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Wood Shavings

How do you dispose of yours?

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Olly Parry-Jones12/12/2009 09:27:03
2776 forum posts
636 photos
Hi all,
As woodworkers, we regularly produce a fair amount of wood shavings. I'm interested to hear of how everyone disposes of theirs.
In the past, I've always taken mine to the local Recycling Centre and disposed of them in one of the Green bins. More recently though, I've started selling them on to local people at £5 a bag...
The other day, someone told me that hardwood shavings are not suitable for small animal bedding after all, since they can cause problems with their respiratory system and livers, leading to the unthinkable! Some say that softwood shavings are better. Well, I've spent some time searching the internet and I cannot find a clear answer - there are a few sites where people claim that all wood shavings are bad!

Now, I'm thinking of re-advertising my bags for other uses - fire-lighting and other uses I can't think of right now. Fine sawdust will always end up going to the tip, I think. Some day, I would like to build a briquette press. That's not the difficult part though... They make a lot of mess, it takes a lot of time to get through a bag of shavings and each briquette then requires several days to dry.
What about you? What happens to your shavings once they've left your planer thicknesser?
Thanks for reading,
handy mandy12/12/2009 09:50:42
62 forum posts
36 photos
hi olly,  i bag mine up and use it to start my coal fire, infact even the saw dust burns on my fire.i do save some saw dust  though and mix with a bit of pva to fill any holes in my wood      mandy
Doug12/12/2009 11:53:47
3415 forum posts
35 photos
A place i used to use who sold their shavings, had to buy special machinery to prepare their shavings so they could continue to sell theirs as animal bedding.
I don`t know the ins & outs of it, but i was told one of the processes was to sterilize the shavings. They came out compacted & wrapped  in plastic.
Mine now go to a fellow woodworker who has a very heath robinson shavings burner, he is happy to build up a supply of fuel all year round.
Oddjob12/12/2009 13:45:40
1635 forum posts
79 photos
Prior to my retirement I had close commercial relationships with some of the biggest soft-wood and UK grown hardwood waste processors in the country.  Almost all of them process and pack shavingsand sawdust for pet bedding - from horses to hamsters.  I can assure you that there is no sterilisation in the process.
I think that problems only occur with exotic hardwoods.  These are more likely to be related to fungal spore contamination than to wood toxicity.
Olly Parry-Jones12/12/2009 18:23:28
2776 forum posts
636 photos
Thanks for your replies so far.
Baz, that sounds quite familiar. There is a firm not far from me who supplies bags or 'bales' of wood shavings which appear to have been treated in the same way. These bags are stamped with the term 'dust extracted' but, I guess that does mean they've had more down than to have been collected directly from a woodworking machine... Sterilizing is also something that came up during my research.
Thanks, Richard. I have no doubt that there is a great risk in using exotic species. My main concern is still that if timbers like oak and beech can cause respiratory problems for us humans, what are the consequences of exposing much smaller animals to these shavings?
I'm still very interested to hear from other woodworkers on this site.
Mike Jordan12/12/2009 18:23:41
160 forum posts
17 photos
Hi Olly
You are fortunate to be able to take chipping s to the local recycling site! I used to take the odd bag but fell foul of jobsworths squarking "trade waste"at me. Even moving chippings in a van or trailer can attract the attention of DEFRA who threaten to prosecute you for moving waste without a licence.
Ive been told that the chippings from imported hardwoods ( particularly mahogany varieties) are toxic to animals of all sizes. My informant maintained that only ferretts are safely bedded down in it!
After paying the local authority to remove bags, I eventually had an agreement with a local small holder who took the chippings ( mostly oak, transported in the car boot) and the scrap timber for use as firewood.
   The small quantity of shavings I make these days can go in our green recycling wheely bin.
As normal, the powers that be are out to trap the honest person, while ignoring the real villains, the cost of a transfer licence is about 140 pounds! keep your head down is my best suggestion.
Sam12/12/2009 18:31:16
386 forum posts
110 photos
My partner is a horsey type , oh-ya and all the jolly hockey sticks  .    She explained to me that it is ok providing the fine dust is extracted . The stuff she uses is all chip . No fine stuff at all . It is also only softwood . I think it has something to do with its absorbency .

Olly Parry-Jones12/12/2009 18:31:45
2776 forum posts
636 photos
Thanks, Mike.
One of the reasons I'm looking for alternative solutions to dropping them off at the tip is that I'm wary they'll one-day get suspicious of my activities - I usually drop off three-or-four bags at a time, some times as regularly as once a month... Plus, my car (used like a trojan horse!! ) isn't going to last for ever and will have to be replaced with a van, pickup or some other "Trade" vehicle...
Ivor the engine12/12/2009 18:32:35
270 forum posts
46 photos
Hi,  I wonder what H/S view is on this, as Oddjob said on "disposal of exotic hardwood waste", as this has been going on for years,
Could go on on on and on,
Sparky12/12/2009 19:08:50
7631 forum posts
22 photos
As I don't produce much, I save the dust and chippings/shavings in the clear plastic recycling bin bag ready for the bin men. They take it without any problems.....
roger staten12/12/2009 19:41:58
23 forum posts
9 photos
Buy a small pot wood burner to keep the workshop warm................and burn your waste.
Would this not be feasible?
Sparky12/12/2009 22:59:46
7631 forum posts
22 photos
If I put a small pot wood burner in my shed, I'll have to stay outside............tad small
Daniel13/12/2009 09:17:49
20 forum posts
Ref your car.. when you come to replace it, rather than buying a van, buy an old people carrier.. ideally one with removable seats.. you'll find it can still be used in 'stealth' mode, and if you are insuring it as a private vechicle you'll find it earier to insure too.. many years ago I had a Renault 4 van... I had no end of trouble ensuring this as a private vechicle.. later on brought a Citroen Berlingo Multispace.. van with windows and seats.. no hassle at all (Now own a VW Caravelle!!) One bitten you can never do without the flexibility of a van type space!
Olly Parry-Jones13/12/2009 09:45:21
2776 forum posts
636 photos
Thanks, Daniel, that's very interesting. How much load or weight would a people carrier take compared to your average van? Insurance doesn't bother me as I plan to go 'pro' at this one day in the next couple of years... I would be looking to transport a fair bit of wood and furniture though!
Daniel13/12/2009 10:30:19
20 forum posts
Depends what you go for...
If you get a van derived one, rather than a car.. its got the same suspension etc as a van...
This guy has a fair bit in the boot
>> van/car <<


Edited By sparky on 14/12/2009 00:48:31

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