DIY Pellets

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Original poster
Sep 1, 2022
As stated elsewhere, I am a born-again DIYer and the idea of buying compressed sawdust does not fit my MO.

It's hard to justify buying a pellet mill so I came up with a method of making something similar with just the tools found in a typical basement workshop.

All that is needed is a table saw and/or a band saw and scraps of hardwood. Split logs for firewood is a good place to start.

What we going to make the pellets from are strips of wood 1/4" thick and any length or width that is convenient.

You can buy 1/4" wood at Home Depot but that also takes the fun out of it.

I like to start with a split log with at least one fairly flat face and run this through the table saw with the rip fence set at about 1/4".

Set aside the first few small pieces for kindling and rip as many useful pieces as you can safely get from the log.

Take these pieces to your band saw and rip them the long way into 1/4" square pieces but stop before you get the end so they all stay together.
You can use a table saw for this but it wastes a lot of wood.

So now you have a comb with very long teeth which you finally cut across to get "pellets" that are roughly 1/4" cubes. Again, a band saw is a better choice for the additional reason that collecting the finished pellets is much simpler with the slower speed of the bandsaw blade.

It takes less than ten minutes to make enough pellets to fill a pellet tube and you have total control of your product. You can mix and blend with sawdust, shavings and other pellets for total control of the burn rate and smoke production.

Attached pic shows the final cross cut.


Astronomy, Beer, Cheese, Fiber, Gems,
Nature, Radio, Sheep, Sausage, Silver
I like it... Splits/Natural would be my wood choice as well... I don't care for the kiln dried wood (store bought chunks)....

I make my own chunks from different sized branches run through the chop saw...

So I may look in to your method a lil further...
That’s interesting, but since they are way more dense than a sawdust pellet, how well do they burn in a pellet tube? I really like the idea though!
I'm with Al. Very interesting but really curious how well they will burn in a tube.
I'm with Al. Very interesting but really curious how well they will burn in a tube.

That is the key question but there is no simple answer other than it opens up endless opportunities for experimentation.

For examples:

Types of wood
Moisture content
Blends of different woods
Blends of different textures with shavings, sawdust, commercial pellets.

The most significant thing I have learned is that I have been spinning my wheels chasing spooks.

Basic problem I have had with the tube is getting it started and keeping it going, no matter what I put into it, from sawdust to commercial pellets.

I have now discovered that if the tube is held at a 45 deg angle, just about everything will smoke for 6 hrs plus. 10 or 20 degs just doesn't hack it.

The only remaining problem is controlling the amount of smoke. Everything produces too much smoke.

I want a chemical reaction between smoke and the meat, not a tar coating.

I am looking for something like a cigarette butt in an ashtray wafting into the air.

It occurs to me that the best way to control the amount of smoke is with the moisture content of the pellets.

The wood I have been using is about 10%.

I am re-hydrating the pellets to different moisture levels to determine the effect and think this might be the best way to control the smoke level.

The instructions that came with Traeger pellets make a big issue of how to store them but I would rather know what moisture level is best and be in control of that.

More to follow,


Astronomy, Beer, Cheese, Fiber, Gems,
Nature, Radio, Sheep, Sausage, Silver
I use hickory shag bark strips and pellets in my tube, really adds a lot of flavor, going to do some cheese when/if temps go back down.
Here's a great mod by normanaj normanaj

I've been using the tube for a lot of years . Never had an issue keeping it lit . I do use wood chips with the pellets sometimes , but store bought .
The traeger pellets never worked well in a tube for me.either, i tried them flat and with the u-bolt mod. Just never would stay lit and always had a pool of liquid under the tube. Switched to lumberjack, I have to drive 1 hour each way to get them, but well worth it.

With good pellets, i can use them alone or with wood chips and never had a problem, even when flat. is reader supported and as an Amazon Associate, we may earn commissions from qualifying purchases.