Author Topic: Turning woodworking dust and chips into burnable "logs"  (Read 9170 times)

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Offline Frank Pellow

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  • Toronto, Ontario and Lake Pivabiska, Ontario
Turning woodworking dust and chips into burnable "logs"
« on: October 31, 2011, 08:26 AM »
This week, I successfully burned a pressed log that I made solely out  of dust and chips collected in the woodworking shed.  For a long time, I have been crerating  more dust and chips than I can easily dispose of.  The city doesn’t want them either in garbage or in garden recycling material.  I tried then as mulch, but the material tends to clump up and, so, later it becomes hard to work into the soil.  It is possible to incorporate a bit of the dust and chips into my own compost bin where it is well mixed with other material.  It is also possible to burn by throwing handfuls onto a fire in the stove my workshed, but that is messy.  As a result of all this, I have now accumulated 5 very large paper bags of dust and chips.  Here is a photo of two of the bags:


    
What to do?  The clumping in the garden gave me an idea.  I drilled some holes in a large can, made a removable wooden top, wet some dust and chips, pressed them into the can, then let the mixture dry for a couple of days.  I thought that the clump would simply drop out of the inverted can, but that didn’t work.  I had to take off the bottom and cut the can down the side in order to remove the log”.

 
        
After drying the log for another five days, I put some kindling under it in the stove, lit the kindling, and obtained a good fire.  Here is one photo taken about five minutes after lighting the fire and another taken twenty minutes later:

 

By the way, the dried log held together fairly well before I burned it, but it certainly would have come apart if not handled gently.
« Last Edit: October 31, 2011, 08:32 AM by Frank Pellow »
Cheers,   
               Frank (Festool connoisseur)

Offline Ken Nagrod

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Re: Turning woodworking dust and chips into burnable "logs"
« Reply #1 on: October 31, 2011, 08:33 AM »
I've heard of people doing that.  As long as the stuff didn't come from certain woods that can irritate you, pressure treated material and woods or wood based products containing glue like mdf, plywood, particle board, osb.  You don't want to burn off that stuff around anyone.

Offline Frank Pellow

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Re: Turning woodworking dust and chips into burnable "logs"
« Reply #2 on: October 31, 2011, 08:47 AM »
I've heard of people doing that.  As long as the stuff didn't come from certain woods that can irritate you, pressure treated material and woods or wood based products containing glue like mdf, plywood, particle board, osb.  You don't want to burn off that stuff around anyone.


Right you are Ken.  None of that stuff is in my bags, nor in my "logs".
Cheers,   
               Frank (Festool connoisseur)

Offline Frank Pellow

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Re: Turning woodworking dust and chips into burnable "logs"
« Reply #3 on: October 31, 2011, 08:50 AM »
Of course, I don’t want to cut a can apart for every log that I create so, this week, I built a form that can be used to make a large rectangular “log” block:


    
The form is designed to be temporarily held together with clamps.  In the first  picture below, the dust-chip-water mixture is being pressed into the form and in the second picture the lid has been hammered down pushing out as much water as possible:

 
      
After a couple of days, the form was removed:

 
      
There is a small crack about two thirds of the way from the left side of the block, but I don’t expect this to be a problem.

The next time I make a block, I will mix in a little plaster of Paris, and see if that improves the solidity.
« Last Edit: October 31, 2011, 08:53 AM by Frank Pellow »
Cheers,   
               Frank (Festool connoisseur)

Offline hrrb

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Re: Turning woodworking dust and chips into burnable "logs"
« Reply #4 on: October 31, 2011, 09:33 AM »
I've often played with the thought of making burnable bricks from dust and wood chips. Both the waste material from the workshop and the waste material from sawing wood for the fireplace.

But I don't really know if I dare to do so seeing your rectangular logs. It just looks too much like danish rye bread!  [blink]

My small kids will chew up the logs! [big grin]

Well...I like the idea!

Does the log fall apart when burning? How fragile is it?

Kind regards
Henrik

Offline Guy Ashley

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Re: Turning woodworking dust and chips into burnable "logs"
« Reply #5 on: October 31, 2011, 10:30 AM »
Frank

There are commercial machines which compress wood chippings and dust and make small (4" x 4") briquettes for residential use.

They are very expensive as a machine, but the binding agent they use to keep the stuff together is simple wallpaper paste.

 
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Offline mattfc

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Re: Turning woodworking dust and chips into burnable "logs"
« Reply #6 on: October 31, 2011, 10:50 AM »
Frank

There are commercial machines which compress wood chippings and dust and make small (4" x 4") briquettes for residential use.

