Wednesday 29 November 2023

How I Make My Compost And Grain Scoops

 Sometimes people are surprised that I don't make everything individually. But to make any money (and honestly I'm not making much) everything has to be made in batches. I tend to normally stick to batches of 8, 10 or 12 for things like my trays or baskets, but smaller items, like my scoops get made in in bigger quantities. 

Last week I made 34 more wooden scoops, and then needed to make some more of my folded galvanised still ones. 

This meant a trip over to my Dad's farm and the use of the metal working equipment there. 

The Plasma cutting CNC machine is ideal to cut out the blanks on some older galvanised sheets we have. When I started I used the guillotine but this means they're all the same size and it's much faster (I still make some bigger scoops this way as they're made in small quantities)

The it's on to the press break to fold each scoop to shape. Some get folded once, some twice. I set stops to make sure they're all as near to each other in size as possible. 

I did this for 145 blanks. In truth it doesn't take that long, a good few hours I suppose. It's controlled with a foot pedal which means both hands can be free to put the blanks in the machine. Not somewhere you'd want your finger to end up though. 

The harder bit comes afterwards as now each blank has to be filed to remove any sharp edges, and rubbed back to remove some of the tarnishing. Then a wooden handle has to be made to fit each one and oiled before it can be fitted, as well as holes piloted to help the nails to go though the steel. 

But, I have to admit they're probably up there with the favourite products I make and sell. Built to last, I hope there's people still using these in 30 years time!

As Always let me know what you think. How would you go about making them?


  1. Back at a former engineering job, we used a water jet instead of a plasma jet to cut the metal. It left a much much better edge that didn't require near as much work to debur. For that, we used a pneumatic grinder that would make quick work of a 145 blanks.

    Although the scoops are not a good candidate, if you were going to get into cutting a lot of 9mm ply to exact sizes like you did in your tote earlier, I think I would get one of those new laser cutters geared towards woodworkers. That might increase your thru put to make those worth making. As a bonus, many use them to do custom etchings on products such as cutting boards to personize them and garner a few more dollars premium.

    1. I'd love to do it with a water cutter as I had read the same thing, the small holes I have to drill in could be done then (we tried with the plasma but the holes were bigger than the clout nails I use!).
      Same with the laser cutter for the wood. I've looked a few times, but so far it's space that's stopping me. I need a bigger workshop really, I have three containers to work from and store my products and they're all full! I'd love to add names to the things I sell as do get asked now and do it by hand but it takes ages and I always loose out money wise!


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