Sawdust, a problem or a resource?

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Forum topic by stefang posted 03-21-2012 08:28 PM 2955 views 0 times favorited 38 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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17040 posts in 4220 days

03-21-2012 08:28 PM

I was thinking about how much sawdust and shaving are created by LJ members every day, and I was wondering what folks do with it. I also wondered if I’m throwing away a useful resource. I know some use it in the flower beds, but I understand that it ties up the nitrogen in the soil and so is not all that great for that use. What do you do with your sawdust?

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

38 replies so far

View SuburbanDon's profile


487 posts in 3880 days

#1 posted 03-21-2012 08:32 PM

I don’t make that much sawdust and I just throw it away. I suppose I should bag it. Somebody can use it.

-- --- Measure twice, mis-cut, start over, repeat ---

View zindel's profile


257 posts in 3536 days

#2 posted 03-21-2012 08:34 PM

If you live in a cold part of the world you could make a sawdust stove. It is basically an oil drum and some vents and you got yourself a lot of heat for the winter. There are videos on youtube if your interested.

-- If you can't fix it with a hammer, You've got an electrical problem.

View kaschimer's profile


89 posts in 3275 days

#3 posted 03-21-2012 08:40 PM

I breathe it… probably should invest in DC at some point… Seriously, the stuff I don’t breathe I throw away :)

-- Steve, Michigan - "Every piece of work is a self portrait of the person who accomplished it - autograph your work with excellence!" - Author unknown

View Roger's profile


21030 posts in 3690 days

#4 posted 03-21-2012 08:53 PM

I have 5 acres so I walk down the hill & dispense of it down there. I probably look like Santa, only skinier while totin that bag on me back… lol I don’t believe sawdust should be used in flower beds, but, that’s my opinion. I do not know if it is good or bad, or both.

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Keep your dust collector fed. [email protected]

View stefang's profile


17040 posts in 4220 days

#5 posted 03-21-2012 08:53 PM

Thanks for the suggestion Zindel, but something like that would create an insurance problem here in Norway, not to mention that it would be just plain illegal. Yes Steve, I breath a lot too mine too. After all these years I like it better than fresh air, at least that’s what my wife claims!

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View jmos's profile


917 posts in 3255 days

#6 posted 03-21-2012 09:21 PM

I’m fortunate that my Brother-in-law has a small organic farm and uses my sawdust/shavings for the animals. I bag it up and my Mother-in-law hauls it away. Otherwise I’d put it out on the curb with the leaves and branches.

-- John

View Dave's profile


11435 posts in 3726 days

#7 posted 03-21-2012 09:26 PM

Large shavings are good for paint and finish removal, also for burnishing wood. I use the big stuff for animal bedding and kitty litter. I also have a compost pile I put the little stuff in and the other when the animals are done with it. I have just swept it out the front door of the shop. Place in your drive way for traction from mud or snow. Use it for soaking up oil under your car. Make a path in your garden. Add to cement or mortar to lighten it up.
But be careful with plants and animals with black walnut its poisonous.

-- Superdav "No matter where you go - there you are."

View Manitario's profile


2816 posts in 3769 days

#8 posted 03-21-2012 09:29 PM

my wife uses some of it in her compost gardens. I unfortunately use a lot of walnut which apparently is poisonous to other plants, so that gets bagged and out with the trash. It’s too bad; when I’m working on a project with rough sawn wood (which is the only wood I can buy up here) I’ll fill my 30 gallon DC bin every few days.

-- Sometimes the creative process requires foul language. -- Charles Neil

View Bagtown's profile


1740 posts in 4616 days

#9 posted 03-21-2012 09:33 PM

I dump it out back in the alders by the lake.
Hand plane shavings get used to start the weber kettle and the Big Green Egg.


-- Mike - In Fort McMurray Alberta

View David Craig's profile

David Craig

2137 posts in 3994 days

#10 posted 03-21-2012 09:34 PM

If it is very fine, I will sometimes save it. I have thought about getting little containers and having samples after each wood type I work on. Mixed with some wood glue, there is not a better filler and the wood color always matches.


-- There is little that is simple when it comes to making a simple box.

View Roger's profile


21030 posts in 3690 days

#11 posted 03-21-2012 09:43 PM

that’s a good point David C. I do have a few small baby food jars (you could use sandwich baggies), with sanding dusts of Maple, Oak, Walnut for the purpose you mention, and it works gr8 for filling in, and like you said, you get a good match

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Keep your dust collector fed. [email protected]

View jm8's profile


69 posts in 3198 days

#12 posted 03-21-2012 09:50 PM

I believe Wood Magazine listed some uses for sawdust. One was you add melted paraffin wax with saw dust that is in a muffin wrapper (Have no idea what the official name of this wrapper is) and voila, you have a fire starter for the fire place.

-- Joe from Western Ma.... Peace to all

View xwingace's profile


229 posts in 3474 days

#13 posted 03-21-2012 10:02 PM

If you mix it with Gorilla glue you can make some pretty interesting scupltures! I forget what the ratio is to get good results, it’s been a while since I have done that.

-- I'm not as good as I once was, but I'm as good once as I ever was.

View shipwright's profile


8600 posts in 3684 days

#14 posted 03-21-2012 10:02 PM

I burn it in a regular wood stove. Works great as long as you are patient and add it a shovel full at a time so it doesn’t choke the fire. It adds heat to the shop and really reduces the dump runs. Between sawdust and scraps, I never need kindling. When I ran the Harbour Ferry fleet I had a lot of used engine oil. Mixed with sawdust that would bring a cold shop up to temperature nice and fast.

-- Paul M ..............the early bird may get the worm but it’s the second mouse that gets the cheese!

View daltxguy's profile


1373 posts in 4800 days

#15 posted 03-21-2012 10:06 PM

I use it in the composting toilet, otherwise it goes in the compost or gets given away to people with chickens. Nothing gets wasted and sawdust is not waste! It’s a valuable resource.

Please don’t throw it away! For goodness sakes, compost it!
Those who throw it away probably turn around and pay to buy compost.

Otoh, if it is treated wood ( please say no) then this is toxic waste and should be disposed of appropriately.

-- If you can't joint it, bead it!

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