilizers claiming to be organic, it is always better to do things by yourself, as you can control the process better. In oder to make organic compost, you need two things: to build a compost bin and to use leaves, grass and other organic wastes.

Building a compost bin out of wood is easy, especially if you have the right tools and materials for the job, and if you have proper plans. Remember that you have to use wood that haven’t been treated with toxic substances, otherwise the compost won’t be good for your vegetable garden. Therefore select with great care the materials, as to make sure they are proper for building a compost bin. Read the whole article if you want to know how to make a compost bin.

Make sure you align the components at both ends before inserting the galvanized screws, if you want to get a professional result. In addition, don’t forget to drill pilot holes before driving in the nails, to prevent the wood from splitting. If you want to have an easy access to the compost bin, you should build a sliding panel, on one side of the box. Place rails on the interior of the bin, to hold the sliding panel into place.

 

Made from this plan

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In order to build a compost bin, you need the following:

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  • A – 8 pieces of 1×4 lumber – 31 1/2″ long CORNER SLATS
  • B – 15 pieces of 1×6 lumber – 30″ long SLATS
  • C – 5 pieces of 1×4 lumber – 30″ long, 2 pieces of – 31 1/2″ long PANEL
  • D – 8 pieces of 1×4 lumber – 33″ long, 4 pieces of – 14″ long LID

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[tab id=2]

  • Level, carpentry pencil, l-square
  • Hammer, measuring tape
  • Circular saw / jigsaw
  • Drill bits, clamps
  • Screw driver with torque control

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[tab id=3]

  • Read safety and disclaimer pages
  • Select with great care the lumber, otherwise your compost bin won’t be durable
  • Before fastening the posts, make sure they are plumb

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How to build a compost bin

Building a compost bin

Building a compost bin

 

Smart Tip: Building a wooden compost bin is a straight-forward project, as anyone with basic carpentry skills can get the job done in just a few hours. Use a spirit level to check if the lid is horizontal and if the side walls are plumb.

 

 

Building compost bin walls

Cutting corner posts for compost bin

Cutting corner posts for compost bin

 

In order to build our compost bin, we have to cut 4 pieces  2×2 lumber at about 3’/1 m, as to use them as corner posts. Before cutting the lumber, make sure it is proper for using it in this project. Therefore we don’t recommend you to use treated wood, as usually in the process they use harmful substances for our health.

Smart Tip: Use a jigsaw  for precision cuts. In this project we show you how to build a movable compost box, but if you intend to place in a place for good, you should cut the post at about 4′.

 

Building compost bin wall

Building compost bin wall

 

Next, we have to start building the first wall of the compost box. You have to place the 2 posts on a level surface and to mark sure they are parallel. Then we have to add two wood boards at both ends of the posts.

Smart Tip: Compost bins can be as large as you want them to be, but in our case we chose to use 3’/1 m wood boards long.

 

Making sure the corners are right angled

Making sure the corners are right angled

 

Before we fasten the boards on the compost bin posts, we have to make sure the corners of the wall panels are right angled. In order to check this aspect you could use an l-square or another object with 90º corners (like a ceramic tile).

Smart Tip: After you made sure the corners are right-angled, you have to lock firmly the whole set up, using galvanized screws.

 

Fastening wood boards with nails

Fastening wood boards with nails

 

Afterwards, we have used 2” nails to fasten the wood boards on the compost bin posts. Make sure you drive in at least 2 nails on each end of every wood board, otherwise the compost bin won’t be rigid enough.

Smart Tip: Ideally you should choose nails which are smaller then the added thickness of the posts and boards, otherwise the sharp ends of the nails will get through the post on the other side.

 

Using a spacer between wood boards

Using a spacer between wood boards

 

Remember that you should fasten boards at both ends of the compost bin wall, and only then you could fill the rest of the wall with wood boards.

Smart Tip: The gap between two boards should be between 1-2”. For a neat look you should measure the distance between the top and bottom boards, and split that distance by the number of boards we install between them.

 

Compost bin wall panel

Compost bin wall panel

 

After we have installed the wood boards, the compost bin wall looked as you can see in the image. Remember that you should use a spacer between the boards, as to install them evenly.

Smart Tip: Check again if the corners of the wall panels are right angled, otherwise you risk getting a poor looking compost bin.

 

Bending nail ends

Bending nail ends

 

We have to continue building the compost bin, by bending the nail ends that got through the corner posts.

Consequently, we should use a hammer and hit at 45º the sharp ends of the nails, until we get the job done for the whole panel. Remember that you can avoid doing this, if you select with great attention the dimension of the nails.

 

Cutting wood boards

Cutting wood boards

 

Next, we have to make sure there are no wood boards go over the corner posts. Nevertheless, there are cases in which not all boards come at the same length, so we have to use a jigsaw or a circular saw to fix this issue.

Smart Tip: Snap a chalk line from one end to the other, as to mark the cut line, before you adjust the size of the slats.

 

 

Building compost bin

Compost bin walls

Compost bin walls

 

In order to finish building a compost bin, we need 2 wall panel, which have to be make according to the techniques described previously. Make sure the panels have the same dimensions,  the corners are right angled, the space between the wood boards are even and the wood boards are not rotten.

Smart Tip: You can get good boards by disassembling a pallet.

 

Building compost bin

Building compost bin

 

Next we have to fasten the two wall panels with one board at each end. Make sure that you ask a friend to help you during this operation, as it is difficult to drive in the nails and in the same time to hold the wall panels into position.

Smart Tip: Make sure you insert at least 3-4 nails at each end of the boards, as to lock firmly the compost bin.

 

Building compost bin

Building compost bin

 

When installing the wooden board, we have to align it with the compost bin walls. Remember that this aspect is essential for your project, so pay attention when driving in the nails

Smart Tip: Make sure you leave at least 1/2” from all edges of the wood boards, otherwise you risk damaging the wood (the wood might crack).

 

Locking together the compost bin

Locking together the compost bin

 

Afterwards, twist the box on the opposite side and fasten another two boards, as you can easily see in the image.

Also drive in 3-4 nails at each end of all wooden boards, as to make sure the compost bin is locked firmly. Next, you have to continue the process by installing the other wood boards, using the same spacer between the boards, until you finish the compost bin.

 

Making a compost bin

Making a compost bin

 

Continue fastening wood boards, until you finish building the compost bin. After you check that the walls are locked properly and that the compost bin is set firmly into position you can move it to a proper place. Now, we hope you have learned how to make your own compost bin.

Smart Tip: From our experience we can assure you that the compost bin will be quite heavy, so it is better to build it from the very beginning close the the place where you want to install it.

 

How to build a compost bin

How to build a compost bin

 

Last but not least, you should take care of the finishing touches. Therefore, check if all the screws are inserted properly and if the components are locked together tightly. Fill the holes with wood filler and smooth the surface with medium-grit sandpaper.

Smart Tip: Apply a few coats of stain or exterior paint over the wooden components, in order to protect them from decay and moisture. See more of my outdoor projects HERE

 

 

Thank you for reading our article on how to build a compost bin and we recommend you to check out the rest  of our projects. If you enjoyed our article, like us on Facebook or tweet the project to your friends.




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