Bread & Wood

Bread & Wood

Handcrafted Artisan Bread & Hardwood

Making the Most of Waste

With wood sales picking up over the past month or so, I've been thinking quite a bit about some of the waste I produce and how to more effectively utilize it in productive ways.  More specifically, all of my milling, planing, and sawing produces quite a bit of sawdust, most of which I collect through my electric dust collection system, and then feed to our compost pile.


So I've been wondering, what's the best use of my sawdust byproduct?  Well, of course, animal bedding and compost are two of the more traditional uses.  But this stuff is kiln dried to below 8%, so throwing it back in the ground does not have the greatest appeal to me.  After some research, I discovered there is actually a whole industry built around using kiln dried sawdust to make burnable "ecologs" called briquetting.  The final product is a small burnable log or briquette formed from compressing the sawdust.  There are no binders used, as the naturally occurring lignin in the wood binds the particles in the wood together to form a solid.


The problem is the briquetting industry uses HUGE equipment and machines to produce the final product.  From my rather limited research, there exists no briquetting machine designed for the small shop.  Can it even be done?  I'm not sure, but recently I contacted a local engineering professor who has expressed an interest in designing and building a simple, small scale briquetting machine that can be utilized by the small shop.  So we'll find out!  I am very excited about being involved in the process and am really looking forward to the day where I can say my shop produces zero waste from the sustainably harvested hardwood we are using.



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