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Thread: What's in your scrap bin?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Boston, MA

    What's in your scrap bin?

    I started cleaning up the shop today to make space to start on the table I've posted in another thread. One corner of my small shop was cluttered up with small scraps I've accumulated over the years but never found a use for. I know for certain some of those scraps have been there for 5 years or more, but it still hurts to toss them in the trash.

    What do the rest of you do? What is the minimum size something has to be for you to hold onto it? I'm not talking the uber rare stuff like ebony or scraps from "the tree", but purple heart, walnut, etc. Will I really find a use for that 1/4"x1"x6" piece of purpleheart? What about that that 3"x12" piece of 1/2" maple plywood?

    So far, I haven't been able to throw any of it away. And occasionally the odd piece has come in useful. But it has gotten beyond what my small space can manage. I'd take it outside and burn it, but the last time I did that the neighbors called the fire department and I was told I needed a permit for a fire - even if it is in one of those fire pits you buy at the borg. Got to love city living sometimes.

    Measure with a micrometer, mark with chalk, cut with an axe.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    No, not all of SoCal is Los Angeles!
    We all have to make the tough decision at some point. I use the coin-collection approach . . . if I already have a better piece than the one I am considering, I keep the old piece. If the "new" piece is better I keep it and toss the old piece. I mean, how many 1/4" x 3/8" x 16" pieces of walnut do I really need!?!
    Last edited by glenn bradley; 01-06-2013 at 02:31 AM.
    Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
    - Arthur C. Clarke

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    The Gorge Area, Oregon
    Quote Originally Posted by glenn bradley View Post
    I mean, how many 1/4" x 3/8" x 16" pieces of walnut do I really need!?!
    Ooh I have a project in mind that would use about 30 of those

    Still slowly working through my pile of not-quite-junk... Eventually I'll either make it all into something or - due to ooppses - cut it all into pieces to small to save and off to the burn pile they go. Luckily I can run the outdoor firepit here w/o issue but also have a few friends with wood stoves who'll take more volume when I have it.

    Currently I'm down to 5? 6? bins near the front of the shop and then the stacks along the back wall so.. ok yeah I have a problem.. but have committed to NO MORE until the current piles are gone.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Floydada, Tx
    For me any peice under 1-1/2"W x 8"L goes into one of two places. If it is fancy wood it goes to a turner for pens and stuff. The rest goes into the wood stove.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Austin, Texas
    Do as I say, not as I do.

    I have a trash can with things I would throw out or give away - if I weren't so cheap. I have a huge scrap bin - which is rarely productive - I keep telling myself to reclaim the shop space. I have a separate 5 gallon bucket for each species, limited to the number of small pieces that fit in the bucket (I use the walnut bucket when I am working on a walnut project, etc.)

    When I am working on a customer's project, I have found I need to cut good wood, not spend hours searching the scrap bins for each piece, otherwise I never "get done on time." The wood color also matches better.

    When I am doing something for myself, the cheap comes out, and I scrounge the scrap bins. My wife complains that things for us take way too long.

    One more exception... Scraps of plywood rarely are useful in future projects, but I still keep them to make forms for curved pieces.
    Charlie Plesums, Austin Texas
    (Retired early to become a custom furnituremaker)
    Lots of my free advice at

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Between Aledo and Fort Worth, TX
    Unfortunately, most of my pile is OSB cutoffs from covering the inside of the shop! My hardwood cut offs, what little there are of them, usually reside on my multifunction wall cabinets. Some useful like the 4/4 X 5 X 60" piece of QSWO, some are not, like the two pieces of Ipe that are about 4/4 X 5/8 X 2. But I can't seem to throw them away. Jim.
    Coolmeadow Setters...
    Exclusively Irish!
    Home of Irish Setter Rescue of North Texas
    When Irish Eyes are smiling, they're usually up to something!!
    At a minimum, I'm Pentatoxic...but most likely, I'm a Pentaholic. There seems to be no known cure. Pentatonix, winners of The Sing Off, season 3

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Thomasville, GA
    When cherry, maple or oak cutoffs get too small to work for turning pens (future effort), they go into a box for use in my smoker.

    Walnut and mahogany go to the pen box until they're too small, then to the trash can.

    Exotics have a home here forever until what's left is chips and dust. I'm way too frugal (cheap?) to toss that stuff!
    Bill Arnold
    Citizen of Texas residing in Georgia.
    NRA Life Member
    Member of Mensa
    Live every day like it's your last, but don't forget to stop and smell the roses.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Mountain Home, Arkansas
    I save. My small shop is getting cluttered with all kinds of wood. I just can't bring myself to throw it away. Frequently, I'll dig into the pile and find just what I need for a project.
    I was recently given two segmented pieces that are curved and trying to figure out what to do with them. The non-creative/artistic me is stumped. BTW, they were given to me by Todd. Scrap from a project.
    "Folks is funny critters."

    Think for yourselves and let others enjoy the privilege to do so, too. ~Voltaire

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Alto Mi
    since 99% of my projects are made from dismantled pallets that were scrap in the first place i just burn small pcs in the camp fire pit
    Kevin Hough

    <Lathe work always turns out>

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Lakeport NY and/or the nearest hotel
    at the moment? lots of weird dimension skinny cut-offs from my cutting board blitz last month. All of which will be kindling for the spring campfire season.

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