They are very expensive as a machine, but the binding agent they use to keep the stuff together is simple wallpaper paste.


this sort of thing?

http://www.axminster.co.uk/rojek-rojek-brikstar-25-hydraulic-briquette-press-prod582180/

Offline Frank Pellow

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  • Toronto, Ontario and Lake Pivabiska, Ontario
Re: Turning woodworking dust and chips into burnable "logs"
« Reply #7 on: October 31, 2011, 12:01 PM »
Frank

There are commercial machines which compress wood chippings and dust and make small (4" x 4") briquettes for residential use.

They are very expensive as a machine, but the binding agent they use to keep the stuff together is simple wallpaper paste.

 
Thanks for the tip about wallpaper paste.  That was the next thing I planned to try if plaster of Paris did not work.
« Last Edit: October 31, 2011, 01:00 PM by Frank Pellow »
Cheers,   
               Frank (Festool connoisseur)

Offline Frank Pellow

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Re: Turning woodworking dust and chips into burnable "logs"
« Reply #8 on: October 31, 2011, 12:06 PM »
Frank

There are commercial machines which compress wood chippings and dust and make small (4" x 4") briquettes for residential use.

They are very expensive as a machine, but the binding agent they use to keep the stuff together is simple wallpaper paste.

this sort of thing?


WOW 13,000 pounds ! -I think I will stick with my hand made form and pushing down hard with a block of wood.
Cheers,   
               Frank (Festool connoisseur)

Offline Frank Pellow

  • Posts: 2645
  • Toronto, Ontario and Lake Pivabiska, Ontario
Re: Turning woodworking dust and chips into burnable "logs"
« Reply #9 on: October 31, 2011, 12:08 PM »
I've often played with the thought of making burnable bricks from dust and wood chips. Both the waste material from the workshop and the waste material from sawing wood for the fireplace.

But I don't really know if I dare to do so seeing your rectangular logs. It just looks too much like danish rye bread!  [blink]

My small kids will chew up the logs! [big grin]

Well...I like the idea!

Does the log fall apart when burning? How fragile is it?

Kind regards
Henrik

The "log" holds together when burning better than I expected it to.  In the second picture above of the fire in the stove, one can still see the shape after about 25 minutes of burning.
Cheers,   
               Frank (Festool connoisseur)

Online davee

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Re: Turning woodworking dust and chips into burnable "logs"
« Reply #10 on: October 31, 2011, 12:22 PM »
Thanks for sharing, this is a great use of wood chips - I have a fairly large lot and have been throwing them around trees, etc.  Burning makes more sense.  I look forward to hearing how the modified binders work for you. 

Plaster is supposed to be a fairly good fertilizer so adding it to the ashes would likely be beneficial when spread on the soil.

Online Tom Bellemare

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Re: Turning woodworking dust and chips into burnable "logs"
« Reply #11 on: October 31, 2011, 01:26 PM »
Frank:

I wonder if you'd get a more consolidated log if you clamped the lid and gradually increased the pressure over a couple of days instead of just hammering it?



Tom
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Offline Frank Pellow

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Re: Turning woodworking dust and chips into burnable "logs"
« Reply #12 on: October 31, 2011, 01:33 PM »
Frank:

I wonder if you'd get a more consolidated log if you clamped the lid and gradually increased the pressure over a couple of days instead of just hammering it?

Tom

Good suggestion.  [thumbs up]   I will try it.
Cheers,   
               Frank (Festool connoisseur)

Online Tom Bellemare

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Re: Turning woodworking dust and chips into burnable "logs"
« Reply #13 on: October 31, 2011, 01:42 PM »
You might also want to look into the history of Kingsford charcoal. I'm pretty sure that is Henry Ford's company and that they invented the charcoal brickette. He had a lot of sawdust and such left from making cars. You may be able to glean some tricks.


Tom
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Offline Bill Chang

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Re: Turning woodworking dust and chips into burnable "logs"
« Reply #14 on: October 31, 2011, 03:16 PM »
I'd been thinking about doing this with a paint bucket.  It looks like your form is a better idea.

Thanks for sharing.   [tongue]

Offline Deansocial

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Re: Turning woodworking dust and chips into burnable "logs"
« Reply #15 on: October 31, 2011, 04:14 PM »
what about a trapazoid shape with a lid that can be clamped down then released a few days later. the shape will let it release easy. paint the inside so it cant key into it

Offline Frank Pellow

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Re: Turning woodworking dust and chips into burnable "logs"
« Reply #16 on: November 01, 2011, 07:26 AM »
I have been asked about the amount of water that I used in the mixture.  

The rectangular block is approximately 10cm x 10cm x 40cm and I used about 2 litres of water.
« Last Edit: November 01, 2011, 10:10 AM by Frank Pellow »
Cheers,   
               Frank (Festool connoisseur)

Offline Frank Pellow

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Re: Turning woodworking dust and chips into burnable "logs"
« Reply #17 on: November 02, 2011, 06:34 PM »
Frank:

I wonder if you'd get a more consolidated log if you clamped the lid and gradually increased the pressure over a couple of days instead of just hammering it?

