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View ronbuhg's profile

wood shavings/dust

by ronbuhg
posted 07-18-2012 09:10 AM

26 replies so far

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

29233 posts in 2338 days

#1 posted 07-18-2012 10:17 AM

I was recently told and you can Google it to verify, that walnut isn’t very good around some plants. Can kill some veggies. Aromatic Red Cedar has a natural insecticide but isn’t harmful to plants. Sawdust itself it fine around flowers, but not so much around trees can pack to tight and not let the soil breathe. Use shavings around them. All of my sawdust and shavings go for that. Also, as it decomposes it raises the acid level in the soil. Most plants will love you for that also!

-- Nature created it, I just assemble it.

View 404 - Not Found's profile

404 - Not Found

2544 posts in 2969 days

#2 posted 07-18-2012 11:02 AM

If I’m working with pine the dust collector gets a new bag and that’s saved for pet bedding, other bags have gone to an auto mechanic, for mopping up oil spills when they’re splitting gearboxes etc. I know someone who gives away bags of oak shavings for smoking fish.
I’d be happy to give all the sawdust away so it doesn’t cost me to get rid of it, but I still take maybe three or four van loads to the dump every year. As Monte said, there’s not much can be done with walnut.

View WDHLT15's profile


1744 posts in 2476 days

#3 posted 07-18-2012 11:27 AM

If mixed into the soil, the very high carbon to nitrogen ratio will cause the bacteria that break down the cellulose to rob the soil of nitrogen until the wood is decomposed. This can cause a nitrogen deficiency in your plants. If you add shavings and sawdust to a plant bed, and if you want to speed up decomposition, add a little nitrogen fertilizer.

I do not put walnut shavings or sawdust around my plants, but everything else seems to work fine.

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

View HalDougherty's profile


1820 posts in 3237 days

#4 posted 07-18-2012 11:50 AM

I put a lot of walnut sawdust over some weeds I wanted to kill or at least stunt their growth. Nope, they grew like I’d added fertilizer. I use some of the cherry & maple shavings for animal bedding. The rest I burn. So far, I’ve not found anyone who is willing to pick it up. Each gunstock I carve starts out as a blank that weighs from 10 to 12 lbs. A finished benchrest stock usually weighs around 3.5 lbs and a sporter weighs about 2.5 lbs. I have a LOT of shavings to dispose of. It is also hard to keep the walnut separate. One day I’d like to build a machine to press the shavings into pellets and burn them in a furnace to heat my home and shop, but right now if I don’t burn the extra shavings my sawdust pile would be as big as my house. Every time I burn a pile of sawdust, I can't help but think about this Etsy auction.... Are they really selling this stuff for the listed price? If they are, I’m burning a stack of $20 bills.

-- Hal, Tennessee

View lunn's profile


215 posts in 2309 days

#5 posted 07-18-2012 01:06 PM

Walnut around tomatoes is a no no for sure. Dust for me is no problem getting rid of. For me it’s scrap pieces in the summer (hate to burn it), people want it for kindling in the winter. I had a 4yo girl visiting me, she discovered a bucket of scraps. She dug them out and played with them for a couple of hours building things. So i sent them home with her. Still plays with them. Now i cut them up different lenghts, angles etc nothing so small they might swollow. I box them up and give them to the PARENTS, let THEM give them to their kids. May make a woodworker some day. Problem solved !

-- What started as a hobbie is now a full time JOB!

View richgreer's profile


4541 posts in 3075 days

#6 posted 07-18-2012 01:11 PM

The Restore store in our town likes to get sawdust donated to them. They are not fussy about what wood. They mix old paint with it so they can legally and safely dispose of the old paint.

If you are not familiar with Restore – - They take donations of old building goods and materials and sell them cheaply to people who want to use them again.

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

View chrisstef's profile


17387 posts in 3007 days

#7 posted 07-18-2012 01:11 PM

Ive got a good amount of woods in my back yard so all my shaving end up in the same pile as the grass clippings, leaves, and other yard schmegma.

-- Its not a crack, its a casting imperfection.

