This project started with a desire to do the ‘best’ with any given material.
Through talking with wood recycling companies I began to appreciate the limitations of commercial wood recycling and experimented with wood waste that was being disposed of in ways that released otherwise captive carbon dioxide.
Initial experiments took the form of combining wood shavings with pine rosin, in a variety of ways, to produce decorative forms.
Decorative was interesting but functionality is what will help to provide viability to the process and the resulting material.
I engaged with local CNC workshops and the local council, learning that their CNC sawdust is collected and incinerated. Using this sawdust, I developed the process and recipe with the aim of creating a material that can be used for CNC again.
Complications arose with the pine rosin content causing the material to melt rather than cut, clogging the tool head. This led to many variations of ingredient amounts to find the right numbers to produce a machinable material.
The project, process and recipe still requires considerable development – suggestions and advice are gladly received.
My main consideration now is balancing the need to refine the process to increase consistency, against not introducing excessive complexity and thereby undermining the ability for anyone, anywhere to reproduce the material.
Another, is whether this all equates to doing the ‘best’ with the material? Certainly, sawdust being burnt and releasing carbon dioxide is bad, and trying to find a use that prolongs that carbon remaining captured is good. But the recipe requires additional ingredients and their production and transportation enacts further environmental harm. Do these cancel out? Is this a case where actually to be inactive is the better way to be?
The equation is maybe infinitely complex, with both environmental and social considerations, and the answer may never be a definitive ‘good’ or ‘bad’, but I intend on continuing to ask “what is best?”