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Thread: What do you do with scrap wood?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Metro West MA

    What do you do with scrap wood?

    So the first real big project I'm taking on in our new house is to build a set of cabinets in my garage. With all the $$ spent on decent plywood, I haven't brought myself to throwing away any scraps larger than about 3" square, figuring I could at least use them for clamping or stop blocks.

    But I was wondering if anybody has come up with clever things they do with their pieces of scrap wood?


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Clamp cauls, backer blocks, setup test blocks, etc. for the little stuff. Once they've had 2 or 3 re-uses I cast them off. For larger pieces (up to 2 feet) I have bins built under the outfeed table.

    For items larger than that (2 to 4 feet) I have a cutoff bin. Items larger than that go on the lumber rack.
    Last edited by glenn bradley; 01-26-2008 at 11:15 AM.
    “If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.” -- George Orwell

    Money is simply the marker used as tools move thru the galaxy to their best-use destination. - Kent Bathurst

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    St. Louis
    Store them till I turn them
    Where did I put that tape measure...

  4. #4
    Mine get smaller and smaller, then too small. So they go to the woodstove.

  5. #5
    What is scrap wood, I plan my projects so well there is no scrap...

    I just keep making smaller and smaller things until there is no scrap.

    Really I keep a bucket of small stuff and then have a little rack I made for the larger ones. I use them for test cuts, backer boards, parts for jigs. After I get though using them for test cuts there is not much left so it goes in the trash.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Blog Entries
    Pile it up in boxes everywhere. Luckily i have very little scraps.
    What you listen to is your business....what you hear is ours.

  7. #7

    Scrap wood ideas

    I'm one of those people that saves everything, so hopefully I can help.

    Have four main areas for storing scrap:
    Under the planer for stuff that is not planed to dimension
    Under the Miter Saw for the dimensioned long stuff that's up to 3' long
    On a shelf dedicated to short, blocky scrap stuff
    In a small drawer under the miter saw for storing the small but dimensioned stuff

    - I Use long scraps 1.5" wide and over for picture frames
    - small blocky pieces for drawer pulls (either bandsawn or turned)
    - junk wood with knots etc can still be good for test cuts with a router
    - If you have a bunch of dimensioned pieces you can glue them up and turn the resulting block (haven't done this yet) to make neat designs of alternating colored wood.
    - Practicing dovetail cutting works with a lot of stuff you wouldn't use otherwise.
    - Scrap 1/2 plywood makes great sticker material.
    - Scrap good hardwood (long, thin) ply makes great spacers for various parts of assembly.
    - Short plywood chunks are good for elevating projects off the table for finishing (so you can do a whole assembly all at once and only have four small marks on the bottom where it was resting while drying)
    - anything of a square/rectangular shape gets earmarked for the lathe
    - Really thin hardwood strips are great for plywood edging

    I figure I re-use about 80% of the stuff that some would throw away as junk, thereby saving myself sometimes using good wood for a junk task. The other 20% I put into a bucket and use for good coal generating kindling.

    Hope that helps,

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    east coast of florida
    I save scrap pieces of plywood to test dados. That way you can ensure a tight fit. They also come in handy as large shims.
    I just can't make myself through away much of that nice plywood either.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    South Florida
    Testing dadoes, rabbets, router depth, grooves, bevel angles, and saw blade alignment tests.....

    #1 of course, boxmaking


  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Southern California
    Testing fit mostly, clamping, alignment. I tore a bunch of old 2x4 built benches out of my garage recently. I cut them all up to about 18" in length, rolled my fire pit out to the grass next to the driveway and burned them over three nights. My kids absolutely loved it, they had a blast roasting hot dogs and marshmallows. Not so sure the neighbors were digging it, but they all pretty much have sticks up their collective butts.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    McDonough, GA (near Atlanta)

    Scrap Wood

    There is no such thing as scrap wood if you have a scroll saw. Even the smallest piece can be included in an intarsia project.

  12. #12
    Jack Briggs
    Briggs Guitars

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Stephenville, TX
    This subject comes up occasianally. Below is the reply I made to the question from before....I just copied and pasted from before as I haven't changed my opinion. If it's a very expensive wood or highly figured, etc I would be more inclined to save it.


    I toss 'em......or at least try to make myself toss them. They pile up and get in the way. Well, I sez, I can use that. By the time I need "that" one of several things happens. The wood has aged and discolored enough or is different enough to start with that it can't be used, I can't find it, or I forget I have it and cut another piece, or the cutoff I find is a half inch too short or a quarter inch too narrow. Etc, etc.

    I have a friend who got a brilliant idea to buy some large plastic tubs at Wal-Mart and organize by size or species so he'd know what was where. He did that three or four years ago and the tubs are taking up shop space and haven't been opened yet (his admission).

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Its sort of like saving bolts, you seldom have what you need anyway. I use any scraps shorter than 12" long in the wood burner. At least its heat.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Placitas, NM in the foothills of the Sandia Mountain.
    You can never have enough stickers.

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