All Replies on what are some uses for sawdust??

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View indplswoodworking's profile

what are some uses for sawdust??

by indplswoodworking
posted 04-21-2013 05:08 PM

45 replies so far

View a1Jim's profile


118153 posts in 4547 days

#1 posted 04-21-2013 05:18 PM

use as a mulch around plants,use in chicken coops and horse stalls,mix in soil for better soil moister content . mix with other composting material in a compost bin,use to absorb oil spills in driveways.


View stan3443's profile


301 posts in 3245 days

#2 posted 04-21-2013 05:23 PM

Absuluty no walnut for horse bedding

-- If your not supposed to have hair on your face......why does it grow their

View Marcus's profile


1165 posts in 2989 days

#3 posted 04-21-2013 06:00 PM

I annoy my neighbors by dumping it in the woods behind the house if that helps :)

I would love to hear some ideas too.

View JoeinGa's profile


7741 posts in 2977 days

#4 posted 04-21-2013 06:21 PM

I keep some of the finer dust to use as “oil-dry”, it seems to soak up the oil better then the chunkier stuff. I put the rest of it around my rose bushes and trees for bedding. After it gets wet a few times it will clump up and harden some, so couple times a year I take a steel rake and break it up.

-- Perform A Random Act Of Kindness Today ... Pay It Forward

View rhett's profile


743 posts in 4637 days

#5 posted 04-21-2013 06:40 PM

I am in the process of converting an old hydraulic bearing press into a sawdust log maker. Once I get the kinks worked out I will post the finished product.

-- Doubt kills more dreams than failure.

View BigMig's profile


549 posts in 3583 days

#6 posted 04-21-2013 06:58 PM

I listen to a gardenign program on the radio and the host specifically says NOT to use it as a mulch – bacteria draw nutrients out of teh soil min breaking down the sawdust…so don’t put it in conposting bin, nor use it as mulch.

Sorry for the bad news.

-- Mike from Lansdowne, PA

View Airspeed's profile


465 posts in 2872 days

#7 posted 04-21-2013 07:54 PM

I use it for all sorts of stuff, I mix it with different types of cleaners to soak up spills, it works great mixed with carpet cleaner for stains in carpet, just rub it in and lets it soak up the stain, I mix it so its not wet, just so it sticks together. I use to soak up oil or water spilled in the shop. If I’m building something that needs extra strength I mix it with glue to make fillets, I did this on a wooden boat ant really made a difference. Sawdust works great cleaning oil out of concrete, just rub it into the concrete with a chunk of 2X4 and sweep it up. That’s not going to use up as much as you throw away but it’s a start!


View sprucegum's profile


324 posts in 2967 days

#8 posted 04-21-2013 08:05 PM Found this on craigs list recently not too far from where I live but a little farther than I want to go to trade a pickup load of sawdust for a pork chop with gas prices the way they are. Besides a friend already takes them and give me a few eggs when he has extra.

-- A tube of calk and a gallon of paint will make a carpenter what he ain't

View WDHLT15's profile


1819 posts in 3446 days

#9 posted 04-22-2013 12:49 PM

Because of the high carbon to nitrogen ratio of sawdust, It will not breakdown without supplemental nitrogen. If you mix it in the soil, the bacteria that breaks it down will steal the nitrogen from the soil, and your plants will be nitrogen deficient and turn yellow. You have to add nitrogen to the sawdust for it to breakdown, then it will be good to add to the soil. You could put it in a pile, mix in nitrogen fertilizer (Miracle Grow is high in nitrogen), and let it decompose before adding it the the soil. Be aware that the heat from the decomposition process of sawdust in a large pile could cause spontaneous combustion, and the pile could catch on fire. Very large sawdust piles can smolder for months.

I make a lot of sawdust with my sawmill. I add it as a topcover mulch in places where I do not want grass or weeds to grow. It retards weeds and grass, and works fine for that purpose as long as you leave it on top of the soil and do not mix it in the soil. Works good around trees and shrubs. Throw on a handful of high nitrogen fertilizer.

-- Danny Located in Perry, GA. Forester. Wood-Mizer LT40HD35 Sawmill. Nyle L53 Dehumidification Kiln.

View Mark Davisson's profile

Mark Davisson

598 posts in 4287 days

#10 posted 04-22-2013 01:35 PM

I’ve watched some youtube videos on making burnable bricks from sawdust. The idea that seems most effective to me is to soak (for a couple of days) the sawdust in a tub of water that also includes shredded newspaper and/or grass clippings. I don’t think the proportions matter that much – say 1 part sawdust, 1 part newspaper and 1 part grass clippings.

