Ah yes, back to beer. :-9 Since my misadventures with bad lautering during my last brew session, I've decided to construct myself an actual container for mashing and lautering (heating and straining) per several sets of instructions I've found online and in some of the many books I've acquired.
I went casting about for materials yesterday evening. There are several options, but the one that appealed to me most involved the use of a Rubbermaid water cooler with a DIY extraction manifold in the bottom. A manifold, in this case, is a network of tubes and/or pipes with slots in the top to allow liquid in and then carry that liquid out the side of the cooler.
Here's a diagram of my intended manifold build (figure 163, the quadrant-divided ring).
I snagged the cooler for just under $20 at Wal-Mart, and then hopped by my local Lowe's to grab the vinyl tubing and hose-barb connectors to make the ring pictured in the link above. I even scored a hose-barbed ball valve to regulate the flow of wort out of the thing. The one thing I didn't manage to find (through a lack of expertise on both my part and that of my Lowe's associate) was a means of sealing/gasketing the exit of the tube through the hole that used to hold the cooler's thumb-operated spigot. I'm hoping that'll be easier to find tonight.
In short, it's gone well. The manifold is built (I'll try to take a picture of it and the cooler tonight), and once the cooler's watertight again around the exit tube I'll be loaded for bear for an all-grain batch. I haven't decided yet whether I'm going to try again on the Resolve IPA (which is still distressingly cloudy and dark) or plunge into the juniper-and-rye world of Sahti.