View JBfromMN's profile


107 posts in 2777 days

#8 posted 07-18-2012 01:22 PM

Everything but Walnut goes to my Wife’s aunt to use in her Horse trailers. Makes cleaning them out much easier.

View Edziu's profile


151 posts in 3051 days

#9 posted 07-18-2012 01:25 PM

I wrote a forum topic on it a while ago. I still use the same technique. Before burning it we used to dump it out by the railroad tracks—it kept the weeds down and it ended up decomposing.

But if you have a fireplace or wood stove, try this:

View SnowyRiver's profile


51457 posts in 3481 days

#10 posted 07-18-2012 01:29 PM

I dump mine near the edge of the woods near the garden in my yard. It decomposes of course, but if there is walnut chips in it, I try to be careful not to dump it close to anything that is growing in the nearby garden.

-- Wayne - Plymouth MN

View ronbuhg's profile


121 posts in 2148 days

#11 posted 07-18-2012 02:25 PM

thanks for the response, now I need to “gently” convince Dad we need to separate the dust from walnut from the other to put out…its maybe 50-50….on the other hand, my middle brother has horse’s so that’s a good use for it…hmmmm, now how do I tell this man who is set in his ways we need to do some re-thinking maybe you could tell him for me ?? LOL !!schmegma ??hmmmm

-- the dumbest question is the one you dont ask !!

View RH913's profile


52 posts in 2985 days

#12 posted 07-18-2012 03:24 PM

My son composts all my saw dust.


View Doss's profile


779 posts in 2265 days

#13 posted 07-18-2012 03:38 PM

I generate a lot of sawdust when I mill. Piles of it in fact. You can use it in compost, but as WDHLT15 said, add some nitrogen to the mix to balance it back out. You can get testers to check the balance of the elements in your soil/compost… just dial it in as needed.

I asked my lumberyard what they do with all the sawdust they create. The owner told me that local stables usually come pick it up because it’s great for clean up and bedding. He said you will want to check about any woods that may irritate the animals though and separate those from your piles.

-- "Well, at least we can still use it as firewood... maybe." - Doss

View Elizabeth's profile


817 posts in 3144 days

#14 posted 07-18-2012 03:49 PM

I advertise mine on Craigslist and someone comes and takes it away for me.

Hal, I’m looking through some of that seller’s past sales; I don’t see any sawdust actually selling there! (Though I haven’t gone through all 900-odd pages.)

View ronbuhg's profile


121 posts in 2148 days

#15 posted 07-18-2012 03:59 PM

I apologize for getting off subject, but this is something I was pondering…there are approved woods for using in making food safe items ,ie walnut,hard maple, and cherry,,others create tannin acid which is there a “general”rule of thumb for selecting the proper wood ?? such as hard wood =yes & soft wood=no… just for example..I have always researched this topic just to be sure,but it gets tiresome to stop working to get online & find this information..can anyone direct me to a source so that I can print out this list ??the above mentioned woods make beautiful cutting boards,but I would like to mix it up ….if this question has already been posted ,I do apologize for bringing it up again,seems like I cant find it…LOL Im much better at ’ wooding’ than behind this “blank” key board !! thanks again everybody !!

-- the dumbest question is the one you dont ask !!

View MonteCristo's profile


2099 posts in 2189 days

#16 posted 07-18-2012 04:39 PM

ronbuhg :

I have heard of a few woods, mostly exotics, that can give health related trouble just handling them but I think they are few and far between. Most of the buzz is around food safe finishes and in that area there are quite a few contrasting opinions. Some say that any fully-cured finish is food safe but it seems most opt for something like walnut oil that is widely acknowledged as food safe.

-- Dwight - "Free legal advice available - contact Dewey, Cheetam & Howe""

View Doss's profile


779 posts in 2265 days

#17 posted 07-18-2012 05:37 PM

Umm… Walnut oil may trigger allergic reactions in those with nut allergies. Mineral oil is better if you must use this type of oil finish.

