Handling and Disposing of Wood Chips

Moulding manufacturers discuss the mechanical and social engineering details of recycling wood waste. February 6, 2007

I would like to know how other moulding manufacturers handle removal of wood chips. We have to transport about 15 cubic yards per day. We presently use dump trailers and a horse farmer takes it. The problem is coordination of the pickup schedule. Does anyone know of any bailing/crushing system that is not too manual?

Forum Responses
(Architectural Woodworking Forum)
From contributor D:
We contracted with a fellow that collected the shavings and sold them to horse farmers in the area ($115.00 for a stake truck load, delivered). We let him have the shavings as long as he kept us cleaned out - we did not have to stop or deal with the shavings in any way.

Problems arose since his cocktail hour started at about 8:00 am, and there were days when he wouldn't show, and we would risk a backup (shut down and shovel for about 1-1/2 hours). The problem was solved by installing a large silo - 10' diameter x 18' high - with a Flying Dutchman inside to knock down bridging shavings, and an auger to unload. This worked well until he left the Dutchman running as he drove away. A bearing burned up, sent smoke to the smoke detectors and we had a big response to almost no fire. We put the Dutchman/auger on a key switch and a timer so it would run for no more than 15 minutes.

Sidebar: When the fire happened, I contacted the other two shops that this guy hauled for and warned them, and explained our solution. The "big guy" laughed and said that could never happen. 3 months later, the manual switch on the shaker grate was left on, a bearing overheated, and their whole dust collection system went up.

From contributor L:
We tried having a horse operator pull the trailer when full, but they weren't reliable. Currently we pull the dump trailer to the barns for a small fee ($60/load), and it's a pain. I'd like to find a better system. We don't generate enough to operate a pellet system. Any good ideas?

From contributor G:

How much wood chips/dust do you need to generate to justify a pelleting machine?

From contributor B:
We blow the chips into a 45 foot trailer with a return loop. Holds about 100 cubic yards. We pay 150 per month for the trailer rental and 150 per pick up. The company that picks up the chips makes pellets. If we were closer, they would pay us for the chips, but it is a full day trip for the trucker to come to us.

From contributor J:
I don't generate enough for a trailer, but my wood supplier has a similar setup as contributor B. A company picks up the trailer and pays them $150 for it. Can't beat that - get paid for your waste. I would at least look into it.

From the original questioner:
Thank you for the responses. We are in Florida, so I know of no pellet needs or manufacturers. Does anyone use a dump truck?

From contributor J:
One of the old mills I used to work for sold theirs to the regional meat butcher for their floors about fifty years ago. Not really up to FDA standards now. So much for my utterly useless contribution of the day.

From contributor K:
FYI, walnut shavings kill horses.

Contributor D, please explain how your Flying Dutchman actually works.

From contributor D:
Walnut does cause a hoof condition that can cause horses to go lame/be destroyed. We had an agreement with our shavings hauler to clean out the bin before we ran walnut, then we'd run it, he'd clean it out again and landfill, then we'd run our normal products. It was rare we would run walnut, so this was not a big problem.

The silo is a grain silo, and the Flying Dutchman (brand name) is a center mounted revolving pole with chains hanging off of it. The motor hangs below the pole, outside of the conical floor of the silo. A grain auger - 8" in our case - also feeds from the bottom of the conical floor. When the Dutchman was turned on, it would revolve (about 60 rpm) and knock down the shavings that would bridge and stop flow down to the auger. It all worked fine, but was a sizeable investment. We never saw shavings or had to deal with them as a result. This is all farm tech, since we are located in the middle of the Corn Belt.