Hands-free hand washing

During these past two weeks, amid our spring rush to ready the field and get things transplanted, Jeremy and his father hooked up the plumbing in our pack shed. Along with our three basin sink and spray table, we now also have water running to our hand washing sink. We had been using a big blue water jug modified with an added water spigot for hand washing, but we’ve now taken hand washing all the way Uptown with a hands-free day-spa experience (click on this link for a video of this in action).

This is so super slick and simple, we wanted to share construction notes for any other farmer friends who might be looking for something fun to do with all their heaps of spare time. You can also find this and a myriad of other helpful resources, plans, ideas posted on Farm Hack.

Materials we used:

  • wood, scrap boards and 2×4″s
  • small sink basin (we found this one at the ReStore)
  • 1/4″ carriage bolt
  • coupling threaded onto 1/4″ All-Thread rod
  • 4-1/4″ nuts
  • valve – handle drilled with holes
  • 1/8″ eye bolt and nylon locking nuts
  • 1/2″ NPT fitting
  • a faucet (we’re using an old shower head that we picked up for $.25 at a yard sale on the side of the road near Dixon, NM)
  • 2 adjustable spring hinges

How to:

  • Build a frame for your sink. Ours has counter space next to the sink for ? (soap dispenser, towel dispenser, vase of fresh-cut flowers, Jeremy’s loofa, Caboodles, and curling iron, maybe one of those essential oil thingies with diffuser sticks, you know: all the day spa amenities). And being in proximity to food in our packshed, we put splash guard walls on two sides of it.  Currently, our sink drains into a five gallon bucket.
  • In building the frame for the sink, leave space open for the knee bar to swing through (i.e. no legs, deep sink basin, or plumbing/pipes in the way). The knee bar is attached with spring hinges; we have 2, but one would probably be strong enough.
  • The drain valve for winterizing the plumbing has a short bit of pipe at a 45 degree angle which we can also use to fill buckets.
  • We put the on/off valve horizontal (though not quite level so it drains) to match the direction of the push rod. If necessary for your plumbing situation, you could make a replacement handle for the valve facing 90° perpendicular.
  • Drill a series of holes in the valve handle for adjustment or fine tuning.
  • Attach a carriage bolt to the All-Thread using coupling and a couple of lock nuts. Find a path from the valve to the knee bar that by-passes the frame and plumbing. Drill a hole in the back of the knee bar for the head of the carriage bolt to sit in and hold the bolt in place, but free to pivot, with two crossed pieces of plumbers’ tape. Use nuts on the All-Thread to set the knee bar-to-lever distance where you want it and use locking pairs of nuts to hold this in place.
  • Test and adjust.
  • Wash up.

With sparkles and bubbles, t & j

**P.S.! 6/16, edited to add THIS article and THIS video about Stephen Wamukota, a nine-year-old boy from Kenya who, in response to the Corona virus outbreak, invented/designed/built a genius hands-free handwashing station – pedal powered – with hand sanitizer dispenser. <3

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