Where Does All That Sawdust Go?

“I just LOVE that smell!” and “How do you keep this place so CLEAN?” are two statements we hear all the time from clients who tour our cabinet shop. What smell are they referring to, you ask? The smell of wood, of course! But what actually makes that smell is the cutting and sanding of said wood, which produces A LOT of sawdust! So how DO we keep the shop so clean? When we built our new shop in 2015 we knew we wanted to invest in a state-of-the-art dust collection system and paint room (more on that in another post). Our employees are like family so it’s important to us to provide a clean, safe, and healthy environment for them to spend their days. It also makes for a more efficient and safe shop.


Dust Collection System

Every tool we have, from the shapers to the large plywood saw are permanently ducted to a central dust collection system which runs throughout the shop, terminating in an explosion proof dust room which is only accessed from the exterior of the building. This is important because sawdust is highly flammable – as much as we don’t want this stuff in the air that we breathe or lying around the floor of the shop, for fire safety reasons, we also don’t want it being accumulated and stored within the shop. We collect the sawdust in three large modules. Each module is connected to a 55 gallon industrial strength plastic bag. When the bags are full, we tie them off and store them in a metal sea container located outside the shop.


Recycling the Sawdust

As you can imagine we create A LOT of sawdust! When we are at full capacity we can generate nearly 10 bags per week. Fortunately, our cabinet shop is in Vermont and there are a lot of farms as well as backyard gardeners and chicken coops in Vermont. Several of these local farmers rely on our sawdust as bedding for their animals as well as mulch for pathways between crops and to keep weeds away. When the farmers we work with can’t take all the sawdust we simply put the word out to the local communities around us and local families gladly come grab a bag or two at a time to use as bedding for their chicken coops and mulch for their gardens. We love that the byproduct of our gorgeous custom cabinetry, something others may regard as waste, isn’t waste at all – it’s a valuable resource for local farms and families!