Saturday, October 17, 2009

Homemade Pea Sheller

Having grown up on a farm, I can appreciate the labour-saving advantage machines provide for larger-than-backyard scale agricultural work. As a child I was fascinated by the various machines littering our farm in all their mechanical complexity and glory (and sometimes lack of).

Gradually with age I have come to avoid mechanical complexity as much as possible (for various reasons, esp. $$$) and enjoy the simple but effective, quiet, non-motorized hand-held tools of the backyard garden. But I must admit my aunt's homemade pea sheller seems like a great idea for both rural and urban agriculture. Shelling peas from a large garden can become tedious!

Step 1: Load peas into inner threshing cylinder.

Step 2: Set wire-mesh door in place onto the cylinder. The wire-mesh holds the pods while the peas fall through.

Step 3: Close outer screened hatch and slide pea collection tray below the wire-mesh cylinder. The outer screen keeps the peas from flying all over the place.

Step 4: Turn crank (various methods, see below).

The pulleys on the right side spin the inner paddles inside the threshing cylinder at a speed faster than the hand crank. The pulleys on the left turn the outer paddles & wire mesh cylinder at a slower speed than the hand crank. This causes the pea pods to get a real paddling, gradually split open and separates the peas from the pods. The peas fall through the wire-mesh onto the collection tray below while the pods remain inside the wire-mesh cylinder.

The pea sheller was built using plans from Saskatchewan Agriculture's website.

I'm thinking this could be a great project for a community garden. This is one option of many for such a device, but seems to be effective.

For those overwhelmed by the thought of turning a crank for a lengthy time, they can always try my aunt's method of attaching an electric drill to the crankshaft. Even my uncle was convinced after first scoffing at this method. My aunt left to pick some more peas leaving my uncle to operate the crank. When she returned, she found him using the drill!


The Blog Fodder said...

I vaguely recall my Grandpa Johnson making three of those for his daughter's including Saryn's grandma. It may still be around. It ran with a small electric motor.

Golden Ears Farm said...

What a great machine. It would sure be helpful to have the measurements. We're trying to build a bicycle powered one.

K said...

Does this work for dried beans or just fresh peas? Any measurements of materials suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Middle Earth Garden said...

Plans with measurements for building the sheller have now been added to the post above.

Regarding beans, my aunt says she never tried shelling beans with it. She figured it might work but there may be quite a bit of extra bean shell material with the finished product.

She also adds, "you should also mention that to clean the finished product I find it works good to run it over a damp cookie sheet. The peas roll off and the chaff sticks to the damp cookie sheet. It takes a few repeat rolls but it works great."

brustlhr said...

if you do not want to make one of these the are sold at
wonderful machine easy to work and clean!