2 pieces of mesh, about 9" by 9" each
food safe protective coat (optional)
(Plywood) - 2 @ 14.5" X 14.5" (or you can use boards stuck together with pocket hole screws and glue, especially if you want to use cedar for weather resistance)
6 @ 11.5"
6 @ 11"
2 @ 9.5"
2 @ 10"
4 @ 4 1/4"
6 @ 14 1/2"
4 @ 4 1/4"
4 @ 14.5"
4 @ 9.5"
4 @ 14.5"
4 @ 13"
Please read through the entire plan and all comments before beginning this project. It is also advisable to review the Getting Started Section. Take all necessary precautions to build safely and smartly. Work on a clean level surface, free of imperfections or debris. Always use straight boards. Check for square after each step. Always predrill holes before attaching with screws. Use glue with finish nails for a stronger hold. Wipe excess glue off bare wood for stained projects, as dried glue will not take stain. Be safe, have fun, and ask for help if you need it. Good luck!
Start making the main units. Use pocket hole screws and jig to make a box 14.5" by 14.5". Use wood glue. Make 2 of these.
Next start making the bottom of your units. Fix your 9.5" and 14.5" (1x3) boards to one end of your units. You can make a square face with the (1x3) boards first using pocket holes and then screw or nail the face onto the unit, or you can just screw then pieces on one at a time.
A worm composter can be kept indoors or out. Fill the bin with bedding, such as shredded newspaper or shredded dried leaves. Place some sand/dirt on top, put your scraps in a layer in the middle then cover with more bedding/dirt. When you add new scraps, dig in a little then cover them up again.
This design has two stacking units, but you can add as many as you want, depending on how much waste your family produces. The units fit into each other and lift up easily to rearrange or carry to the garden etc.
Fill the bottom tier with bedding, dirt, scraps and worms. As it fills up, start adding the material to the next tier. The worms should eventually move on up to the top when they run out of food in their level, leaving beautiful castings behind - perfect compost for your garden. When you empty the bottom unit into your garden, place it on top and start over, filling it as the bottom unit becomes saturated.
This is my first project from my own plans. I built it before improving the plans so my my actual worm compost bin that I built is full of flaws, but I've worked on it in sketchup and I think it's good to go now. You'll do a better job than I did.
Also, I used pine, to keep costs down and I finished it with a clear, food safe protective coat. Don't use paints or stains which could leech toxins into your compost. If you can fork out for cedar it will last much longer (and will look better too).
Next take your (1x2) pieces cut at 11" and 8" and set them 1 3/4" in from the edge. Again you can attach them to each other first with pocket hole screws to make it tighter if you wish.
Staple your mesh using a staple gun or hammer and staples. Place the staples at about the midpoint on the (1x2) boards and fold up or trim off any excess mesh hanging off the edges.
Flip your units over to start making the tops. Fix your 11.5" and 14.5" (1x2) boards flush with the edges of your unit's top. As before, you might want to put these pieces together with pocket hole screws and then fix the whole square onto your unit with 2" screws or nails. The other unit's bottom will stack into the hole in this top.
This completes your unit. You can make as many of these as you wish.
To make the bottom/legs piece, take one 14.5" plywood piece (or boards screwed together farmhouse style) and fix the 4 1/4" (1x3) pieces on flush, using glue and pocket hole screws.
Add the (1x2) leg pieces at right angle to the legs you attached in step 6. Screw them with pocket hole screws into the other leg and into the plywood base.
Use pocket hole screws and glue to attach the (1x2) trim to the base plywood and to the legs.
Fix (1x2) boards around the rim just as you did with your main units. This allows your units to stack into the bottom/leg piece. Your leg piece is complete.
Now make your lid. Take your 14.5" plywood (or boards screwed together) and screw 2 (1x2) pieces 1 3/4" in from the sides. This will allow your lid to fit into the hole on the top tier.
Stack your pieces on top of each other. Do not glue or screw or nail the pieces together. You want them to be able to be removed frequently and easily. They should sit in each other nicely. If it's too tight you can file or sand down as needed.
Don't judge the project by my photos of the completed one. I made lots and lots of mistakes. I think the final plans should be good though (maybe I'll make another one..). This is a fun way to compost. The kids will love it. Worms make wonderful compost that will enrich your garden. And they're lovely little pets too.
Keep it sheltered if possible, insulate in below freezing temperatures or move it indoors. It should be odorless, if you notice an odor, you probably just need to give it a stir to let some air in on the action.