What do you do with your sawdust?

I don’t create that much sawddust, because I generally prefer to work with handtools and they are a lot less prone to creating clouds of the stuff than power tools are. Today though I’ve had both the router and the dropsaw going, so ended up with the pile below, and that’s only about a third of it.

If I have a clean floor and there’s nothing but sawdust there I sweep it up and mix it into the garden soil. You have to be careful with this though as it will suck out nitrogen as it breaks down, taking it away from the plants. I also remember pulling a potplant out of my grandfathers garden after he passed away only to find that the sawdust he’d used as mulch had solidified around the stem of the plant, basically waterproofing the pot which wasn’t a great help to its occupant.

You can also store some of it for filling screw and nail holes in wood, mixed with some glue it can often hide them well, especially if you use the sawdust from the same board you are filling.

I’ve also used some to soak up oil from the car then thrown it out, and I’ve known people who use it mixed in with cat litter to absorb the smell a bit. I’m sure there’s a ton of uses I haven’t thought of, and would be interested to hear from anyone reading about what they use it for, or if it just ends up in the bin.

A new shop bin

There’s a bit of advice passed on from one woodworker to another regarding workshop bins – have a metal not a plastic one. The reason for this is so that if something in there catches fire, it will have a better chance of burning out without melting the bin and spreading. It’s not a perfect solution but it can’t hurt.

I’d been meaning to dig this out of my parents garage for a while and put it to use replacing my plastic shop bin. It’s an old army surplus ammo container. I bought it years ago to convert into a cool looking drum, but it never quite happened. Now at least it’s being put to good use.

Army surplus stores can be a great source of heavy duty containers quite cheaply. My dad’s had his tools stored in a couple of bullet boxes for as long as I can remember. Some camping stores carry army surplus stock so it’s worth checking them out.

Keeping the workshop clean

Remember when you were a kid and your mother would tell you to clean your room?. You probably didn’t care then but as you got older you realised the importance of this advice for health, safety and keeping your stuff safe reasons.

I like to think the workshop should follow the same rules. Sadly I’m not yet organised enough to practice what I preach fully, but I’m getting there.

One of the most important things I do every time I leave the workshop is to sweep it clean. This keeps dust from being tracked into the house and also makes sure I don’t leave a nail or screw where my car tyres will pick it up.

I’d always wanted one of those big scoop things that council workers seem to make from chemical drums, and so when I saw this one I grabbed it. It makes life a lot easier. About $20 from the local big hardware store from memory.