Thursday, February 17, 2011

Compost Crocks

Last fall, someone asked whether I could make a ceramic compost crock. I had been thinking about a design for such a thing since seeing one in California about three years ago. I made a few test pieces, which ended up being about 8-9 inches tall, moderately heavy, lug handles, and a lip under the lid to hold a carbon filter.

I was going for a generally stout and sturdy form

The final product looked nice coming out of a wood-fired salt kiln 

Side view of the final crock with a detail of the handle

Several comments made were that it was too small, and that the purchasers were worried about carrying the crock to the compost pile in fear of breaking it. They wondered whether I could make one with a bucket inserted inside. I've been thinking about this for several months now, and have started some new designs.
New compost crocks

I researched stainless steel buckets that had handles which rested on top of the lip. I didn't want a plastic bucket because I didn't think that would last very long, and I detest how plastic gets really nasty really quickly with compost! The stainless steel averaged about $8 per bucket, and the opening at the top of the bucket was kind of large. I thought this was not cost effective nor would the shape of the bucket allow for a good design (well, I'm still plotting another design). So I made a ceramic insert. Now the crock can sit on the counter, and the only thing going to the compost is the removable insert! Still breakable if you drop it I suppose, but it leaves the nice(r) piece on the counter!
Compost crock with the insert sitting next to it

The insert sits at the base of the flange and the lid rests just above that

I put small finger tabs on the inside of the insert allowing it to be lifted out of the compost crock a little easier.
Detail of finger pulls

Insert resting inside of the crock

I kept the lid basically the same, with holes and a lip on the underside to put the carbon filter. I had to cut part of the lip on the underside of the lid to accommodate for the insert, so I hope this does not mess up the carbon filter.
Ventilation holes on the lid

Underside of lid showing lip which holds the carbon filter and the cut away part to accommodate the insert

I'm going to try a few more in the coming weeks, possibly change the lid design to the way I made the lids last fall (sitting on the rim, rather than inside on the flange). I think I might make the handles more like lug handles rather than the strap handles I made on the pieces above. I like the size of the new compost crocks (about 10-12" tall) which makes the insert able to hold roughly 1/2 gallon or more of compost. Any suggestions or recommendations would be appreciated!

1 comment:

Andrew & said...

Want one. Would look fabo on our reclaimed walnut counters if I ever get them installed.