Separate Nails from Wood Ash

   / Separate Nails from Wood Ash #11  

oosik

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I have a small area where most of the old homestead buildings ( mainly broken up lumber ) were burned. The cleanup and burning of the old buildings happened 30+ years ago. Over the years I will go out with my metal detector and a garden rake. What was found mostly - other than large spikes - short roofing nails.

It's a small area - 15 x 15 - and since it's known - easily avoided with any tired vehicles.
 
   / Separate Nails from Wood Ash #12  

deezler

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I just made a metal sweeper by butchering an old woofer magnet myself. Took a neglected old $5 kids rake toy and bent the metal rake fins around each side of the magnet; works great. I like the idea to throw a plastic bag over it before dragging through ash, though, thanks!
 
   / Separate Nails from Wood Ash #13  

mike0000

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I like the screen sifter you built. I also made a tool/wand with strong magnets on it. I always worry I may miss some of the nails with the magnets only to later find them with a tire.
I think I’ll add a screen to my process, thanks for posting your process.

Mike
 
   / Separate Nails from Wood Ash
  • Thread Starter
#14  
OP
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JohnnyMX

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I am definitely going to add a second or third layer of screen and try to offset them to catch more nails in the first sift. Smaller nails will go through the 1/4" cloth. Most framing nails size will get stuck as the head is too large to pass, but you do find many nails hanging through the cloth by the head. I would feel much more comfortable if the second sift was purely for insurance and I found next to no nails. I ordered a 50' roll as it is a few bucks more than a 5' piece at home depot, so I can play until I get it right.
 
   / Separate Nails from Wood Ash #15  

2manyrocks

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Most pallets I've seen tend to use something like 8d spiral shank nails to attach the thin deck boards to the 2x4 runners. Difficult to pull out in one piece. So I get why you'd burn the pallets and try to separate the nails later. But 1/4 screen may not be fine enough to separate all of the 8d nails or pieces thereof.

There are some rock screen threads here that might have some useful ideas. I seem to recall many of them being built at an angle so gravity helps to pull the material through the screen. A steeper angle might also help to separate nails if the ash falls through the holes, but the nails tend to roll off the top.

Another idea that came to mind would be to vibrate the screen box with an air hammer if you happen to have one.
 
   / Separate Nails from Wood Ash #16  

cwbyeng1300

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Put your magnet in a steel can. When you want to clean it, just pull the magnet from the can & everything falls off.
 
   / Separate Nails from Wood Ash #17  

KilroyJC

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Occasionally( 🤣😂🤣) the odd piece of lumber with some nails/screws/staples end up in one of our wood stoves or the fire pit.

i use an old gem-mining screen to sift out the metal bits. Basically a rectangular frame 12x20 with a pierced-metal bottom, 1/8” holes on 1/8” alternate spacing. It works quite well - Other than having to be very conscious of wind direction…
 
   / Separate Nails from Wood Ash #18  

rontaki

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Old desktop 3½" hard drives have strong magnets in them, easy to harvest. The magnets used small laptop drives are not as powerful, though.

The older hard disk drives tend to have larger magnets than newer drives, as do higher performance drives.

Of course, no magnets to be found in Solid State drives.
 
   / Separate Nails from Wood Ash #19  

sixdogs

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My separation method is to simply place my magnet inside of a plastic bag and drag it thru the cold ashes.
Works just fine for me.
This works the best for me as well.
 
   / Separate Nails from Wood Ash #20  

alpha&omega

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Old desktop 3½" hard drives have strong magnets in them, easy to harvest. The magnets used small laptop drives are not as powerful, though.

The older hard disk drives tend to have larger magnets than newer drives, as do higher performance drives.

Of course, no magnets to be found in Solid State drives.
Same goes for old microwaves. Powerful magnets, but the disassembly is dangerous if you don’t know the hazards associated with it.
 
 
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