Freeze Proof Dirt Instruction
Freeze Proof Dirt Instruction
INSTRUCTIONS FOR DIRT WEATHERPROOFING
NOTE: 1 cup of Flake Wax = approximately 1/4 pound
Making waterproof and freezeproof trapbedding is easy as long as you follow a few simple steps. At all times clean equipment should be used to keep from contaminating the trapbedding material. Be extra careful not to drop any human sweat on the soil, wax, or equipment being used. Hint: A 4 x 8 sheet of plywood set up on blocks or saw horses to work on will save your back and make the dirt waterproofing operation much easier.
First, you will need powder dry, sifted soil. Since sand is just a small rock, it won't absorb wax, soil that is relatively free of sand works best. You will also find that soil that is relatively free of organic matter works best because humus materials absorb too much wax. Just plain dirt free of sand and organic materials as possible works best. Collecting your dirt during a dry period will minimize the drying time.
For drying your soil, spreading it on a sheet of black plastic in a spot that receives full sun works great. A day or two is all it takes to completely dry. About dark each night, cover up the soil to protect it from dew that might collect. Uncover it each morning around sunrise.
After the dirt is dry sift it to remove any rocks, leaves, roots, etc. You want the dirt completely pulverized so the wax can coat each grain. The finer the dirt is pulverized, the better it will work. Now mix 3 cups (3/4 pound) of flake wax with each gallon of dry, sifted and pulverized dirt. The mixture is now ready to be heated so the wax can be absorbed by the dirt to waterproof it.
SOLAR HEATING METHOD: Set up the plywood in the full sun and cover it with a sheet of heavy black plastic. Spread a layer of your dirt-wax mixture about two inches thick on the black plastic. It's a good idea to layer dirt and wax onto the plastic so the bottom dirt will have a chance for the melted wax to adhere to it. Cover the dirt-wax mixture with a sheet of clear plastic and prop it up about a foot or two above the mixture and let the sun heat the mixture until the wax is absorbed by the dirt (usually around 2-4 hours). The dirt is now completely weatherproof - it won‘t rust your traps and is waterproof, freezeproof, and free of contamination. Towards the end of the melting process you can stir if it doesn't look even. Blend and mix the dirt well before putting it into your storage container. Store the dirt in plastic bags or clean garbage cans until you need it when the weather gets nasty, and the rest of the trappers are forced to quit.
OVEN HEATING METHOD: Caution: Only use an oven that is self cleaning or the dirt will probably be saturated with food odors that will render it worthless as a trap bedding material.
First, set your oven on clean and turn it on. After the clean cycle is completed, place an uncovered pan(s) of the dirt-wax in the oven and set it on 300 degrees. It will go faster if you don?t have the dirt more than two or three inches thick. Stirring every 30 minutes or so will also speed up the heating time. When the mixture is thoroughly heated it can be removed, cooled, and stored.
HEAT LAMP HEATING METHOD: In a protected spot like a basement, shop, or garage, spread a sheet of heavy black plastic on your working service and then spread two inches of your dirt-wax mixture on the plastic. Now suspend a large heat lamp about 2 feet over each 4x4 section of dirt. (If using a 4x8 sheet of plywood, 2 heat lamps will be required.)
Surrounded the whole setup with plastic or plywood to help hold in the heat and the heat the dirt-wax mixture until you can no longer see any wax in the dirt. Stirring will speed up the process. Cool and store and use.
WAXED DIRT WITH A CONCRETE MIXER:
Start with the basics, outlined above, i.e.: dry, cleaned and sifted dirt, flaked wax at the ratio (1 cup of Flake Wax equals approximately 1/4 of a pound) of 3 cups (or 3/4 pound) of flake wax to one gallon of prepared dirt.
Pour the measured dirt in to the concrete mixer, and turn the mixer on. You can add wax at this point, BUT I get a better result by warming my dirt before adding the wax.
Heat the dirt as the concrete mixer turns. There are several ways to do this:
1) Use a kerosene fueled brush and fence row torch, and heat the tumbling dirt until warm; 2) Use a propane "rose bud" for heating. I have tried both the fence row torch and the rose bud. I prefer the rose bud, but either method words. 3) Dye and wax pot burner. I have not tried this method, but I have been told by trappers I consider competent, that they use the same burner they use for dyeing and waxing traps, mounted under the mixer.
Whatever way you use, stir the dirt from time-to-time to achieve uniform heating.
Once the dirt is warm -- Not Hot -- slowly add the wax, and make sure that it mixes well as it is added.
If you are getting a good mix, you can turn off the heat and let the mixture tumble. Or you can continue to heat as necessary. Don't get the mix any hotter than it would be in any of the other methods. Don't risk scorching the wax by heating it smoking hot.
When the mixture suits you, and there is no visible wax, turn off the heat, if you are still applying heat, and tumble until cool.
I occasionally stir the mixture with a small ash shovel usually used for fireplace or wood stove cleaning. I know the tumbling is making a uniform mix, but I cannot seem help myself. I think I am looking for lumps. I have never found any, but I occasionally stir anyway.