How to Save Your Wood Shavings

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Duration: 3:11

Most of the time, woodworkers are looking for ways to get rid of the shavings and sawdust from their projects. But every once in a while, when there’s something special about the shavings, you may want to collect and save the sawdust. Here’s a great trick that makes it super simple to grab that cool sawdust.

Why bother saving sawdust?

Admittedly, if the sawdust you just got done making is a commodity item (standard stuff from oak, pine, maple) there’s probably no compelling reason to hold onto it. But here’s an example of when you might want to. On a recent project George put a piece of brass round stock on his lathe and turned it into a wine bottle stopper. It was a cool project, and resulted in brass shavings and curls laying all over his lathe. It would have been a shame to just sweep all those cool looking shavings into a trash barrel, and not find some other use for them. Instead, George used a cool trick to vacuum the shavings up, but keep them isolated from other junk that was already in his shop vacuum.

Then what?

The brass ended up in a silicone mold with casting resin poured over it. Once the resin was cured George had a new turning blank. This is a cool way to give shavings a second life. Casting resin is only one solution for this. There are lots of easy ways to upcycle sawdust.

But wait, there’s more!

This is one solution to the problem of isolating cool sawdust and shavings in your shop. There are bound to be lots more ways to do this. A cool thing about woodworking is the variety of ways to get things done. This is why we keep producing more shop tips.

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3 Responses to “How to Save Your Wood Shavings”

  1. Jay

    I thought this was supposed to be about sawdust, not metal turnings. I use sawdust for mulch around trees or to fill in low spots on the lawn. But metal shavings are contaminated with cutting oil and metal lathe lube, so not so useful. Silicone resin? Isn’t that wiggly? How would it stay in lathe or react to turning tools? But with epoxy, maybe that could work, but I would think that turning/sanding it would make it less transparent, with a scratched up finish that would be difficult to polish. And epoxy is expensive.

    • Customer Service

      Hi Jay.

      Since the brass shavings were created when a piece of brass was turned on a wood lathe, there isn’t any form of lube on the shavings. Of course I wouldn’t recommend them being used as mulch. 😊

      Epoxy/resin turns great on a wood lathe and is easily cut with high speed steel or negative rake carbide lathe chisels. It sands and polishes easily, providing a really nice lustrous finish.

      Yep, it can be expensive. That’s one reason why it’s nice to put other stuff in the casting. The other stuff takes up space and you don’t use as much resin. Win/win.
      George-Woodworkers Guild of America