After the couple of days of soaking, place the slurry in some sort of form and compact it as much as possible (using a bottle jack or lever press), removing as much of the water as possible. Remove the still-damp brick from the form and set it out for a couple of months to dry. Then they’re ready for winter use.

-- I'm selfless because it feels so good!

View Sandblastguy's profile


42 posts in 3081 days

#11 posted 04-22-2013 01:52 PM

Mix it with wax and stuff it in a toilet paper tube then when it hardens cut it into pucks with your bandsaw. Now you have a stack of fire starters for the fire place or the camp fire. You can put a wick in each one or wrap them in news paper as a starter. Great little give aways and a great use for sawdust.

-- Sandblastguy Orangeville On. Creating Art From Nature

View dbray45's profile


3391 posts in 3746 days

#12 posted 04-22-2013 02:09 PM

There are a lot of plants and animals that can be injured from walnut and several other species.

If you are running oak, pine, cherry, and maple, you should be good.

-- David in Palm Bay, FL

View rob_port's profile


1 post in 2830 days

#13 posted 04-22-2013 02:34 PM

With MDF and particle board waste I wouldn’t use it for composting or animal bedding. If you can separate out your waste into wood and engineered wood, I would suggest using the wood sawdust as WDHLT15 suggests.
I mix mine with urine and leave it as a mulch 1-3’ from plants I want to feed, so that they don’t get an ammonia shock.
For the engineered wood waste, I’d probably save it and use it as an aggregate with cement where I need stiffness but not massive loadbearing.

View Pdub's profile


926 posts in 4150 days

#14 posted 04-22-2013 02:44 PM

If you don’t want to keep it, check with your local boy/girl scout troops. I recently gave away a bag so they could make fire starters like Sandblastguy mentioned earlier.

-- Paul, North Dakota, USAF Ret.

View SteviePete's profile


226 posts in 4273 days

#15 posted 04-22-2013 05:37 PM

I keep MDF, Walnut, Butternut, Plywood and fine dusts from the saws out of the compost. The leftover chips (use a separation unit). I trade for compost. I actually prefer mill dust and hogged bark for compost. But I settle for planer chips. Before getting kuku about the brown vs green mix – composting will eliminate most of the obnoxious horse pee and stall wastes odor. You will need some N unless your use topsoil for your admixture. What a fine neighbor you could be. If it stinks too much just let it sit for another season. Mix the pile when the wind is right. So many ways to get good soil amendments. Try fish guts, food waste (no meat scrap), grain or flour mill dust. Use University Extension to test the NPK ratio—-it will tell you exactly what you have or need to get a stabilized product. (I think you need to run organic acids for stability.) Lots of good literature on composting various waste streams. Good luck. Steve, On Wisconsin!

-- Steve, 'Sconie Great White North

View 1yeldud1's profile


301 posts in 4012 days

#16 posted 04-22-2013 05:44 PM

I have friends who have outside wood burning stoves – they will take every scrap[ piece of wood and ALL the saw dust I have on hand. They actualyl compete for these scraps to get their stoves started. It is a Win/Win situation as one of these gentlemen has several hundred board feel of rough sawed lumber stored in a grain bin on his farm. He has supplied me with large chunks of cedar boards at my request. A GOOD deal for ALL

View Tim's profile


3859 posts in 2931 days

#17 posted 04-23-2013 12:03 AM

Yes, like wood-mizer says, it can work very well in compost, you just have to be aware of the carbon to nitrogen ratios, and air/water etc so you don’t get an overheating issue. If you use it as mulch it will steal nitrogen which isn’t really a problem if you don’t want things to grow there. Household fruit and vegetable scraps are high in nitrogen as are grass clippings and urine if you’re up for that. Like Steve said you don’t have to get crazy about your ratios but saying you can’t compost sawdust is nonsense.

As others mentioned avoid walnut, engineered products, and pressure treated wood of course.

If you want to use the walnut sawdust, use it as a weed preventative, just watch out it will make that area unsuitable to the susceptible plants for several years. Or use it for the alternative uses like pressed logs, fire starters, etc as above.

View NaFianna's profile


529 posts in 3996 days

#18 posted 04-23-2013 12:29 AM

If you can keep the engineered and toxic stuff separate – finde some one who smokes their own fish or game – or has an out door stove.

-- Cad a dheanfaimid feasta gan adhmad.......?

