Typically, pine milling processes generate a lot of waste, including bark, woodchips, shavings, sawdust, stringers and trim blocks. Pine sawdust is arguably the most useful and versatile of all the by-products. For instance, you can use it as mulch, as a fuel source, in soak spills and filling holes and defects in timber products. That said, choosing high-quality pine sawdust is not as simple as most people think. You must consider specific factors to purchase the right product. This post explores essential qualities to look for when buying pine sawdust.
Moisture Content — Although pine trees hold water in their trunks, the milling process determines whether the sawdust has a high or low moisture content. Generally, dry pine timber produces sawdust with limited moisture content. However, if pine wood is fresh from the forest, the moisture content in the sawdust is usually high. That said, some millers dehydrate wet sawdust after the sawing process to meet customers' needs. Whichever is the case, the moisture content of pine sawdust dictates its application. For example, wet pine sawdust is excellent for compost because the high moisture content introduces oxygen in a pit, which is essential in composting. On the other hand, pine sawdust with low moisture content is ideal for mulching and heating.
Grain Size — The grain sizes in pine sawdust differ depending on the sawing grade. For instance, coarse sawdust grains are produced when millers use saws with wide teeth on pine timber. On the other hand, saws with small teeth produce fine-grained sawdust resembling beach sand. Grain size is critical when buying pine sawdust since it affects application options. For example, professional floor refinishers use fine pine sawdust to make a stainable filler that hides blemishes on timber floors. However, coarse sawdust is suitable for mulching since the large grains allow adequate soil aeration.
Untreated Sawdust — Although millers are the best suppliers of pine sawdust, carpenters are also a great source. However, ensure pine sawdust is not treated when buying from a carpenter. Carpenters recycle previously treated wood to make new products. Therefore, the resulting sawdust might be contaminated and hazardous in specific applications. For instance, you should not burn sawdust from copper chrome arsenic (CCA) treated timber for heating purposes. Similarly, you must not apply CCA-containing sawdust as mulch or throw it into a compost pit. Overall, the best sawdust comes from raw timber since it is untreated.