Tom

Good suggestion.  [thumbs up]   I will try it.

I made a second block, this time with two differences.

I did clamp rather than hammer the lid as Tom Suggested:



After 6 hours, I increased the pressure and moved the lid down about 1 centimetre then, after another 6 hours, I did the same thing.  Then I left it for another 12 hours before taking the form apart.  

The other change was to add 30 millilitres of plaster of Paris to the water.  

The resulting block seems to be a little more solid but I won't really know for another few days when it fully dries out.

The first block has now dried to the point that it is burnable.  It wieghs in at exactly 1 kilo.
« Last Edit: November 02, 2011, 09:29 PM by Frank Pellow »
Cheers,   
               Frank (Festool connoisseur)

Offline Sparktrician

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Re: Turning woodworking dust and chips into burnable "logs"
« Reply #18 on: November 02, 2011, 06:52 PM »
There was a company that, unfortunately, appears to have gone belly up this year that made bricks of highly compressed wood chips called Liberty Bricks.  I bought a couple of tons of them on pallets and they ran my little wood stove all of last winter virtually problem free.  One thing I really like about them is the regular size and density.  The consistent size makes it easy to stack the packages of bricks very neatly, and the density prevents critters like carpenter ants and termites from using them for food.  I'd hate to try to make a ton of them one-at-a-time, though.  I usually ran 3-4 of them at a time in my stove, and they lasted about two hours before the next batch needed to be loaded. 

 [smile]
- Willy -

Offline Frank Pellow

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Re: Turning woodworking dust and chips into burnable "logs"
« Reply #19 on: November 02, 2011, 07:32 PM »
There was a company that, unfortunately, appears to have gone belly up this year that made bricks of highly compressed wood chips called Liberty Bricks.  I bought a couple of tons of them on pallets and they ran my little wood stove all of last winter virtually problem free.  One thing I really like about them is the regular size and density.  The consistent size makes it easy to stack the packages of bricks very neatly, and the density prevents critters like carpenter ants and termites from using them for food.  I'd hate to try to make a ton of them one-at-a-time, though.  I usually ran 3-4 of them at a time in my stove, and they lasted about two hours before the next batch needed to be loaded. 

 [smile]

Do you know if they added anything to the chips to help adherence?

What was the size of the blocks?

Once I figure out what I am doing, I will incease the output from a block at a time to about four blocks at a time.
Cheers,   
               Frank (Festool connoisseur)

Offline Sparktrician

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Re: Turning woodworking dust and chips into burnable "logs"
« Reply #20 on: November 02, 2011, 07:40 PM »
There was a company that, unfortunately, appears to have gone belly up this year that made bricks of highly compressed wood chips called Liberty Bricks.  I bought a couple of tons of them on pallets and they ran my little wood stove all of last winter virtually problem free.  One thing I really like about them is the regular size and density.  The consistent size makes it easy to stack the packages of bricks very neatly, and the density prevents critters like carpenter ants and termites from using them for food.  I'd hate to try to make a ton of them one-at-a-time, though.  I usually ran 3-4 of them at a time in my stove, and they lasted about two hours before the next batch needed to be loaded. 

 [smile]


Do you know if they added anything to the chips to help adherence?

What was the size of the blocks?

Once I figure out what I am doing, I will incease the output from a block at a time to about four blocks at a time.


Frank, as I understand it, there are no additives.  They are VERY tightly compressed.  When I get back to Virginia this weekend, I'll measure them, and if you like, send you a picture of one by itself, and a pack of ten of them.  Each brick weighs ~2 pounds, and each pack weighs ~20 pounds.  Even the wrapper can be used to get a fire going by rolling it loosely and stuffing it between the bricks, then lighting it. 

From a web site that describes the bricks: "Liberty Bricks are made of highly compressed, recycled wood chips and sawdust from the Petersburg, Virginia area sawmills and wood processing facilities. These bricks can be burned in any woodstove, chimney or fireplace just like regular cordwood. Liberty Bricks (per skid) provide as much heat as a cord of wood without the splitting, hand stacking, mess and bugs. Liberty Bricks also emit half the particulates (smoke) and take up half the space as compared to cord wood, not to mention they are conveniently packaged 10 bricks per bundle (22.5 lbs per bundle / 90 bundles per skid)." 

And from yet another web site: "Liberty Bricks are held together by the force applied to them during the manufacturing process. Wood fiber is fed into a mold, where a large ram puts thousands of pounds of pressure on the fiber and compresses it into a Liberty Brick. The bricks are held together by the rejoined fibers in the wood and natural resins.  No glues or binders are added."

 [smile]
« Last Edit: November 02, 2011, 07:54 PM by Sparktrician »
- Willy -