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Can you use Sawdust to help dry lumber?

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Forum topic by JCam posted 248 days ago 1388 views 0 times favorited 18 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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JCam

13 posts in 440 days


248 days ago

Topic tags/keywords: question

Hey guys, I was wondering if you could use sawdust to help dry smaller pieces of lumber?

A decade and some change ago I did my first oil change and failed to tighten the oil filter enough, bad advice from someone who said it only needed to be hand tightened, and when I started the car about three quarts dumped out all over my father’s garage. Cleaned most of it up with rags but concrete floor was still extremely slick. I dumped a shop vac full of saw dust over the area and rubbed it in and it was as if nothing had happened after a couple hours.

If I built a simple box, 2×2x3 and filled with saw dust, to throw small branches in that neighbors have discarded would it help to properly pull out moisture from the wood or increase the chances of splitting and warping from drying too quickly.

-- -- Cameron --


18 replies so far

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robscastle

1425 posts in 791 days


#1 posted 248 days ago

Sawdust as you have found out absorbs moisture so it may work in reverse if you cannot reactivate it.

Best to use simple air drying and test for moisture as it seasons.

It will be interesting to monitor the results of the saw dust use just the same

-- Regards Robert

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redryder

2099 posts in 1688 days


#2 posted 248 days ago

I find this to be the fastest, most complete way of drying logs I intend to use and it sucks the moisture out of the shop in general…..........................

-- mike...............

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Monte Pittman

12978 posts in 925 days


#3 posted 248 days ago

If your sawdust is very dry to start with it may help. However, it could hold the moisture in just as easy. Proper stacking out of the weather with a fan blowing over it is still the best.

-- Mother Nature created it, I just assemble it. - It's not ability that we often lack, but the patience to use our ability

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Jimbo4

1120 posts in 1349 days


#4 posted 248 days ago

As us woodturners do – put your small piece in a cardboard box, surrounded by sawdust, check once a week for dryness.

-- BELT SANDER: Used for making rectangular gouges in wood.

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mrjinx007

1276 posts in 354 days


#5 posted 248 days ago

If you are in humid environment, the sawdust will absorb the humidity very fast and perhaps creates a slow process of drying time. Those cedar logs you have will hardly ever check or split if you don’t introduce heat too fast such as during turning and especially sanding.

-- earthartandfoods.com

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JCam

13 posts in 440 days


#6 posted 247 days ago

Thank you for the responses, I appreciate the feedback.

-- -- Cameron --

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GFYS

711 posts in 2057 days


#7 posted 247 days ago

all saw dust is dry right? :/

View GOOD LUCK TO ALL's profile

GOOD LUCK TO ALL

418 posts in 314 days


#8 posted 247 days ago

Can you use Sawdust to help dry lumber?

If you light it on fire….:>O

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Jimbo4

1120 posts in 1349 days


#9 posted 244 days ago

Well ;o) , I stand corrected about the saw dust in a HUMID environment – but – out here in the wild west of dust dry New Mexico, the saw dust and box method works best.

-- BELT SANDER: Used for making rectangular gouges in wood.

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a1Jim

111999 posts in 2164 days


#10 posted 244 days ago

Good air flow in a dry warm atmosphere works best.

-- http://artisticwoodstudio.com Custom furniture

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rhett

696 posts in 2254 days


#11 posted 244 days ago

No, the moisture is INSIDE the wood. Sawdust might soak up a bit of moisture from the outside of the wood but in the long run, it would actually retard drying, by restricting airflow around the lumber.

As I was told by a very accomplished turner, the reason greenwood is packed in bags of sawdust, is to slow down the drying of thin turnings, helping to avoid cracks.

Dry heat, moving air and time are the options.

-- http://planeandsimpleblog.wordpress.com/

View Nomad62's profile

Nomad62

684 posts in 1545 days


#12 posted 244 days ago

Sawdust will slow down the drying as it inhibits air flow around the piece. It will allow the piece to get as dry as the environment it is setting in, but of course no dryer.

-- Power tools put us ahead of the monkeys

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Post_Oakie

84 posts in 740 days


#13 posted 242 days ago

You’re right about not wanting the pieces to dry too quickly. Better than sawdust, would be to end coat the pieces with a couple of coats of latex paint (any color). I end coat logs with a product called Anchor Seal before putting them on my sawmill, and it really helps. This keeps moisture from moving out through the ends of the pieces too quickly, which is the main cause of splitting. How dry the wood needs to be depends on how you plan to use it. A lot of techniques, such a wedges in a trestle table, allow the wood to shrink even after the piece has been built without damaging it.

-- Good judgement comes from experience. Experience comes from bad judgement.

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nineiron

9 posts in 288 days


#14 posted 219 days ago

Yes sawdust is great for drying green timber after turing.
Simply roughturn the green timber.Place in a bib and surround with the saw dustor shavings from previos turings.
Place in a cool dry place and wait for about 3 mounths.
Timber should be ready to fin ish turn.
NINEIRON.

-- Brian, Australia N/I

View TerryDowning's profile

TerryDowning

977 posts in 704 days


#15 posted 219 days ago

from the wood turner’s perspective using shavings (not Sawdust) from the project to regulate moisture content while drying a rough turned item is a proven practice. It actually extends the drying time though and helps control cracking.

I would not use sawdust to accelerate dying lumber or logs though.

Seal the ends to control the moisture content until ready to process. Once processed into lumber, sticker it for drying.

-- - Terry

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