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Paper and Sawdust Briquette Maker.

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I use a paper-waste briquette maker – but I also generate some waste sawdust that doesn’t always make it to the hen coop for the laying corner.

I’m delighted to see this fairly simple ‘recipe’ using wood and paper waste from Dr Qui

Finished bio-fuel briquette

To find a use for the large amount of sawdust produced from wood turning sawing firewood etc, the 2 choices  had was to dunp / compost  it or burn it.

loose sawdust can be burned in a wood burner but can easily kill the fire and cause a lot of smoke. decide to try and compress it back into bricks that would burn better.

I researched the options of either dry compacting and the forces need where just to beyond my capabilities.

My only other option is to compress a wet mixture and use a binder such as news pulp.

I researched on youtube and instructables to see what the other people where using.

I found all the info needed but found some of the method where a bit fiddly for me as i have a few old hand injury’s that make fiddly not an option. other option made small briquettes or the process was just to slow for the amount of sawdust i had lying around about 12 fertilizer bags full to be exact.

Ive done nothing new here, just added my 2 cents worth to the mix and try to improve what others have done before to inspire my own effort.  Enjoy. :-)

Step 1

Even a little bit of wood turning creates a large amount of sawdust..

I decided to build a mould  that would be easy to fill and compress but would would produce a larger brick than that I had seen, and have a press that would be faster to operate.

I was lucky that I had the chance to buy a Sealy No2 bench press a few months back and had yet to fin a job for it.  I decided that I could modify the pressto use for this job and more usefull for other jobs.

I decided to use only what I had at hand. this would be a no budget build.

Materials used:
3/4″ plywood (I do like the 3/4″ plywood)
6″ sewer pipe.

Step 2

The mould is made from a 6″ length of sewer pipe cut square on a friends band saw My own saw has only 4″ throat.  If have access to  a few friends large saws when I need to do jobs like this.

The pipe was marked with the use of a set square the lines are the ruler blades width apart and actually worked out very evenly spaced, 5 hole where drilled at 1″ intervals along each line. I used a 6mm drill bit in the pillar drill to do this, the sewer pipe is quite easy to drill.

I used the wood back plate on my wood lathe and turned 2 disks of 3/4″ plywood.

The Mould

One was the same as the outer diameter of the pipe with a 6mm recess cut on one edge a snug fit for the inner diameter of the pipe, this would be the base plate.

the other would be 1-2mm smaller than the inner diameter of the pipe, this would be the plunger.

That is the mould taken care of.

Step 3 The Press.

I only had to add a flat steel plate to the press, was going to do that anyway to make it more usefull than before.

A friend said he would profile me some plate steel disks for this and another lathe project. a load spreading plate on the the press would make the press more usable.

Other than add an old bike crossbar to the arm of the press to give it more leverage and get more water out with less effort.

De Press

Step 4 De Press.
The press is rated at about 2 tonne of pressure, the longer arm increased this so much that the solid steel arm started it bend  from me pressing hay to hard, I just rotated the arm 180* and use to much force to bend it straight again.  I now know the right amount of force to use not to bend the arm again.

Step 5  De Mix.

The mixture is 2 parts sawdust to 1 part paper pulp.

Some people soak shredded newspapers over night and then mix then. some say to soak the sawdust over night, here is mu recipe.

If the heating has been on and I have hot water to spare, I use warm water to soak the paper after only about 5mins you can use the paint mixer and it will be in pulp in a few minutes, if i have cold water about an 30 mins will have it softened up and will not take long to be in pulp.

For course sawdust I just add it to the paper pulp and turn the hose into the mix until it looks about right, it should be very a very sloppy slurry so the mixer can do its stuff.

I find that very fine dust is best mixed with the pulp and then left to soaked over night. I use builder plaster trugs to do my mixing as they are flexible and large enough to mix a decent sized batch.

I am going to try an electric cement mixer to do the mixing which should make the job much faster with less effort.

Note from Peter; I use a cement mixer and it takes 90% of the pain out of this. Furthermore – use rain-water not “Council-Beer” to ‘marinate the mix’ as tap water has too many chemicals in it.

Step 6.  The Method;

First place the mould on the the base plate firmly and fill with the pulp mixture.

level of the mixture and place the plunger on the top and gently press down.

Now carefully place the mould in place on the press without letting the base plate falling out.

And the load spreading plate if it not fixed to the press, i used on load plate at first and the plywood finally split in 2.

Press the mould until water stop running out, if you you slack of and press again only foam should press out, its just about right at this stage.

