Sawdust help?

Discussion in 'Woods for Smoking' started by philinnm, Apr 14, 2011.

  1. Hi all! I've got a question as to whether some sawdust can be used. A local mom and pop furniture/cabinet shop gives away it's sawdust but it's all mixed together. Oak, birch, bamboo, etc., all hardwoods. I know the oak, maple, and etc are OK, but what about the laminated bamboo sawdust? Will that be a problem either health-wise or taste wise?  They claim it's god for smoking, but I'm not sure. They put out several 55 gallon drums each week, all free for the taking, but everything is all thrown together, there's no "sweet spots" where you can just grab certain woods.

    Thanks, all help appreciated!


    Albuquerque, NM
  2. scarbelly

    scarbelly Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I am pretty sure Bear will be along soon on this one, but I would not use it because of the glue used in the lamination
  3. redneck69

    redneck69 Smoking Fanatic

    if is true hard wood with no glues, laminates, stains or pressure treated they should be fine.
  4. the dude abides

    the dude abides Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    My gut reaction would be to NOT use the stuff because you don't totally know what it is.  If it's treated wood that would be a no-no.
  5. rbranstner

    rbranstner Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    They should know if there is any treated wood or any types of toxic material in there such as glues or finish. If they say its pure hard wood and no bad material then it should be ok.
  6. les3176

    les3176 Master of the Pit

    That sounds like too many ifs for me....I would have to make totally sure that is ALL PURE hardwood before i even thought about using it!!!
  7. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I wouldn't chance it.

    One reason is if the Bamboo is laminated, it has glue in it (formaldehyde? arsenic?--who knows?).

    Also if they're really mixing it all together, it's not all hardwood. Things like ties, cleats, toe kicks, etc are usually made of woods like pine, if they aren't using any flake or particle board. I didn't use particle board or MDF in my shop, but I did use some pine for the things I mentioned earlier.

    If they're using a dust collection system, do they have any floor sweeps built into it?

    If so they're sweeping their floors into it too.

    Don't get me wrong, it wouldn't be that hard for a "Mom & Pop" to separate some good hardwood dust at the source for you, but they aren't in business to make clean dust. If it's all going together, I doubt it would be ALL hardwood & safe.

    A lot of shops will say it's all what you're looking for, just to get rid of it.


    Last edited: Apr 14, 2011
  8. Thanks. No floor sweepings, everything is vacuum collected at each machine, then they dump it into the drums to go outside for give-a-way. I was wondering about the treated part..... aren't most woods used today for cabinets and such treated when they're cured?

    One of the workmen said he'd set aside some pure oak for me, both red oak and white oak. he said when they get a large order, they may spend a week using just that one wood specified in that order.. like oak...  Maybe that would be OK to use??? Again, if it isn't treated, but then, as I said, aren't all dimension woods treated nowadays?

    Butcher-packer sells 40 pounds for about 30 bucks plus shipping..... I may have to just fall back on that, dunno.

    Thanks again!
  9. fife

    fife Master of the Pit

    Guess you could always try it.
  10. tjohnson

    tjohnson Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Insider OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    If the guy is willing to set aside some pure oak, maple or hickory, go for it.  Even if it's mixed oak, hickory, maple or cherry, it would be OK, but if it contains any laminate or glue, don't use it.

    I know the temptation is there because it's free, but why get someone sick?

  11. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    If the guy collects individual dusts at individual machines, I would think he could dump some individual dust into some individual bags that you supply to him.

    I don't think you mentioned what you want to do with the dust. If you want to use it in an AMNS, make sure it comes from either the Radial saw, Miter Saw, or Table saw. The stuff from the Planer, Jointer, Shaper, Sanders won't be any good.

    If this is a shop that makes Kitchens & Vanities, and stereo cabs, etc, they do not use any treated woods. All that is done to cabinet grade hardwoods (normally) is the wood is cut into rough sizes, stickered with strips of similar species wood, put in a kiln and dried to about 6% moisture content. Then steamed back up to about 8% moisture to close any pores that opened during the drying process. No chemicals are added.

    You can also use "Air Dried" wood for making cabinets, but anyone who sells his cabinets would be taking a chance, because of the lack of stability in air dried hardwoods.

    Either way there should be no chemicals used on cabinet hardwoods, until the stain, sealer, and top coats are applied.

    Last edited: Apr 15, 2011
  12. Thanks! I'll ask and see what he's willing to do. Even if he wants some $$ it'd be cheaper than having some shipped. Phil

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