If you have ever been to a timber yard, you probably have seen some residue that looks like dust on the ground. That is what is known as sawdust. So, what is it really? Sawdust is the waste created when sawing or machining timber or other wood materials. It is composed of very small particles, typically less than 2 mm in diameter. Sawdust can be a health hazard because it is a respiratory irritant and can also cause fires. Despite these hazards, sawdust can be used in various applications that we will be looking at in this read. But first, let us look at the different types of sawdust.
- Beech sawdust– Beech sawdust is fine, light-colored sawdust. It is often used as an absorbent in liquid spills, as it does not produce any dust of its own.
- Pine sawdust– It has a reddish-brown color and is heavier than other types of sawdust. It is commonly used as an animal bedding, as it has a pleasant smell and is absorbent.
- Oak sawdust– The oak sawdust is the heaviest type of sawdust and dark brown color. It is often used as an insulation material or to create a surface finish on the wood.
Now that we know about the different types of sawdust let us look at its uses.
Sawdust is used in various applications, some of which include;
- As an absorbent- Sawdust can be used to absorb spills of liquids such as oil and gasoline. It is effective because the small particles of sawdust quickly soak up the liquid.
- As a filler- Sawdust can be used as a filler in products such as concrete and plaster. This helps to reduce the cost of the product and also makes it thicker, which can help with insulation.
- As an animal bedding- Sawdust is often used as bedding for animals, as it is absorbent and has a pleasant smell. It is also cheaper than other materials such as straw.
- As a fuel- Sawdust can be used as a fuel by mixing it with other materials such as charcoal and sawmill shavings. This mixture is often called biomass, which can be burned to provide energy for boilers.
- In the arts- Artists use sawdust to create sculptures and carvings from wood, as well as in pottery and ceramics due to its absorbent qualities. It can also be mixed with glue or oil paints to hold pigment onto a surface whilst allowing fine details of an image to still show through.
Before choosing any type of sawdust, you need to first understand its purpose. Find out what application you will be using it for, then go ahead and buy the right type of sawdust. Also, you need to find the right supplier. Keep in mind that not all suppliers are legitimate as others sell low-quality sawdust. Therefore, do your research and choose one that has a good track record of selling high-quality sawdust.