wood shavings/dust

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Forum topic by ronbuhg posted 07-18-2012 09:10 AM 1881 views 0 times favorited 26 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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121 posts in 2354 days

07-18-2012 09:10 AM

I was wondering what some you do with disposing of your shavings & dust when you empty out the dust collectors. We (me/Dad) have been spreading them in the flower beds and I have wondered if that is ok? Dad has always done it so I have too…but still makes me wonder if that is such a good idea.I realize that it has not been properly “composted”..the leftover material is bound to be anything from bass wood to walnut wood and everything in between.thanks for your input on this subject…

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

26 replies so far

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

30071 posts in 2544 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 3175 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


1793 posts in 2681 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 3443 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 2514 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 3280 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


17771 posts in 3212 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 2982 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 3256 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 3686 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 2354 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 3190 days

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

My son composts all my saw dust.


View Doss's profile


779 posts in 2470 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 3349 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 2354 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 !!

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