The Most Exotic Bonfire Ever

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Blog entry by Blake posted 05-18-2010 09:07 PM 6677 reads 0 times favorited 17 comments Add to Favorites Watch

As a semi-anual tradition (on an as-needed basis) I clean out my shop and load my truck with the un-lucky wood scraps that don’t make the “cut”, and either take them camping or to the beach for a very exotic, very expensive bonfire.

So last week my wife and I camped for two nights at Pfieffer Big Sur along the coast of California. This is about 6 months worth of scraps awaiting there fate:


A partial list of whats in that pile:

Now I know what you are thinking: OH MY GOD WHAT ARE YOU THINKING!!! But I assure you that I individually analyzed each one of these scraps for project potential. Most of them were either so small I couldn’t even make a guitar pick out of them or checked/split beyond recognition, etc.

The truth is I just can’t keep everything or I won’t have space to work. I also rediscover the GOOD scraps whenever I clean out my shop like this. So its a win/win. And besides, Quilted Maple and Bee’s Wing mahogany makes a REALLY nice, warm campfire.

I have a rule that once I make the decision to get rid of a piece of wood, it can’t come back to my shop. Here is me breaking the rule in the background:


Practice dovetails about to meed destiny:



Hiking Big Sur

Big Sur is absolutely gorgeous, and its just a short drive down the coast from our home in Santa Cruz. I am basically just posting the following photos to show Todd Clippinger that he’s not the only one with a beautiful playground in his back yard.

This is me soaking the new wildland fire boots in order to break them in for fire season:


Rockin’ the Japan Woodworker t-shirt:


The coastline at Andrew Molera State Park after a short hike:


The views at Julia Pfieffer State Park:



It may not be Montana but its ok :)


-- Happy woodworking!

17 comments so far

View spaids's profile


699 posts in 3694 days

#1 posted 05-18-2010 09:20 PM

You cause me to have jealousy issues. I don’t like you for the next 5 minutes.

-- Wipe the blood stains from your blade before coming in.--

View spaids's profile


699 posts in 3694 days

#2 posted 05-18-2010 09:25 PM

We have fires in my in-laws fire pit with my scraps.

The best part is setting these on fire
Click for details

then we make screaming noises. ” OH OH MY ANTLERS I’M ON FIRE!! THE PAIN!! HELP ME!!”

Ok your 5 minutes starts NOW!

-- Wipe the blood stains from your blade before coming in.--

View Bill Akins's profile

Bill Akins

425 posts in 3699 days

#3 posted 05-18-2010 09:25 PM

Hey, your scraps look better than my scraps! I wind up taking mine to the inlaws for fireplace kindling.

-- Bill from Lithia Springs, GA I love the smell of sawdust in the morning.

View Dennisgrosen's profile


10880 posts in 3116 days

#4 posted 05-18-2010 09:42 PM

it make me cry to see such wood be burned
even thow it´s for the good corse of being
together with the loved one

niiice wife and thank´s for sharing the landscape with us
it´s looks great


View degoose's profile


7233 posts in 3355 days

#5 posted 05-18-2010 10:01 PM

You do what you have to do… I just did and I feel great… more room for more offcuts…

-- Don't drink and use power tools @

View RBWoodworker's profile


441 posts in 3353 days

#6 posted 05-18-2010 10:17 PM

I know how you feel..I cringe inside everytime I have to throw out what I started to do is put a plug cutter in my drillpress and make as many plugs I can get out of the scraps..then I have a wide selection of different colored plugs I can use to accent my projects

-- Randall Child

View bfaubion's profile


21 posts in 2975 days

#7 posted 05-18-2010 10:49 PM

Way to give Todd Clippinger some competition on the “most beautiful place to have a shop” front. Although, in his photos you can see his shop and the cliffs over the Yellowstone river at the same time. Thanks for opening the door with the “just a short drive” qualifier. Now you can count on me working some pictures of the Cascade Mountains into future posts.


View Gary's profile


9331 posts in 3433 days

#8 posted 05-18-2010 11:46 PM

Blake, I don’t know if RJ is looking in but he could show some great pictures from where he is north of you…(Weed) Last time I was in Santa Cruz was 1967….guess it’s changes some

-- Gary, DeKalb Texas only 4 miles from the mill

View Karson's profile


35121 posts in 4401 days

#9 posted 05-19-2010 12:24 AM

Good use of fireplace scraps.

I collect fireplace scraps. I just made 260 fender pieces 2” X 10” of Honduras mahogany that I picked up from a fire pit box at my wood supplier. And I got a lot leftover. I’m guessing that it’s about 100 BD Ft of mahogany that I scarfed.

Not big enough for a door or window, but big enough for kids toys.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware soon moving to Virginia †

View DocK16's profile


1184 posts in 4088 days

#10 posted 05-19-2010 12:37 AM

Didn’t anyone ever teach you the burning wood goes under the pot; the applebutter goes in the pot.

-- Common sense is so rare anymore when you do see it, it looks like pure genius.

View Hacksaw007's profile


613 posts in 3190 days

#11 posted 05-19-2010 12:45 AM

Don’t let Scrappy see this…..

-- For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. John 3:16

View a1Jim's profile


117095 posts in 3578 days

#12 posted 05-19-2010 02:46 AM

You and larry can start a fire starter company

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View Beginningwoodworker's profile


13345 posts in 3674 days

#13 posted 05-19-2010 03:19 AM

Great use of scraps.

View poroskywood's profile


618 posts in 3365 days

#14 posted 05-19-2010 03:20 AM

Blake, We have so much Curly Maple fall offs we use it for camp fire and kindling all the time. Nice place to live.

-- There's many a slip betwixt a cup and a lip.--Scott

View reggiek's profile


2240 posts in 3271 days

#15 posted 05-19-2010 03:21 AM

I get instant gratification on my scraps as I burn them in my shop for heat. It also erases a bonehead mistake quickly so no one sees them….I can say…with a straight face….that every project in my shop is perfect….lol.

-- Woodworking.....My small slice of heaven!

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