View woodbutcherbynight's profile


7239 posts in 3379 days

#19 posted 04-23-2013 01:21 AM

For those with coarse hands, specifically mechanics and other trades, it makes a great additive to soap for the pumice touch. Those with softer hands maybe not so good, one could get splinters. Oil dry is a great standby, I take mine to work, we use it faster than I can make it especially with the new guys that seem to think a drain bucket is a suggestion, not a requirement. I have given it to the Girl Scouts, in trade for some cookies…. For my wife.. (laughing)

-- Live to tell the stories, they sound better that way.

View Airspeed's profile


465 posts in 2872 days

#20 posted 04-23-2013 02:06 AM

I heated my house for years with nothing more than scraps of plywood and trashed lumber (worked at a lumber yard) as long as you have a good wood stove there’s no danger of gasses getting in the house.


View Shawn Masterson's profile

Shawn Masterson

1325 posts in 2918 days

#21 posted 04-23-2013 11:08 AM

On the note of burning it be careful. I do this but onetime I put it in a box and loaded it on some hot coals, and when the box burned up the pile fell making a dust cloud and it ignited blow up so to speak. It blew fire out of the door vents and scare the sh*t out of me. I have been investigating wood logs.

View scotsman9's profile


134 posts in 2858 days

#22 posted 04-23-2013 11:21 AM

With 100lbs every morning, I would say invest in a pellet maker. May as well turn all that dust into income.

OH I just reread it….you said every month. A Ha. So maybe hold off on the pellet maker.

-- Just a man and his opinion.

View sandyf's profile


61 posts in 2830 days

#23 posted 04-23-2013 11:53 AM

theres some good tips here thanks

View DS's profile


3611 posts in 3390 days

#24 posted 04-23-2013 04:56 PM

There’s always pyrotechnic applications for sawdust… I personally don’t recommend this, so don’t sue me if you blow yourself up. It does look cool though.

-- "Hard work is not defined by the difficulty of the task as much as a person's desire to perform it.", DS251

View indplswoodworking's profile


325 posts in 3263 days

#25 posted 04-23-2013 04:59 PM

That is an awesome video but I would never do that in a million years plus I am sure it is against our home owners association rules.


View RussellAP's profile


3105 posts in 3256 days

#26 posted 04-23-2013 05:42 PM

I took all my lathe shavings and pushed them along the fence between my and the neighbors. One fine windy day they threw our a cig and it caught fire. Good thing I was there. The DC stuff is different, I use it to border the tight spot between my gardens. It stays pretty wet so not much risk of a fire, but you need to be careful and I’d never put it where it can do damage to the house if it did catch fire.

Be careful.

-- A positive attitude will take you much further than positive thinking ever will.

View dhazelton's profile


2839 posts in 3266 days

#27 posted 04-23-2013 05:56 PM

I wonder if you poured a LITTLE melted paraffin into some sawdust in a pail and folded it together like a very stiff paste if you could trowel it into something like a muffin tin or silicone bread pan and make your own Duraflame log. I wonder at what point the cost of the paraffin gets in the way (if you had access to spent unscented candles that would make things cheaper). I wonder how it would burn in the woodstove? At the very least they could be used as small fire starting blocks.

View dhazelton's profile


2839 posts in 3266 days

#28 posted 04-23-2013 05:59 PM

View runswithscissors's profile


3124 posts in 2995 days

#29 posted 04-24-2013 05:54 AM

I have an old fashioned trash burner in my shop. Sometimes I stuff a medium size paper bag with sawdust, roll the top shut, and hold it shut with a piece of masking tape. Pop it in the stove (with a fire already well established), and it burns fine. Even though the bag burns up, the sawdust seems to stay in a compact loaf and burn at a steady rate. Haven’t had any problems with this at all. (Except for polluting the atmosphere).

As for using sawdust for mulch or as compostable material, it is high in carbon, and the bacteria that work it down will use up the nitrogen in the soil. Eventually, when it has rotted, the bacteria die and you get your nitrogen back. Some acid loving plants, like blueberries, for example, do well with a mulch of shavings (as opposed to dust). I think the larger particles are harder for the bacteria to process, so you don’t get the nitrogen drain as much. One way to deal with the problem is to mix the sawdust with a high-nitrogen material like fresh lawn clippings.

-- I admit to being an adrenaline junky; fortunately, I'm very easily frightened

View donpenton's profile


27 posts in 2831 days

#30 posted 04-24-2013 05:58 AM

I add some wood glue to dust I use on projects to make putty for the cracks and nail holes.