To remove the brick from the press I turn it upside down and use the rack in the press in the
up position to tap the plunger out and this forces out the brick.

Once you get the hang of things you can press a brick about ever 30 – 40 seconds, a full trug makes on average about 15 bricks.

The press needs to be clamped down to the work surface , I have the press mounted to a work bench, the bench is weighed down with 4  12″ concrete blocks.  the work bench is not coping well with the pressure and is now just about goosed, i need to build a very solid bench just for the press.

Step 7.  And Here’s Some We Made Earlier.

The pressed bricks are stacked to dry outside for a few days, if it looks like rain I cover the pile with a tarpaulin. once they are starting to dry out well I re stack then in a shed with a good air flow where they can take their time to dry out fully.

Once fully dry I move them into storage.

I have about 400 + made, and have still not used all the sawdust.

My stove is out of action and I have not got a chance to to see how well they burn, they are claimed to have the same btu value as coal but I can’t say anything yet.

I did just set a dry one alight outside to see if it burned but threw it into the mixing bucket again when it started to get out of control.

I have a rough plan as how to build a box section press that would be suitable if you don’t have a workshop press, if you would like to see my idea just ask and I can sketch it up and post it.

Peter says; I’ve a can-crusher that could be copied an up-scaled. NOT a great option if one can get a bench-press.

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About pfiddle

Fiddle teacher - mostly Irish trad. Fiddle, mandolin and concertina. Eco-warrior, won E.U. Green Flower Award for Eco Accommodation. Also Irish (Gold) GHA. Green Hospitality Award. Mad keen on self-build - especially straw-bale and cob. 55 with a full head of (slightly) graying hair. No tattoos or piercings. Fond of animals - but legally so. Fond of food - I eat nothing else. Vegetarian by choice, Irish by the grace of birth, Munster by force of (rugby) arms.

35 responses »

  1. We produce tons of sawdust from 3 joinery workshops and invested 25 k into an industrial briquette machine. The idea was not only to make a small income from our waste but also to produce a carbon neutral wood fuel. Hardwood briquettes are fantastic and glow away producing high heat out put in a wood burner. Cost for the consumer is very little. All saves fossil fuels and does not pollute our enviroment

    Reply
    • Is it possible for the ordinary punter to make sawdust/shaving briquettes or is there seriou machinery needed to compress the wood to extract the natural “glue”.

      Peter

      Reply
  2. it would be good to have the “hardware” and experience you have, but enjoyable read and photo’s. A friend and have are going to make paper brickettes, but I am having trouble buying a small bricette maker, here in Wagga? Thats how i got reading your article, so good read…

    Reply
    • They’re available as mail-order from web – expect to pay €20.- or there abouts fpr the ordinary paper-briquette maker.
      Peter

      Reply
    • 2.5kg wood briquettes = 1ltr heating oil
      1 bag of briquettes (approx 25k)=10ltr heating oil
      1 Ton of wood briquettes = 400ltr heating oil
      Paper wouldn’t be nearly as good but – free.

      Reply
  3. Zephline Ernest

    Dear,

    Can you help me to make a briquette machine in my country Tanzania, They are my sawdust and waste papers and many people use tree for firewood and charcoal.

    I need to know step by step,

    I am looking to hear from you,

    Yours,

    Zephline Ernest

    Reply
    • I hope the e-mail I sent gets to you. I spent hours today trying to get the drawings right. Hope they’re legible.
      I’ll send on details of a “Rocket Stove” that is fd by small twigs and shavings. Easy for a child or old person. see http://www.rocketstove.org/

      Peter

      Reply
  4. samuel mathu

    how long does it burn
    does it have smoke when burning
    thank you

    Reply
    • Nothing that burns ‘smokily’ is burning well. The trick is to only let enough oxygen (air) at the fire for to get it to burn cleanly – also known as a ‘lean burn’.
      The briquettes burn badly in open fire. They burn fantastically well in a stove that is almost closed off. They are really useful for keeping the fire “in” at night. Just enough fire that makes it easy to start again in the morning. We put 2 or 3 in our stove last thing at night in winter to burn up the last of the cinders and keep the fire going a few extra hours so the stove is still warm in the morning – and as we use it to heat water the water is also warm in morning.
      Winarski Rocket Stoves are easily the best way to boil water- cook food. It only needs twigs and wood-shavings to boil water. I’ve seen 2 litres of water boil in about 100 seconds using tiny bits of wood and twigs. More on Winarski – http://www.rocketstove.org/images/stories/design-principles-for-wood-burning-cook-stoves.pdf. Stoves – ideas how to build smokeless stoves;- http://www.pciaonline.org/node/978
      Good luck – I rally hope this helps.
      Peter

      Reply
    • Hi I answered this earlier see below – in short yes all burning materials will smoke if the air-mix is incorrect.
      Peter

      Reply
  5. your material and procedure is knowledgible.but it has been observrd that during biomass combustion large amount of nitrogen oxide emit,now how can biomass be burnt without emitting large amount of nitrogen oxide?

