W for Waste                 


This month we look at W for the Waste created in our workshops. It has been estimated that 75% of the wood that is brought into the workshop as raw material leaves as waste. We therefore need to ensure that the various types of waste material are dealt with appropriately.

The preparation and rough shaping of wood for turning results in offcuts, trimmings, bark and sawdust being produced. When dry these are ideal for the woodburning stove and will keep you warm whether in the workshop or indoors. During the warmer months when heating is not required the storage of this material can take up significant room and is not recommended that it is stored in the workshop.

Shavings produced whilst turning should be cleared up at the end of each turning session. They constitute a significant fire risk and failure to clear up shavings could invalidate insurance cover in the event of a fire. Moist shavings can cause the build up of fungus or mildew. Whilst being knee deep in shavings can keep your feet nice and warm it greatly increases the risk of slips and trips and it makes finding a dropped tool or chuck key very difficult. Shavings can be collected with a chip extractor or a big dustpan. Some workshop stoves will burn wood shavings well whereas others are far less capable of dealing with this material. When turning dry wood or finishing items the dust produced should be collected, preferably using vacuum equipment, and then safely disposed of in sealed bags.

Care should be taken when clearing up dust to avoid inhaling excessive amounts. Burning dust in stoves is not recommended because of the risk of explosion. Rejected pieces of work can be reworked or burnt to provide heat. Consider using a 'SHARPS' container to take waste items such as blades, broken glass, nails and screws. A used fabric conditioner bottle is ideal for this purpose. Fit the cap when the bottle is full and dispose of safely.

For chemicals follow the disposal instructions printed on the container. Generally liquids such as paint can be mixed with an inert material like sand to make it immobile.  


Can you can reuse or recycle any waste produced in your workshop?

Do you have appropriate dust extraction equipment to deal with the dust produced in your workshop?

Do you have a 'SHARPS' container in your workshop?