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How to make a sieve


UCI wants you to be ready for anything. Using a sieve is a more advanced body recovery technique that UCI teaches in our Body Recovery Specialist Course and is a part of our Master's Program. The first thing you will need to do is go to your local home store like Lows or Home Depot and buy a few things. You can make a sieve a number of ways. I will give you directions on building a basic sieve that is sturdy and will last for years.


You will need:

  • 2-treated 2x4 3 feet long

  • 2-treated 2x4 2 feet long

  • 1/4 inch wire mesh

  • 4-Angel corner brackets

  • 2-3 foot long metal lining strips

  • 2-2 foot long metal lining strips

  • Small box of nails or screws


Now that you have all the parts of the sieve, let get to making it.

First cut your treated 2x4's to the lengths given or to a length you would prefer. Use treated wood so it will not warp.


Next nail or screw on your angel corner brackets.


Then put the entire frame together using all four of your corner brackets.

After you have your frame together, attach your wire mesh. It's important to use at least 1/4 inch mesh so the sieve will catch small items.

Some land investigators will actually make two sieves, one with 1/4 inch wire mesh and another with even smaller wire mesh. They place these two sieves on top of each other (smaller on the bottom) and the smaller sieve catches what falls through the 1/4 inch mesh sieve. I usually just place a tarp under my sieve to catch what falls through. You can then search through that material one more time before discarding it. 


When attaching the wire mesh, I fold the end about an inch or half an inch back on itself to give the mesh more support on the ends.


I nail or screw down the mesh using metal lining strips (these are sold in the decking area), which makes it easy securing it to the wood as well as giving the mesh lots of support.


Its important that you don't use a light screen material, like a window screen. This will tear when you are sieving.


I like to take my time and make sure the screen lays nice and flat on my wood. One way to make sure it does is to try to stretch it as much as you can and smooth it out as you nail down the mesh.

There you have it. I very quick way to make a sieve that will last you for years.


It's important when sieving to have a lot of water on hand to help you go through the bottom composition that you and your divers collect off the bottom. I also try to use a stick rather than a garden tool when sieving through the material. Metal objects can cut or rip the wire mesh.


You can use saw horses like the picture on the right to help save your back and to give the sieve a stand to rest on while you are sieving or you can use a couple of rubber made tubs. Anything will do.

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