Sawdust briquettes are compressed blocks of sawdust that has been soaked in water and compacted under high pressure. These briquettes can then be used as fuel for heating or cooking. Compressed briquettes made from sawdust, plant waste, and waste paper are often used in undeveloped areas as a means of turning waste into cooking fuel. For the homeowner, these briquettes can provide a useful way to dispose of wood waste and cheaply heat the house.
For example, larger, denser sawdust briquettes can serve as a primary fuel source in your wood-burning or multifuel stove, while you can use smaller briquettes to quickly maximize heat output when you first light a fire. Then as your fire is burning, you can toss small or medium-size briquettes on the fire to get a quick burst of heat. You can also mix sawdust briquettes with oak and other hardwood logs to increase heat output and accelerate the combustion of these slower-burning woods.
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Follow these steps to make your own batch of sawdust briquettes:
1. Mix Sawdust and Water
Fill a bucket about halfway with sawdust. Then fill the rest up with water. Allow the sawdust to soak for at least one hour or until it begins to form a slurry.
2. Press Sawdust Into Bricks
Scoop the sawdust into a briquette press and follow the instructions that came with your press. Every press is different, but you will likely either need to push down on a lever or tamp the press down tightly yourself.
3. Dry the Bricks
Pull the compressed brick out of the press. Leave the brick out in the sunlight until it is completely dry. This will take different amounts of time depending on your climate, but it could be as long as several days. Place the bricks under an awning or in another sheltered area while they're drying if it begins to rain.
Try adding some shredded paper to your sawdust while it's soaking to make faster-burning bricks. Add wood ash to make the brick sturdier.
You can also try a briquette recipe that doesn't require a press:
- Thoroughly mix 1 part water and 2 parts sawdust in a suitable container and let it sit overnight.
- The next day, scoop up a generous handful of the mixture, squeezing it with your hands and making a simple ball-like briquette.
- When you've emptied the bucket, leave your briquettes in a sunny area to dry for a few days.
Because briquettes burn hot, avoid adding too many at one time and possibly causing your woodstove to overheat.