How to Separate Sand and Gravel

What You'll Need
Several large buckets or timber to make a wooden frame
Heavy wire meshing with appropriately sized holes

There is a particular method to separate sand and gravel that requires some basic improvised tools and equipment. Since gravel is a lot coarser and larger than sand, separating it is not overly complicated. You do not need any elaborate equipment to separate sand from gravel or to separate the large stones out of gravel, especially if you are not dealing with vast amounts. In a matter of minutes, you can easily make your own gravel screening device using various bits and pieces that you may already find around your property. If you do not have to work with a small amount of sand and gravel, you will find the process easier, as you can even work with a large, older kitchen colander to separate the mix. If you are working with much larger amounts, however, then you will ideally need to build a makeshift filter.

Step 1 – Lay the Tarpaulin on the Ground

Lay out the tarpaulin on the ground and place the buckets on it. You can also use a rudimentary wooden box frame that you can construct yourself if you have some scrap timber lying around your property. Having a wooden box frame is the most convenient and quickest method of separating the gravel from the sand. The tarpaulin sheet is there to catch anything that the buckets do not.

Step 2 – Place the Wire Mesh

You will need to find some kind of strong wire meshing. It will need to be adequately strong so that it will not buckle or break under the weight of the sand and gravel on it. You will also need to find something that has the right sized holes to be able to filter out the gravel, separating it from the sand. What you basically want to achieve is something similar to what an everyday kitchen strainer does – just on a much larger scale. Place this wire mesh on top of the wooden frame or mount it just over the buckets if you are using buckets.

Step 3 – Poor the Mix onto the Mesh

This part is where you actually separate the sand from the gravel but it does require patience and should only be done with one small amount at a time. Pour the mix onto the wire mesh so that the sand filters through into the buckets or the wooden box that you have made. Be sure not to pour too much of the mix at once as this may cause the wire mesh to buckle or even collapse. Shake the lattice to separate any stubborn sand and let it fall through. Spread the mix around the mesh with your hands to ensure that all of the sand filters through. Simply continue this until you have separated the required quantity.