Last updated on March 18th, 2023 at 11:59 pm
Sawdust might just be the most common thing in woodworking shops, garages and jobsites especially if there’s no dust collector installed.
As long as wood is cut with a saw, sanded with a sander, or routed with a router, sawdust and wood chips will surely form.
Most people bag it up and get it dispose as waste products, but that’s because they don’t know how to make use of it.
Today, there’re many smart ways we can make use of sawdust in the workshop, and even around the home and garden.
1. As a Wood Filler
Sawdust serves as a very good wood filler especially for small cracks and holes in the wood you’re using for your project. Just mix some of it with your favorite wood glue and use the resulting mixture to touch up any of the cracks and holes in the wood.
Also try to use the sawdust from the wood itself, or at least try to use one with similar appearance so the resulting fill will blend well with the rest of the wood.
2. DIY Fire Starter
There’re many ways to start a fire, whether it’s the one in the fireplace in your home or a campfire outdoors. Sometimes it’s difficult, but with a good fire starter, getting it started is quite easy.
Sawdust in combination with a few other materials like old newspaper or old cardboard egg crates and melted wax works very well as a fire starter.
Just spread the sawdust over the old newspaper or cardboard egg crate, while the wax is melting in a metal container over a source of heat like a stove.
Once the wax is melted and in liquid form, pour it over the sawdust/newspaper combo and allow it to cool. When cooled downed, it can be cut into smaller square parts with a bandsaw.
Each peace can serve as a good fire starter any time you want to make a fire. All you have to do is light it up and see it burn.
3. Sawdust Stove
I don’t know if you’re seen a sawdust stove. But it’s usually make with an empty metal paint can. Just cut a little opening by the side of the paint can close to the base.
Then put a round bottle like a big coca cola bottle inside the paint can. After that, add sawdust around the bottle while compressing it with your hand. Keep adding sawdust and pressing it down until you can’t add anymore sawdust.
Now the bottle can be pulled out to reveal an opening in the middle of the can. Remove some sawdust from the side of the can through the opening cut at the beginning until it intersects with the opening created by the bottle.
Through the opening by the side, you can put in small dry wood pieces, while you light a fire in the middle of sawdust in the opening created by the bottle. Keep adding small dry wood pieces through the side as needed to keep the fire going.
4. Cleanup Spills
I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but sawdust is a very good absorbent. It can soak up different types of liquids. Whatever you spill in the workshop, just spread some over it. It will soak it up, making it easier to clean up the spill and dispose the soaked sawdust afterwards.
5. Plant Supplement
Sawdust can be used in moderation to supplement the growth of plants. However, you have to be careful that you don’t heap too much around the plants as too much of it can suffocate the plants, depriving them of necessary minerals and nutrients like nitrogen.
Also, not every type of sawdust is beneficial to plants. So, do a little bit of research on this and see how you can grow your garden with it.
6. Suppress Weed Growth
As mentioned above, heaping sawdust around plants can kill them, same as weeds. Some type of sawdust like those from walnut can even kill plants even when sprinkled in moderation.
So, if you want to stomp out or suppress the growth of weeds in an area, you can spread some over the weeds to suppress their growth and prevent them from growing.
7. Critter or Animal Bedding
Like I mentioned earlier, sawdust is a very good absorbent, not only of moisture but of odor as well. My family had a poultry farm when I was younger, and we always spread it over the floor so that the liquid from the bird’s droppings gets absorbed immediately it touches the floor.
It makes it easy to gather and dispose the droppings from the birds in the farm. Apart from birds, other animals like rodents usually use mulch to line their habitats. Guinea pigs and gerbils are very good examples.
So if you keep these as pets at home, you can use sawdust to line their cages as well. It’s very easy to clean and your critter will enjoy playing around in it.
8. Snow Traction
During the winter season, the ice around homes can be very slippery and the snow does not provide good traction for boots and cars.
According to Britannica, more than 20 million tons of salt are used every year to melt snow and ice in cold northern regions. So, it’s common practice to use salt to prevent slipping in icy walkways.
You may be surprised to know however, that salt is not the best option for this. Sawdust is.
Sawdust is far more beneficial for the environment than salt which can be damaging to landscape plants according to the Center for Agriculture, Food, and the Environment, University of Massachusetts Amherst.
9. Clean Fine Dust Particles
Even with a dust collector system installed in the workshop, it’s still very likely that there’ll be minute dust particles on the floors and other surfaces.
To clean up this dust, just moisten a pile of sawdust with water, and use a broom to sweep it around the floor of your workshop or garage. The moist sawdust will absorb the fine dust particles your dust collector could not capture.
10. Lighten Cement
Mortar on its own is heavy, even when dried up. So, whenever you need to lighten it up, especially for applications where the weight of the material is important, you can always apply sawdust in the mixture to lighten it up. Applications include building lightweight cordwood walls, houses and more.