Creating sawdust

edited May 2013 in Miscellaneous
I thought this was about as miscellaneous as you could get so I posted accordingly. And no I'm not sanding or sawing.

I've been looking at some online photos as reference for sawmill machinery and as one might imagine they are all caked with sawdust. The photos below came from:

So my question became how do I get this look without overdoing it? I'm experimenting with weathering pigments and Rembrandt chalk. When I built the machinery I went with the no paint look. I like the look of the weathered metal and I was unsure of my ability to credibly paint and chip the machinery. So...

For the first experiment I used a brush to pile on some AK North Africa Dust pigments. I didn't brush at all just stacked it on. Then I used odorless mineral spirits to set the pigments by dipping my brush and touching to the casting allowing the spirits to flow onto the piece and saturate the pigments.

After seeing these photos I think the color is close but there is a noticeable lack of variety in the sizes of sawdust. My second experiment is still drying. I scraped a rembrandt chalk stick and did the same process as above. I will post a pic once dry. I think it will have better texture but the color I chose is too dark.

I tried this method because I have noticed that chalks set this way have a nice matte finish and are fairly easy to remove if necessary. I will also try a very fine sawdust from my sander but am worried that if I need to reduce/remove the sawdust there will be an ugly glue spot to deal with. Also the texture of the sawdust may be to coarse for the stuff that would cling to the sides of the machinery.imageimageimageimageimageimage


  • Here's the 2nd experiment. the first photo is using Rembrandt chalks. It gives a rougher texture but I prefer the way the weathering pigments pile up on the casting.

    The next is real sawdust. I like the texture but once again like the piling of the powders.

    I'm also working on piles of rough sawdust. the piles here were created by brushing stripwood. One pile is untreated and one has the AK powders added. they were secured by saturating with mineral spirits and given a shot of Dulcote. To use matte medium meant saturating with water and that really compacted the piles of sawdust.

    I think the next experiment has good potential. I will use my rotary sander with a 220 grit paper to sand a sheet of scribed wood I have laying around. It should produce dust of the same color as the untreated brushings here. I'll mix them with the powders. This should give me slightly more texture than the powders alone and give the piling effect.imageimageimageimage
  • Dang it to heck, you can always spot when an N scale modeler moves to O scale.... every speck of dust has to be perfectly placed.
    I guess an O scale sawdust pile is about as big as an N scale person so the detail perspective carries through.....

    Beautiful work Bryan, the sawdust looks to have accumulated very realistically in the machinery, this is going to be VERY interesting to follow your further experiments as I am also currently working on a sawmill.

    Keep us up to date!!

  • Wow really cool and imaginative idea! The dust piles look like the ones that accumulate on the trunions of my table saw.
    Can't wait to see how this looks on your build.
  • I agree with all WOW another great addition
    to my recipe book!
  • Thanks all. Looks like I am ready to take the plunge and try this on a piece of sawmill machinery. I tried some variations of the pics above but found that for the finest dust that would accumulate in the nooks and crannies the powder looks the best. Lower down on the machinery, the powder with a bit of sawdust added in looks best and for the floor, the sawdust with a bit of powder looks best.

    I did make sure that this stuff came off of the castings with no on to the machinery. Worst case scenario is it will look terrible and won't come off and I need a new model to build.
  • Here's the result of my first trial on a piece of machinery. So far so good. After trying many different woods and techniques to make sawdust I finally settled on straight powder for fine dust and for the texture I used a very stiff brush on basswood. It gives a mixture of fine dust, fluffy stuff and some splinters. I mixed with the powder to get it the same color. This will be my recipe going forward with the rest of the machinery and the sawmill. I'm going to add another layer of the powder to the horizontal pieces to pile it up just a little. I'm also adding some grease/oil stains to the sawdust around the moving parts.

    Once you get super close ups on these photos you start to see all kinds of little things that can drive you crazy. Like the crooked nut on the top blade and the not-so-straight belt on the back.

    Speaking of the sawmill, I'm glad to hear you are working on one Karl. That must mean that the rest of us will be working on one soon. imageimage
  • edited May 2013
    Yep, that crooked nut on the top blade is really getting to me Bryan...... everything else really is looking fantastic though, awesome as usual.
    just that one nut.... ha.

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