    Reply
    • As I’ve said before – burn lean to reduce smoke. Burning paper-briquettes works best in a closed stove. Not at all sure if even a ‘rocket-stove’ would be suitable though I would think the temperatures would be sufficient. That’s an important factor too.

      Reply
  6. i am accessible to sawdust and would wish to produce charcoal that is smokeless. give sketches of a simple production machine and procedures of making charcoal. what else can you use instead of paper?
    thanx

    Reply
    • I’ve no idea how to make charcoal from sawdust – I can’t see that happen. Super-heated sawdust will in fact combust if there’s enough air.and it can then be used as fertiliser it’s worth checking out the Terra Preta en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Terra_preta)
      I can’t sketch here but I’d suggest you get a STRONG tube and force sawdust up it with ram (lorry jack or some such) – out the far end will come packed wood in cylindrical form where the pressure has forced the wood to extrude a polymer that binds the cellulose fibres together ie a sugar that works under pressure as a glue to bond the wood-particles. The cylinder-blocks can be burnt as regular wood – but all wood (and indeed all flammable materials) burn best in an air-regulated confined space ie a stove.

      A completely different way to burn sawdust is to blow it into an oven/burner with large amounts of gas. This process was developed in Ireland for turf burning and later taken to Soviet Union. This necessitates a blower (therefore electrical power or possibly – a waterwheel) and a fairly large combustion chamber. Sorry that i can’t discuss this matter further. I’m no specialist.

      Reply
  7. i have a press machine,waste papers and sawdust..what else do i need.pliz help.Kenyan

    Reply
    • Soak all wood and paper together for as long as possible – mulch . ..tread with feet as if making wine (??) really work the sawdust into the paper and then press into small (fist-sized) blocks. Leave to dry – here a windy area works best. I use an old metal rack that stored engine oil bottles. Anything to help dry the block/briquette as fast as possible. One dry (the weight will tell) use in a container where you can control the air-flow.
      Again I refey you to Winarsky Rocket stove;http://www.rocketstove.org/images/stories/design-principles-for-wood-burning-cook-stoves.pdf It’s really worth studying and it’s very clearly written with good drawings and ideas to go further than just boiling water with this type of stove. In Middle America it’s used to heat a large flat iron plate to cook flat bread (tacos and such) and can be used as a grill or even home heater – BUT all fire-fumes are dangerous – especially the ones you can’t see.
      Best wishes and best of luck.

      Reply
    • I’ve answered this question extensively in previous responses – I’ve no new material to add. Soak well in water – allow to almost rot then press as much liquid out and allow to dry in breeze.
      Fro, previous answer;
      Soak all wood and paper together for as long as possible – mulch . ..tread with feet as if making wine (??) really work the sawdust into the paper and then press into small (fist-sized) blocks. Leave to dry – here a windy area works best. I use an old metal rack that stored engine oil bottles. Anything to help dry the block/briquette as fast as possible. One dry (the weight will tell) use in a container where you can control the air-flow.
      Again I refey you to Winarsky Rocket stove;http://www.rocketstove.org/images/stories/design-principles-for-wood-burning-cook-stoves.pdf It’s really worth studying and it’s very clearly written with good drawings and ideas to go further than just boiling water with this type of stove. In Middle America it’s used to heat a large flat iron plate to cook flat bread (tacos and such) and can be used as a grill or even home heater – BUT all fire-fumes are dangerous – especially the ones you can’t see.
      Best wishes and best of luck.

      Reply
    • Thanks – yes I’d seen this before and honestly if I’d access to a pile of sawdust/shavings I’d seriously consider buying the unit. Simply and brilliant.
      Thanks for reminding me.

