Sawmill questions

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by Elizabeth, Mar 28, 2005.

  1. Elizabeth

    Elizabeth Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Curious to know if anyone here has worked in a sawmill, or just knows the answers to a couple of questions-

    1. What do sawmills generally do with sawdust? Is there a market for it, or is it just a waste product for them? If so, how might they dispose of it?

    2. What do sawmills do with the mill ends generated from cutting lumber? Again, is there a market for them, or are they considered waste?
     
  2. Chas in Me

    Chas in Me Well-Known Member

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    Find someone with excess manure and make compost with the sawdust.
    Mill ends can be sold or used for heating fuel.
    Nothing is waste, ever. You just have to find someone who wants what you don't.
     

  3. Elizabeth

    Elizabeth Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Uh, my sentiments exactly, Chas. But, to clarify my questions, I don't have
    the sawdust, I am looking for some to use as bedding for my worms under our rabbit cages. There are several sawmills nearby that have huge piles of sawdust in their yards, and I am wondering if they would be interested in having some of it hauled away. I don't want to buy it however, as it isn't worth it to me- we have other materials on the farm which we could use for free. Free sawdust would be better, though. Anyway, just wanted to get an idea of what response I might get before I approach the sawmills.
     
  4. woodsrunner

    woodsrunner Well-Known Member

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    The sawmill I worked in years ago sold it for $10.00 a pickup load. Most people that bought it used it for animal bedding. And that pickup load was as much as you could cram in. Most people had caps on thier trucks and would load then right to the roof. Back then a pickup load of slabs level to the sides of your box was $15.00.

    That was back in high school, more than 20 yrs ago. I'm sure it's not that much more expensive now.
     
  5. big rockpile

    big rockpile If I need a Shelter

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    Around here all the Sawdust is Free,Slab Wood is Free.But if the guy cuts it up to stove length he carges $14 a pickup load.

    It doesn't hurt to ask.Some cities have yard waste that has been chipped for compost or mulch for a small fee.

    big rockpile
     
  6. ckncrazy

    ckncrazy Well-Known Member

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    Woodsrunner, The same thing goes for here except it is only $5.00 a load for slab wood. A freind of mine owns a saw mill, and the only reason he charges for slab is when it was free no one took it. Now that he charges, It sells. GO FIGURE.
     
  7. moonwolf

    moonwolf Well-Known Member

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    1. What I see that sawmills do with sawdust here is that they let it accumulate in piles and then when they get about 10' high, they use a skidsteer to spread it around and pack down around the area which is usually sloped. Over the years they have more level areas. Basically it's a waste product that would cost them lots to haul away. It's also a hassle for them to direct traffic should people come around to pick it up, but some smaller sawmills might allow it. On the bigger company mills, it's hauled to a dump site they own. One such site has become a ski hill locally.

    2. mill ends burned and recycled to generate electricity for a turbine in one place. Again, the smaller stuff is hauled to the dump site with sawdust and bark scrap to pile. Considered waste for the most part. In the past few years more talk about using it more in an enviornmentally friendly way that could recylce it, but this is slow in coming.
     
  8. Running Wild

    Running Wild Well-Known Member

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    My Dad owns a lumber factory that manufactures specialty award products (plaques, trophy bases, picture frames, shadow boxes, etc...) They have semi truck loads of sawdust that they are constantly looking to get rid of. They give the oak sawdust away free to anyone who wants it and fortunately, since the factory is located in country, they don't have a problem finding folks who want it. Many farmers take it for animal bedding and compost material. Unfortunately, the majority of his sawdust is walnut, which is toxic to many animals. Hence they have a much, much tougher time getting rid of it. For a while, they were giving it to some power plant that was burning it, but that avenue went away. If anyone has any ideas on what to do with walnut sawdust, I know my Dad would love to hear about them.
     
  9. woolyfluff

    woolyfluff Well-Known Member

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    Here In PA> sawdust and all slabs are grond and sent to a plywood factory only small mill around her have sawdust which they give awayor sell for about $5per pickup load
     
  10. agmantoo

    agmantoo agmantoo Supporter

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    The sawdust is collected and burned to kiln dry the finished lumber. The slabs and drops are chipped and sold to be further processed. The bark is sold for mulch. Shavings from dressing the lumber are sold to broiler/layer houses. There is NO waste!
     
  11. Elizabeth

    Elizabeth Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Shavings from dressing the lumber are sold to broiler/layer houses- hmmmm, when I visit the local mill I will have to ask about shavings. We bought a couple of bags from the coop to use for chicken bedding, but I am cheaper than DH and I nixed that idea, lol. This winter we got over a dozen loads of wood chips from the local tree trimmers- the chips are too coarse to use for bedding, but next trip back home I am going to bring my 5hp chipper/shredder back with me- for next winter I will run the bigs chips through that and it will make good bedding for the chickens. We also use spoiled hay, and will save some bags of leaves as well. But, if the mill wants to give away some shavings, too, well, I'd be happy to help them put by hauling the shavings away. We actually have several small mills in the area, so between them, maybe I will be able to scavange all the materials I am looking for.

    I just read an old copy of the Am. Bee Journal (from the 70's), and one beekeeper wrote that he was making his own hives from mill ends which he got free from his local mill- I usually buy my boxes from the bee supply company, and they haven't been too expensive in the past so it wasn't worth making my own. Now, however, with the price of the ready made boxes increasing, and the fact that I have to add 2 deep hive bodies to each of my hives, plus adding 3 deeps per hive for splits, buying ready made is looking very expensive!! If I could get scraps of wood cheap, or free, it would be worth my time to build my own.

    Thanks for all the responses- interesting how much difference there is from one area to another. I'll post back after I visit the mill(s) and let you guys know what kind of response I get.