1999 - Volume #23, Issue #4, Page #27[ Sample Stories From This Issue | List of All Stories In This Issue | Print this story | Read this issue]
Build Yourself A Plywood Grain Bin
Basic parts of the bin are 4 by 8-ft. sheets of 3/8-in. plywood which are overlapped 6-in. and bolted together with 1 1/4 by 1/4 in. bolts at each joint. A circle of 12 sheets makes 3,000-bu. Bin; 14 sheets make a 4,000-bu. size.
When the last sheets are bolted together into a full circle, Hemstad loops a 5/16-in. cable around the bin and tightens it with a turnbuckle.
The bin must be set up on well-drained soil, he says, and sod makes a good base that won't give problems with stones and gravel. Hemstad starts the pile of grain before he sets up the bin, which makes it easier to form the plywood sheets into a perfect circle. When the paneling is in place, he fills the bin with a standard grain auger, letting it cone up naturally until the base of the pile is almost to the top of the plywood.
After the grain is safe from heating, Hemstad puts a 6-mil plastic cover over the top of the pile. He lets it lap over the plywood 6-in., then fastens it in place with wood lathes.
Hemstad cautions that the grain must be dry before it is covered because the plastic forms an airtight seal and damp grain will heat. He recommends 14% moisture or lower. He has stored wheat for up to 8 months in one of these bins.
Final touch is to lay a ring of about 30 tires on the plastic, lash them together with rope, and anchor the rope in about three places. A 4,000-bu. bin should have two rows of tires.
To open a bin, Hemstad takes out a few bolts at a seam and it usually bulges open enough to insert his auger. Or, he cuts a hole with a keyhole saw.
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