Country Lore: Make this Multipurpose Grain Scoop

A homemade grain scoop, such as this one, is a handy tool in the barn and garden.

| February/March 2008

grain scoop

This classic homemade grain scoop is useful for handling birdseed, chicken feed, fertilizer and more.

Photo by Raj Chaudhry

A sturdy scoop has myriad uses around the homestead, from measuring feed to mixing soil. While you can buy serviceable ones at feed stores, you’ll find it satisfying to craft your own. Here’s a time-tested design for a grain scoop that’s simple to build and farm-tough.

The scoop’s body and handle are hardwood and its blade is light-gauge steel. The grain scoop pictured is made from red oak and stainless steel. But, by all means, use what you have.

For a big, robust homemade scoop, I like 22-gauge steel (0.03-inch thick). And I’ve found that 20-gauge (0.036-inch) is about the thickest you can reasonably employ. Anything thicker will be difficult to cut and bend by hand.

Use ring-shank roofing nails, sometimes called slating nails, to attach the scoop blade to the body. They are available in stainless and galvanized steel. Their broad heads work like washers, clamping the sheet metal tightly while spreading the load. Plus, their angular rings work like screw threads, capturing wood fibers to prevent the fasteners from working loose.

To protect the wood, I use Tried & True Varnish Oil, a linseed-oil-based finish. It contains no heavy metal driers and no volatile organic compounds (VOCs).

Grain Scoop Construction Details

Materials required for pictured scoop

mother earth news fair


Oct. 21-22, 2017
Topeka, KS.

More than 150 workshops, great deals from more than 200 exhibitors, off-stage demos, inspirational keynotes, and great food!