Quick Poll

Planing.  Cutting.  Sanding.  Routing.

While many woodworking tasks will leave you with usable pieces of wood as your ‘waste’, many others will leave you with nothing more than mountains of sawdust and fine planer shavings.  Some collect as piles on the shop floor,while others fill dust collector bags to the brim.

Cleaning and collecting sawdust in your shop is a top priority, but what do you do with all of that material when it’s time to get rid of it?  This week, tell us what you do to get rid of all that sawdust in your shop.

[poll id=”94″]

15 thoughts on “Quick Poll”

  1. Timely question, Tom, as I’m just discovering the joy of sanding down an old wood floor exclusively with sanders hooked to my mini-cyclone (virtually dust free). From the cyclone bin, sorry to say it just goes into the trash from there.

    What do you do with your sawdust?

  2. Hey Tom,

    I give it to a landscaper tenant of mine. He uses it to “heel” plants into the ground as a way to keep them before planting jobs.


  3. I use the level in my dust collector bag and the garbage can I use for swept up shavings as a gauge for how productive I’ve been in the shop.

    Currently not so productive.

  4. I throw mine away, sort of. It goes into the brown yard waste bags. In theory, that then goes into a large compost heap somewhere.

  5. I make my own sweeping compound by mixing some of the sawdust with waste motor oil from my cars, and use it for sweeping up the floor in my garage/shop. The oil keeps dust from kicking up and makes everything stick and congeal nicely. Then it all gets burned in my fire pit in the backyard.

  6. Tom,most of my planer sawdust is cherry or oak,and i bag it off my floor in 2 gallon bags and our neighbors fight over it for their smokers(makes delicious ribs),and now Ive gotten a new idea from BobbyO on sweeping compound.

  7. Firstly avoid all chemically treated woods, as they will contain arsenic or other poisons.
    Sawdust has a particularly tough cellular structure that can actually draw nutrients out of the soil as bacteria tries to break it down. If sawdust is to be used as a mulching material then it is best that it is broken down into a more composted state before using it as a mulching material.
    Materials used for surface mulching that are not fully composted will cause nitrogen and magnesium deficiency symptoms. With nitrogen deficiency, the older leaves turn yellow and cling to the plant. To overcome this problem, apply sulphate of ammonia at a rate of 30 grams per square metre.

    Magnesium deficiency also shows up in older leaves first. However, the outer margins turn yellow first, leaving the inner part of the leaf green. To overcome this problem, apply magnesium sulphate at 30 grams (one handful) per square metre.

  8. Tom – I use mine to help create a walking path through the woods in the back of my property. It is surprising how much that path has grown in length this year.

  9. 2,3 and 4.

    Mostly I mix it in with my wife’s compost, but if I am working with cedar, it goes into my dog house in the winter. All the small scraps get used as kindling in the winter.

  10. I had just been dumping it in the woods behind my house, but recently my wife’s aunt came by the house and commented she could use it for her compost heap – so that’s where it has gone since.

  11. I’ve never even thought of using it for mulch or gardening … I’ll have to look into that:)

    Generally, I use it to clean up spills in my garage/shop. If it’s an oil based spill, once the saw dust dries I save it to use as a good fire starter in my garage “furnace”.

  12. When we don’t use it for compost or mulch locally (my wife never met an organic material she could bear to part with),or in winter, I just take it to our municipal compost centre and dump it alongside the yard waste… easy peasy, and it’s on the way to Home Despot…

  13. I mix sawdust in cans of old paint. It dries it out and stabilizes it for disposal. Our county’s solid waste department states if this is done (they also recommend kitty litter) cans of paint can be discarded with regular trash pickup. Otherwise, the paint needs special handling on hazardous waste days.

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