Ronbuhg, it really depends on what you’re making and its application (cutting board, countertop, spoon, bowl, serving tray, etc.). Here are some sites to get you started:

-- "Well, at least we can still use it as firewood... maybe." - Doss

View thebicyclecafe's profile


23 posts in 2250 days

#18 posted 07-18-2012 07:10 PM

I save all my hardwood planing shavings, chips, unusable scraps, and dust for my charcoal smoker. This would work with an electric smoker as well. It just so happens that most of our domestic hardwoods lend the perfect taste to pork ribs, brisket, chicken….

Nothing like a rack of ribs smoked nice and slow for 5 hours with a combination of hard maple, cherry, and white oak. Mmmmmm….

I’ll usually turn the smoker on, put it in the backyard, let it do its thing, do some woodworking, check on it from time to time and feed it wood when necessary.

View dbhost's profile


5712 posts in 3232 days

#19 posted 07-18-2012 07:19 PM

I have had very little BBQ time this year, but usually I BBQ often enough that I use it for fire starter. Just set in in loose piles. built a teepee of kindling over it, light, when the kindling gets going start loading the bigger stuff until you get a good head of smoke going then choke it off to the desired temp range…

So far this year, I have had to dispose of 1 55 gallon bag of shavings / dust, the other was used by myself, and a mechanic friend of mine as oil absorbent to handle oil spills…

-- Please like and subscribe to my YouTube Channel

View Ethan Harris's profile

Ethan Harris

300 posts in 2145 days

#20 posted 07-18-2012 07:25 PM

make wood filler.

-- Ethan, CT: Check out my Small Business at & also follow me on twitter

View pintodeluxe's profile


5663 posts in 2814 days

#21 posted 07-18-2012 07:28 PM

I dump it in the compost pile.

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

View Doss's profile


779 posts in 2265 days

#22 posted 07-18-2012 07:49 PM

make wood fillercraftedbyethan

I usually save a few Ziplock bags of dust labeled with the type of wood they are for this specific purpose. Add glue… voila! Wood filler.

Also, smoking, heating, and firestarting are all great uses.

-- "Well, at least we can still use it as firewood... maybe." - Doss

View ronbuhg's profile


121 posts in 2148 days

#23 posted 07-18-2012 08:09 PM

what glue do you use for making filler with ?tried but never comes out right, its way too light to match the wood,ie walnut..I dont always need it to be a PERFECT match, a couple shades is usually fine..but when I try it comes out looking like a bit of bass wood beside walnut ..I have tried several good quality glues and end up with the same results…thanks for the info on tannin woods by the way..

-- the dumbest question is the one you dont ask !!

View Doss's profile


779 posts in 2265 days

#24 posted 07-18-2012 08:19 PM

It all depends Ronbuhg. Usually, the sawdust has to be very fine (think sanding dust). Next, I usually try to pick the dust that is closest to the finishing color I want. If there is a big difference in color, I try to add a little stain to it (before glue). The glue will not pick up any of the color so you need to keep its use to a minimum (barely holding the dust together) with the expectation that the finish will help hold the dust in place.

When I’m using Danish oil, I usually sand it in. This provides some dust to help move over to the small holes or gaps while curing in place at the same time.

Larger voids usually require epoxy. Same technique there.

Even larger and you need to use grain-oriented wood slivers.

Any larger than that and you throw the piece away or replace the board LOL

Wait, you could also call it a feature or say it’s there for character.

-- "Well, at least we can still use it as firewood... maybe." - Doss

View ronbuhg's profile


121 posts in 2148 days

#25 posted 07-18-2012 09:17 PM

thanks , I’ll keep all of it in mind for the next time….we can always say “what do you mean its messed up ?? Its for character in my work, after all I am an ‘Artiste’” (accent the last word) LOL !maybe I am too picky,I have been told they would have never seen it if I had not said something…or are they just trying to be nice ? LOL

-- the dumbest question is the one you dont ask !!

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

20489 posts in 3106 days

#26 posted 07-18-2012 10:00 PM

I burn mine- a barrel at a time in my campfire pit ring. It burns up completely. almost no ash at all left!.....Jim

-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

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