      Peter

      Reply
  8. Hi been looking into this a bit lately and im wondering if anyone has had any ideas on or thoughts on the possible addition of ground charcoal to the mix. Also im wondering about using a slightly runnier paste like consistancy and then extruding it from a thinner pipe like pasta and then cutting it into small chunks as its extruded so make charcoal brickette replacements

    Reply
    • also any theories about how to streamline the process would be good

      Reply
      • This will streamline things if you’ve a source of wood chips/shavings.
        As to streamlining the paper-pulp – I used to have the unit close to where we park the car and could make 5 – 7 while awaiting ‘herself’. I have an old rack from a garage that is protected from the rain – but is in the wind. Dries them well.
        Another tip is to stack a few in the glasshouse in summer – they will (slowly) dry and keep the moisture levels up for the benefit of the plants.
        Peter

    • Very quick reply – I’d use ground charcoal in the earth I’d use for growing things – Terra Preta or biochar is fantastic at sequestering CO2 and adding a magic quality to the earth and was possibly how the S.American peoples were able to grow vast quantities of food in limited areas. Check out either term.
      I love the idea of using wood-chip with the paper but i find it gets all very brittle.
      I haven’t studied your essay yet but intend to and – I will be back!!
      Thanks
      Peter

      Reply
  9. Jimmy McConnell

    What would happen if you soaked the paper and sawdust mixture in green diesel instead of water? Then when pressing it the green diesel would run into a bucket and could be used again. Just wondering if it would burn better.

    Reply
    • Don’t fancy wasting diesel – even dirty bottom-of-tank stuff. I’m trying to get away from using carbo hydrons. Period. Anyway it would take a massive press to squeeze out even ‘most’ of the diesel and I don’t believe the paper mulch steeped in diesel would bind as well as a water-based one.

      One could use a little waste vegetable oil to enhance the burning if one wanted a quick heat rather than the long-burn slow heat we want to have the stove warm in the morning.

      Reply
    • Not sure if I’ve answered You before – certainly the diesel-thing has come up – NO NO NO we don’t burn CO2 producing products. FINE.

      Reply
  10. if you were to drill a hole in the centre of your disc briquettes, you could stack them up say 4 high or higher, kept off the ground to allow air flow and light it from the centre hole at the bottom to create something similar to a rocket stove or sadust stove. this would be good for outdoor garden parties. a simple container can be made from metal, brick, concrete or whatever and stack it up with these holed brickets, light it and and it would burn for many hours without having to keep tending it and adding more wood to it like a fire pit or chiminea.

    Reply
    • That might well be possible.
      Burning paper-briquettes in an open fire style would mean they would they would burn very quickley and very ‘smokily’. I wouldn’t be too keen on it really. They are hand-pressed (OK I used my foot) and so not nearly as well pressed as say sawdust-briquettes. If one could find some way of machine-pressing the wet-paper and introduce a hole in it to help drying and eventual burning – yes I could see it work but the average paper-briquette I make (with some sawdust) is 350gms a sawdust-briquette (machine-made) is about 850gms. The mass involved means there is far more ‘bang for buck’ in combustion terms. In fiscal terms – as the hand-made on is free – it’s a no-brainer. But as I’ve pointed out in other correspondence they work best (by far) in stoves. At the end of the evening 2 in a stove will keep the heat in for hours and clean up any cinders and such in the stove. I’ve never ascertained the effect on the chimney for extra soot but I presume as they burn cleanly in a hot stove and chimbey that there would be no more than with wood.

      Reply
  11. If you can fit a 1″ plastic pipe with drainage holes in in the centre of your wooden disc and cut the plunger to suit then you can make these briquettes with holes in the centre and when they have holes in the centre briquettes burn better!

    Reply
  12. If you can fit a 1″ plastic pipe with drainage holes in in the centre of your wooden disc and cut the plunger to suit then you can make these briquettes with holes in the centre and when they have holes in the centre briquettes burn better!
    It also allows you to line them up on a horizontal bar/brush handle so they dry quicker but make sure you get them really dry for no smoke burning.

    Reply
  13. The seven easy steps one needs to follow when manufacturing the Briquette and this helps in making your Briquette more strong and maintains its strength as well as used as a source of energy.

    Reply
  14. By reading the above 7 steps which gives proper understanding of the Briquette manufacturing process and can manufacture it at home made and easy to use.

    Reply
  15. An interesting read. I am looking at using the shredding from the shredding side of my business and just wondered what your thoughts were on this. I am still doing research and seen a couple of tips but nobody seems to sell paper briquettes.

    Also, what do you mean by ‘closed stove’?? Would this be something like a log burner or a chiminea??

    Thanks

    Alex

    Reply

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