Make sure your buckets stack together securely but have a gap of at least 3 or 4 inches between the bottoms. This is where the dust and scrap pieces will settle. Both buckets also should have sturdy metal handles, because wood pellets are heavy. Paint buckets will work well.
Turn one bucket over and, using your ruler and marker, draw horizontal lines 3/4 inch apart, then vertical lines 3/4 inch apart on the bottom of the bucket base. This will create an even grid.
Drill holes in the base of the bucket at each grid intersection. Leave approximately a 3/4-inch area around the edge of the base with no holes to help the bucket keep its strength. Be sure to remove any plastic scraps left behind from drilling, because you don't want these mixing with your pellets and getting into your stove.
Stack your buckets again with the drilled bucket inside the other. Now you have a sifter where the dust and scrap pieces will get trapped in the lower bucket and not create a mess.
Sift your pellets by scooping them from the bag into the top bucket, then shake and agitate the bucket gently to separate the dust from usable pellets. Sift only a few pounds at a time to keep from overloading the buckets.
After 30 to 60 seconds of shaking, the top bucket of pellets should be ready to go in your stove. Gently pull apart the buckets to prevent any trapped dust from spreading. You can use a shop vacuum to clean out the bottom bucket, or dump the scrap material in your garbage or compost heap.
Things You Will Need
- 2 heavy-duty plastic buckets, 5 gallons
- Electric drill with 1/4-inch bit for drilling plastic
- Permanent marker
- Ruler or tape measure
- Many people who sift their pellets do so only to the last few pounds in each bag, because that is where the dust and scrap material tends to settle.