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Making furniture with sawdust

Furniture & Lighting
Making furniture with sawdust

Here’s a good way to put some of those scrap wood shavings to good use. Designer Yoav Avinoam built this coffee table and a pair of stools by casting sawdust and resin in a form. I particularly like the way that the legs are attached by embedding them into the surface. [via inhabitat]

20 thoughts on “Making furniture with sawdust

  1. john personna says:

    But I’d guess the environmental cost of resin manufacture is greater than the environmental cost of sawdust disposal … especially when most sawdust is natural mulch. Don’t mulch sawdust from pressure treated lumber, but other than that I think you’re good. (I wouldn’t want furniture from pressure treated lumber either.)

    People who overuse resins and epoxies in “green” projects are a pet peeve.

    1. Matt Mets says:

      Yeah, it bugs me too. I hope I didn’t imply anything about this being an environmentally conscious project, I just thought it looked cool!

  2. jeff-o says:

    Isn’t this the same thing as using particle board or MDF to make furniture? Both of those are made of sawdust and glue.

    I wonder if an environmentally friendly resin could be used here. Does anyone know of something natural that would work?

    1. Wilson! says:

      That’s exactly what I thought when I saw it on the front page – DIY MDF, only more expensive and less strong, dimensionally stable, …

    2. RocketGuy says:

      But while I agree that most epoxy/resin type compounds are truly nasty, I vaguely recall some recent work in resins that are actually either non-toxic, or radically less toxic, while maintaining reasonable performance.

      If I find it again I’ll post it.

  3. NIck says:

    I think Minwax wood hardner would work as suggested a couple of years ago here on Make, but a more green replacment would be better, any ideas?

  4. Dale says:

    I wonder if wood glue is less harsh on the environment?

    I’ve used it with sawdust to create fillets and gussets on wood projects before and that is great. Elmer’s is non toxic but more expensive.

    I would say get some of those 12oz bottles at the dollar stores but I think some kinds have formaldehyde and I wouldn’t want that out gassing from a big block over time.

    You could also just make a .5″ shell reinforced with something like chicken wire and then a Styrofoam core.

  5. Philip McIntosh says:

    when I have tried similar ideas I have trouble releasing the casting from the mold. It tend to stick to it. I’ve tried wax paper but that doesn’t really work very well. What is the best way to ensure a clean and easy release of the casting from the mold frame?

  6. alandove says:

    Just to clear up some misconceptions, modern treated lumber and epoxy resins aren’t particularly hazardous. Years ago, treated lumber contained arsenic, but these days, all of the treated stuff at your local lumber yard uses much less toxic compounds. And, contrary to widespread belief, even the arsenic-treated stuff probably didn’t leach enough out to be a concern in most applications.

    With epoxy resins the main danger is allergic sensitivity from occupational exposure. If you’re not allergic, you can breathe the fumes without much harm. However, breathing the fumes will almost certainly sensitize you, so it’s prudent to wear a respirator and work with plenty of ventilation. Polyester resins are a different story – they’re outright toxic.

    In any case, this project strikes me as whimsical but pretty much useless – as others have said, just buy some MDF if you want to recycle sawdust.

  7. Thomas S says:

    When something looks good it is sustainable because you’re going to keep it for a much longer time. Longevity is a sustainability factor that can often be overlooked.

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