Baling Pine Straw using a Hand Powered Box Baler

Pine Straw Hand Baler Plans

A hand-powered, box baler can be easily constructed from common materials as outlined below. A average person should be able to bale approximately 100, 35-40 pound bales per day using this baler.

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Move the mouse pointer over the letter to view a description of that part.

Plunger handle

Made from 2x3 or 2x4 stock.

50 inches long.

Round over edges for comfort


Use 2x3 or 2x4 stock.

Measure 9.5 inches long from bolt 1 - 2 and 7 inches long from bolt 2 - 3.

Attach to handle (A) with 3 bolts.

Use double washers with bolts 1 and 2. Don't overtighten.

Compressor Arm

Made from 2x4 stock.

24 inches long.

Connects to lever (B) using bolt 2 (use double washers).

Don't overtighten.

Compressor Pad

Made from 1/2 inch thick plywood.

10.5" long by 12.5" wide.

Connect to Compressor Arm (C) and Supports (E) with construction adhesive and deck screws

Pad Supports

Made from 2x4 stock.

10.5" long.

Connect to Compressor Arm (C) and Pad (D) with glue and deck screws

Lever Fulcrum

Made from 2x4 stock

63" long, equal with box base and protrudes 20" above the box height.

Connect to Plywood back with screws and Lever (B) with bolt and washers.

Don't overtighten.

String Holder

Drive an 1.5-inch long nail or screw into the box back on each side of Fulcrum (F).

Used to hold the baling string in place as pine straw is loaded into the baler.

Front Brace

Made from 1x2 stock.

Cut to 18 inches long.

Sides and Back

Use 1/2" exterior grade plywood.

Sides are 43 x 12 inches.

Back is 43 x 15.5 inches.

Connect to corner Braces (J) with 1-1/4 deck screws and construction adhesive.

Corner Supports

Made from four, 2 x 4 stock pieces cut to 43" length.

Connect to corner plywood back and sides with with 1-1/4 deck screws and construction adhesive.


Use 1/2" exterior grade plywood cut to 15.5" x 38".

Cut two slots in the door. Make a groove at the bottom of the slot to hold the string in proper alignment.

String Retaining Bolts

Four eye-bolts at the bottom of the baler are important to hold the string in the proper alignment as the pine straw is loaded and compressed.


Make a 59" x 15.5" frame from 2x4s. Include a central brace

Cover with 1/2" exterior-grade plywood.


Rolls of nylon string are mounted on a plywood platform on each side of the box.


Use a barrel-bolt latch at th top of the door (shown next to J).

Use a 2 x 3 brace to secure the bottom of the door during baling.

Pine Straw Hand Baling Sequence of Steps

Hand Baling Movie

You can view a QuickTime movie showing the hand baling process narrated by Dr. Henry Pearson, Agroforestry Consultant. Click on the desired movie size below to begin downloading. Requires that you have the free QuickTime Player installed on your computer.

320 x 280
for slower connections

640 x 480
for high speed connections

Step by Step Pine Straw Baling

The following images outline the sequence of steps taken to successfully produce quality pine straw bales using the hand-powered box baler described above. Click on the Step number below the image to view that pine straw hand baling step. Click on the image to view a larger, higher resolution image.

Intro 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8