SHOTD: Michael Graves Shredmaster 20G

Michael Graves Shredmaster 20G

Our household receives a truly obscene quantity of mail every single day. Stupid amounts of mail. We also have a policy of shredding pretty much everything that has our name on it that we don’t want to keep. And we tend to deal with the inbound mail in batches.

This leads to a problem. Namely, mounds of crap to be shredded. Now, I have ranted about shredders in the past. And, as a past post suggest, I did pick up the Michael Graves shredder from Target. Still going strong. Ironically, it appears to no longer be available.

My three peeves with said shredder: (1) insanely small capacity combined with overly sensitive “is full” sensor meant that I had to repeatedly reach into the bin to mush down the shredded material, (2) cannot shred into a bag because of the small capacity and the safety switches leading to having to dump the bazillions of small pieces of shredded crap into a waste receptacle (invariably making a mess) and (3) the insanely small capacity led to creating a pile of not-quite-shredworthy stuff next to the shredder during use which, in turn and combined with (1) and (2), made the entire process so tediously stupid that it only ever happened every few months, leading to piles of to-be-shredded-stuff hidden away in a corner.

No more.

High Capacity Shredder

Building a high capacity shredder is rather easy.

Pick up a 20 gallon (or larger) rubber trash can from your local hardware store.

Turn the lid of the trash can upside down, set the shredder inside of it, and draw an outline. If the shredder has tapered sides, then then outline of the base will be about the right size. If the shredder has vertical sides, then make the outline smaller than the base of the shredder!

Cut a hole in the lid along the outline. Now, make about 10 evenly spaced 1.5″ cuts perpendicular to the edge of the hole in the lid. You can see what I mean in this photo.

Shove the shredder into the lid until the fit is snug. Draw a line around the shredder an inch or so below the end of the flaps in the lid.

Remove shredder and cut off along the line.

Shove the now bottomless shredder back through the lid. Even it out a bit.

Grab a drill and drill holes through the shredder and garbage can lid. Fasten the two together using stiff wire or wire ties (I used both, completely at random).

Stick an appropriately sized bag in the trash can, attach the lid, put the shredding mechanism together and shred away.

(SHOTD — Stupid Hack of the Day. Taint nothin’ elegant or neat about this hack. And hack it is; I used a pair of poultry shears on the can lid and a tree saw to hack the bottom off the shredder. It was late. I was irritated.)



5 Responses to “SHOTD: Michael Graves Shredmaster 20G”

  1. Daniel Jalkut says:

    I am with you on the shredding habit, and I agree that most of them suck. But my shredding needs went way down after I put my name on the mail preference service list:

    http://www.dmaconsumers.org/consumerassistance.html

    It sucks that it costs $1 now, but it really works. Marketers have decades of experience subtracting the opt-out list from their mailing lists, and are required to do so if they want to be part of the Direct Marketing Association. It takes a while to sink in but when all the junk mail stops coming you’ll be happy.

    There’s also a separate service by the credit card companies specifically for credit offers. I signed up for this about 5 years ago and haven’t received a personal credit card offer since.

  2. argod says:

    Only problem with shredding is that is no longer recyclable.
    Somebody needs to work on that. and you have to dispose
    of the clippings using clear plastic bags.

  3. Daniel Jalkut says:

    When I lived in San Francisco, the recycling company told me the same thing, and recommended composting the shredded paper. But in Somerville, MA, where I now live, the agency claims that they can recycle the shredded paper, so I put it out in paper bags.

  4. bbum says:

    I would recommend against composting anything but newspaper that is printed with a biodegradable ink (typically soy based). The chemicals in bulk mailings– color print, in particular — are fairly nasty and many are not likely to break down in composting.

    While the concentrations are pretty low, it would be unfortunate to poison your compost pile over the years as the chemicals build up. Compost piles already lose 70% to 80% of their volume as the composting materials break down into dirt. Anything that doesn’t rot in that environ is just going to be concentrated.

    Me? I’m going to continue putting the shredded stuff in large, tough, bags in my recycling. Easily separated that way and should eliminate most of the “flurry of shredded bits” that so often cause problems.

  5. Jim McDonald says:

    A word on Shredders. All shredders are not the same some shred in lines others cut across and down. Government departments will not purchase anything other than cross cut shredders they offer extra protection against the determined thief. Believe me there are guys out there willing to sift through cuttings in your bin .

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