what are some uses for sawdust??

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Forum topic by indplswoodworking posted 04-21-2013 05:08 PM 5052 views 0 times favorited 45 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View indplswoodworking's profile


325 posts in 3207 days

04-21-2013 05:08 PM

I toss a 100 lbs bag of sawdust every month and wondering if anyone has some creative ways of utilizing it around the shop? It is a mixture of everything including solid , MDF , plywood , and partical board. SO I am not sure how appropriate it would be for gardening , compost , or animal bedding.


45 replies so far

View a1Jim's profile


118144 posts in 4491 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 3190 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 2934 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 2921 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 4581 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


518 posts in 3528 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 2816 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 2912 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 3390 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 4232 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 3026 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 3691 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 2775 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 4094 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 4217 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

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