Sunday, 12 April 2015

What to do with Sawdust?

I've been using my planner a bit lately with the work that I do and it's given me a waste product I'm not sure how to use. The offcuts make great firewood and kindling but the sawdust isn't as useful. 
Although I've happily been using the waste product from my brothers work, in the form of wood chip on the garden, I'm still not sure with what I should be doing with mine. Sawdust from dried oak boards produced loads of tannin when it gets wet and all the water that pools around it turns black, not something I want to be spreading on the garden then! 
The ton bag below was produced from one mornings worth of planning up oak boards, so you can see how easy it is to amass a fair pile in a short space of time. 
Any softwood shavings are used as chicken bedding that are then composted down, but I'm still not sure what to do with all these oak shavings or other hardwoods, I'm creating huge amounts but it would still be good to put them to use.
Any suggestions? And I haven't got any meat to smoke so that's out for now!

32 comments:

  1. the bespoke carpentry business behind me sells sawdust pellets for fires and log burners. They are just compressed sawdust nuggets. dont know whether you could reproduce these in a home situation?

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    1. That's one thing I was thinking of doing, although I wouldn't sell them just use them myself.

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  2. just remembered, during the last war they used to make coal briquettes with coal dust and a very weak cement mix. Used a flower pot as a mould like sand castles. Maybe the same would work with sawdust and a weak pva glue mix. Your girls would love making sawdust sand castles!

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    1. Might not be very good for their hands though! there are different mixing agents I could use so it might call for an experiment.

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  3. Do you have any places nearby that DO smoke meat, you could barter a ton of sawdust for a joint of meat or something similar. Otherwise the fire brick idea is a good one if you can do that.

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    1. Not that I know of although that may be worth a google to check.

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  4. You could make fire logs by mixing the sawdust with paper pulp, or have a look on here http://www.toolcrib.com/blog/2008/06/28-ways-to-recycle-and-reuse-sawdust-and-woodchips loads of ideas :-)

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    1. Great link thanks Dawn. I like the bit on there about mushrooms....

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  5. Compost it. HOWEVER, do not include walnut or anything else with chemicals in the wood that might damage plants.

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    1. that is one option and there will be some composted although it's going to be acidic so can only be used on some plants

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  6. When I was installing and refinishing hardwood floors we made around a hundred gallons of wood dust a week, and always thought it could be used for fuel if mixed with a binding agent. Never actually got around to experimenting, but with a hammer mil pelletizer like the ones used for making animal food pellets one could compress them in to useable fuel.
    https://www.youtube.com/user/makewoodpellets

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  7. Something like this perhaps?
    http://moderndayredneck.blogspot.com/2012/12/diy-sawdust-fire-log.html

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    1. This idea certainly has legs! I'm quite tempted to experiment making something liek this one night and seeing how it does. Cheers!

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  8. No ideas from me, but some of the ones already left sound good. The bartering idea is really good. No more work for you than your doing now to get the sawdust, if you could barter for meat that would be a nice use and save you some $$ on your grocery bill.

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    1. I doubt there would be much given back to me as I'm sure tehre are plenty of chippies trying to get rid of the stuff, although it might be worth a go. Maybe I could smoke veg!

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  9. An assortment of ideas....
    firstly... you may not have any meat to smoke...
    but bag it up [small] and put it by the gate with an honesty box...
    others will have...
    just label it "Dry Oak Planings for smoking and barbecues"...
    with the summer coming up it should walk!

    If it doesn't....
    mix up a lime mortar and stir the woodchip in...
    it can be moulded by hand to make nest boxes...
    instructions are on the web.
    And, suitably togged with safety specs and coveralls....
    you could let the kids have a go.

    And, on the fuel mix idea....
    get the kids making blocks to dry in the sun....
    make a very runny papier-maché using flour glue and election publicity ... or newspapers... and stir in the sawdust until you have a mix that is easily moulded by hand and stays that shape.

    Tim

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    1. Or failing all those, burn it / smoulder it down into ash...
      and use that on the garden....
      onions adore potash...
      as do fruit trees at this time of the year...
      in fact, I can't think of many things that don't.

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    2. Burning it to use on the garden is a greatly idea and be good for the less than perfect stuff with multiple species in one pile. I also like the idea of the selling it for people to use on their BBQs.

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  10. We use it in our car port in the winter,spread all over it helps provide a non slip surface..we also fill holes/ruts in our dirt driveway with it.
    Jane x

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    1. I have it scattered outside the workshop for the same reason although it does annoy me when it's wet as it sticks to my boots and walks everywhere!

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  11. We don't generate sawdust in those quantities but we do produce some as well as shavings and small pieces of wood when we cut up wood for the woodburner. I keep all the flour and sugar bags and any small boxes and fill them with the chips of wood. Then top up with a handful of sawdust to fill the gaps between the wood chips. The result is some easily made "blocks" of wood which burn well - although obviously not quite as well as a proper log. But they are made from a waste product and help stretch the real logs which we spend a lot of time sourcing for free.

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    1. The paper bags thing is another good idea, I'm really glad I put this on the blog as I'm sure I wouldn't have come up with half of the ideas on here!

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  12. I made two tailors hams from the sawdust that I got from my friend who has a woodshop. I kept one and gave one to my DIL who makes her own clothes....Each one took a huge amount of sawdus(think a dustbin full )t but they would make a lovely gift for someone.

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    1. Wow that much sawdust! When we've got pigs that might be something we consider doing! I love cured hams like that.

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  13. I love that you want to put it to good use! I know folks are recommending using it for smoking meat, but I have to say that we don't care for the flavor oak gives meat. We much prefer our pecan and hickory. I like the idea of pellets for burning better. Will be interesting when you decide!

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    1. I hate waste and the wood is so expensive when I buy it that I just want to use every last bit! I've not smoked with oak before but I've read that people like it.

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  14. I use wood chip and shavings as mulch on my garden beds and paths, it breaks down and builds wonderful soil

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    1. I think these oak shavings would be too acidic. I have wood chip that I use as a mulch and that works well so far, these are a little stronger though.

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  15. Have read somewhere on one of the chicken blogs that, hardwood shavings are a good deep litter bedding for chickens,apparently they don't get mouldy like softwood chippings. Not tried it as, unable to get any locally.

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    1. The only trouble is they don;t soak up the mess so well. I tend to use straw which I get for free (so long as dad isn't looking!)

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  16. You could make one of these:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qj7X9X8LTe0

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    1. That's quite cool! When I get to build my workshop that might be a good addition to have in there!

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