One of chores around the estate is road maintenance. With about a mile of road on the main estate and 3 miles of road leading to the estate the roads take considerable effort to keep from becoming washboarded or washed out. One aspect of this maintenance is redistributing gravel along the road. Gravel has a lifespan and I rake the roads to keep the gravel evenly distributed but it still breaks down over time and having gravel shipped in to to recover the roads is not inexpensive. Early on, railroad bed material was spread in some areas along the road leading to the estate, but this material is old slag from the smelters and is sharp edged. While it wears well it is hard on vehicle tires and I have been contemplating using gravel from the arroyos as a substitute for gravel and railroad bed material, hence the newest welding project. Needing a way to sort gravel from large stones the idea of a gravel sorter came to mind. I designed a sorter that would sort big rocks from gravel and also produce sand. Realizing the materials for the project would run several hundred dollars I decided to use material already available, that is fencing material recovered from the additions to the estate, in other words t-posts and old gates. Material was gathered and I started welding. But I quickly noticed I was burning holes in the lightweight gate material and some t-posts. Confused, it eventually dawned on me that I had the current set to high on the welder. While the higher setting worked fine for the 1/4" steel of the tooth bar it was to high for t-post and gate material. A simple mistake an experienced welder would not even think about but which took me several days to figure out. Reducing the current solved the problem and the single tiered gravel sorter was assembled. Now with this new tool, gravel for the roads can be made from available materials from arroyos on the estate. It certainly will save time and energy since the last project of making sand for the Rustic cabin was done with a shovel and screen over the tractor bucket.
|Gravel sorter under construction|
|Sorting gravel at the Painted Pony Resort|