-- dons woodworks

View indplswoodworking's profile


325 posts in 3263 days

#31 posted 05-12-2014 07:05 PM

I have several more bags of sawdust and curious if anyone has any new ideas on reporposing this. The bags contain just about every type of sawdust known to man and even some plexiglass. I just hate throwing it away!! Thanks


View Tim's profile


3859 posts in 2931 days

#32 posted 05-12-2014 07:15 PM

Yeah the mixing in of plywood and mdf with the adhesives and such and the plastic really does cut down on the potential uses. I guess I didn’t see that the first time you posted. If you could separate out the clean wood sawdust from the rest you could do a lot more with it.

View RussellAP's profile


3105 posts in 3256 days

#33 posted 05-12-2014 07:51 PM

I keep a nice size bag of it around in case I get something nasty on my hands. Like some finish, or oil. Just wash your hands in the bag of dust and rub them together like it’s water. Does a really good job. After that soap pretty much cleans the rest off, or a little painters alcohol.

-- A positive attitude will take you much further than positive thinking ever will.

View runswithscissors's profile


3124 posts in 2995 days

#34 posted 05-12-2014 08:32 PM

Our own “Hints from Heloise.”

-- I admit to being an adrenaline junky; fortunately, I'm very easily frightened

View RussellAP's profile


3105 posts in 3256 days

#35 posted 05-12-2014 08:37 PM

I should mention that the bag is mostly aromatic cedar and western cedar dust from a planer. Needs to be a fine sawdust.

-- A positive attitude will take you much further than positive thinking ever will.

View Knothead62's profile


2600 posts in 3931 days

#36 posted 05-12-2014 10:31 PM

What DS said. I tossed some fine sawdust on a burn pile and it flashed like black powder or gasoline.

View Woodmaster1's profile


1615 posts in 3557 days

#37 posted 05-12-2014 10:42 PM

When I was emptying the saw dust from my shop class many years ago we had a great time making big clouds of flames. I do not think the shop teacher ever caught on that is why we always ask to do it.

View Shawn Masterson's profile

Shawn Masterson

1325 posts in 2918 days

#38 posted 05-12-2014 11:08 PM

When I make a large run of planer shavings My neighbor uses it for animal bedding. also you could make wood pellets for a pellet stove.

View Bob Casey's profile

Bob Casey

84 posts in 2451 days

#39 posted 05-12-2014 11:11 PM

As long as there is no walnut the garden would be fine I use it all the time make paths keeps weeds down and cushion larger items squash and pumpkins. But No walnut

-- woodnutbob

View fuigb's profile


587 posts in 3927 days

#40 posted 05-13-2014 01:08 AM

The inclusion of glues n plastics per the original post suggests either burning or the trash for the bag in question.

My shavings as well detritus from chiseling and the like goes into the wood chip / mulch beds around the shrubbery. And contrary to the garden experts I compost the little stuff. If this causes harm then I’ve noticed, but then i compost a lot of stuff so maybe badness is is outdone by the goodness of the grass clipings, pulled weeds. Soft ends from clipped hedges, unwanted monster zucchini (i.e. most of them), a crapload of windfall apples, potatoe peelings, etc. Anyway, this compost is the only fertilizer that I use and every year we do so well that by October I’m ready for things like french fries and twinkies.

-- - Crud. Go tell your mother that I need a Band-aid.

View Bogeyguy's profile


548 posts in 3038 days

#41 posted 05-13-2014 01:34 AM

Local youth baseball fields for absorbing water from the field after a rain.

-- Art, Pittsburgh.

View bbrewer's profile


43 posts in 2945 days

#42 posted 05-13-2014 02:44 AM

Fuigb, for good mulch you want about 25-50 parts (brown, dried/dead carbon) to 1 part (green/scraps nitrogen) mixed up well, damp needs oxygen. All the things you’re doing.

I wouldn’t want plastics and glue for good mulch though.

-- Tom southern MI

View mahdee's profile


4291 posts in 2737 days

#43 posted 05-13-2014 12:10 PM

I put all solid wood sawdust in the compost pile, use it under the chicken coop, put it around trees and grow mushrooms on them. Cedar sawdust stuffed in a burlap bags makes a good bedding for the dog (doesn’t have to be all cedar).


View dusty2's profile


323 posts in 4399 days

#44 posted 05-13-2014 12:41 PM

The warnings (cautions) contained in these posts are very interesting. Interesting to me because I have been taking my sawdust out into my back yard and mixing with the natural soil there. I dig an appropriate size hole and then back fill it with a mixture of sawdust and the original dirt. The soil here in this part of Arizona where I live is very compact. Mixing the saw dust with that seems to be breaking up the soil.

-- Making Sawdust Safely

View RogerM's profile


807 posts in 3369 days

#45 posted 05-14-2014 02:36 PM

I use my sawdust and shavings in the paths of my garden.

-- Roger M, Aiken, SC

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