Crazy Stuff Stumpy Thinks About #16: Don't lie... YOU HAVE TOO MUCH WOOD!

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Blog entry by StumpyNubs posted 03-27-2012 01:01 PM 6384 reads 0 times favorited 21 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 15: How often do you rearrange your shop? Part 16 of Crazy Stuff Stumpy Thinks About series Part 17: Some people just ain't too sharp! »

Ask any woodworker if they have too much wood, and they will give a resounding NO! You can never have too much wood! But they would be lying…

Take a look around your workshop. Go ahead, I’ll wait while you’re gone. I need to go get another cup of coffee anyway…

Back already? I bet you didn’t even go check because you know I am telling the truth. Your shop is just like mine. It has more wood in it than a bonfire at Woodstock. The problem is, it’s mostly scrap! I know, “there’s no such thing as scrap wood”. But there comes a point when we have to call it what it is! Those half inch wide strips of pine, those three inch long pieces of oak, that splinter of cherry that you can’t bring yourself to throw away… you know what I’m talking about, and you’re just as ashamed as I am.

There is a fine line between cuttoff and clutter. A few short pieces of hardwood = cuttoffs. A pile of foot long 2X4’s with nails in them = clutter. Do you have plastic bins full of tiny pieces of wood? I have one for oak, one for maple, one for walnut, even one for pine. Actually, I have more than one for each. Do you really think I will ever turn those little pieces into a bunch of cutting boards someday? And what about that stack of broken particle board pieces? I have a bundle of 1/8” thick strips I ripped of the edges of 2X4 fir to remove make 2X3’s. Why am I saving those?

It gets worse. In the basement is a pile of OSB chunks in small sizes and odd shapes. There is a stack of that fake wood trim I ripped out of my house when I bought it because it was junk… so why can’t I throw it away?

Every woodworker is a wood hoarder. It’s just a matter of what level you find yourself at. And believe me, if you have a small problem now, you will have a big problem later because it is a viscous cycle that never ends. Get help while you still can! It’s time to either make something from those scraps or throw them out. The bottom line is, stop the madness before it takes over the entire shop!

Or, if you like madness, check out the greatest woodworking show since the invention of wood: A new episode of Blue Collar Woodworking is now online!

And help support the show by visiting the Stumpy Store for project plans!

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21 comments so far

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

9231 posts in 2969 days

#1 posted 03-27-2012 01:09 PM

Keith and I have this discussion all the time. With us, however, there are so many small projects that we do that ev everything we have is considered ‘valuable’. Especially the small exotic pieces. I suppose where you are setting the bar as far as ‘hoarders’ go. I used to be the biggest offender here, until Keith took up pen making. That surely got me off the hook! ;)

Hoard on my friends, hoard on!

Remember . . . Today’s garbage is tomorrow’s “treasure” (I just made that up!)


-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs ( Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"

View StumpyNubs's profile


7609 posts in 2850 days

#2 posted 03-27-2012 01:12 PM

Perfect, pen making is another excuse to save even the smallest scraps! As if I needed another one! Do people make pine pens…

-- Subscribe to "Stumpy Nubs Woodworking Journal"- One of the crafts' most unique publications:

View gavinzagreb's profile


210 posts in 2369 days

#3 posted 03-27-2012 01:20 PM

I know what you’re saying, I keep all my scraps until I need some for a BBQ. I actually don’t have enough usable wood though. Time to go out scavenging again.
I get a lot of oak mill ends for free and I’m planning on slicing them up and sticking them to some of the old particle board I collect to make panels like this

and then use those panels to make interesting looking furniture that has excellent dust gathering properties.
People who like contemporary designer furniture don’t seem to mind about that kind of stuff.(guess they have cleaners)

View Ben's profile


302 posts in 2380 days

#4 posted 03-27-2012 01:23 PM

I have a lot of small parts and pieces, but I also have almost no “new” wood in my shop. I work with architectural antiques and I save everything. Sometimes I need to patch a deadbolt hole in a door or find a matching mahogany molding or repair a broken corner on something… etc. I dont get too crazy, but I do have a lot of smalls. Havent got so far as organizing by wood types, but that isn’t too far off

-- Welcome to downtown Coolsville, Population: US! --Hogarth Hughes

View HalDougherty's profile


1820 posts in 3286 days

#5 posted 03-27-2012 01:42 PM

LOL, I have a sawmill… So, yes I have wood I don’t need or can’t use, or can’t sell for one reason or another. Some of it I can’t even give away. That’s what my burn barrel is for. Yesterday I sawed some lumber and after slabbing out the cant to cut lumber from, I edged the wide slabs that were full length to make into boards, and cut the junk off the boards that tapered to nothing and kept the parts I could use make furniture. I’ve sold all the full length boards and I’ve stacked up the short stuff for my use. The bark covered slabs would make great firewood, but everybody that has said they want them, hasn’t ever picked up a single slab. So, back to the burn barrel. Anybody want a pile of sawdust? My bandsaw doesn’t produce chips like a circle sawmill, it makes dust that looks a lot like beach sand. And burns about as quick… I’m running out of holes to fill up with it.

-- Hal, Tennessee

View Bluepine38's profile


3379 posts in 3135 days

#6 posted 03-27-2012 01:52 PM

No real good excuses, just a lot of small pieces of wood, some medium sized and some bigger cants from
my bandsaw drying in the shed. But I used a couple to make holddown knobs for my half circle jig that
I am going to post as soon as I figure how to get the pictures squared away. Keep having fun in the
shop and now that the garbage people gave me a large sized container, I may get some of the stuff
thrown out.

-- As ever, Gus-the 79 yr young apprentice carpenter

View wooded's profile


365 posts in 2321 days

#7 posted 03-27-2012 02:09 PM

It might be fun to take all your small scraps and glue them together edge to edge then start milling the down with a planer then a drum sander into a sheet then make a box and save the scraps, then glue…...............or maybe not.;-J

-- Joe in Pueblo West, Colo.

View DamnYankee's profile


3301 posts in 2611 days

#8 posted 03-27-2012 02:38 PM

I have reduced this issue in my shop (not elimiated…reduced). I have two of those plastic tubs you see at parties filled with ice and holding beer (at least that’s how they commonly get used here) that I throw my cut-offs and scraps into. Whenever we have a fire in our backyard fire pit, we use this wood “to get it started” (frequently there is so much we burn just it all evening…you’d be amazed at how much wood will fit into one of those tubs!). This way I usually have plenty of scrap around to fix/mend/accentuate with but not so much I can’t use my shop for tripping over it. I have to admit though that some of my higher priced hardwood scraps do not make it into the tubs (ie walnut lately). The scarp has to be not much more than a shaving for those to go in. Most of my cut-offs/scrap is pine or poplar, followed by some maple.

-- Shameless - Winner of two Stumpy Nubs Awards

View dbhost's profile


5736 posts in 3281 days

#9 posted 03-27-2012 02:38 PM

Hardwood scraps go in the BBQ, softwoods go to the burn pile, sadly that burn pile is no longer. The friend that was clearing land is done, so he might come up with a burn pile once a year or so now… Too long to wait. Maybe I need an excuse to take a couple of 55 gallon drums of cutoffs on a camping trip with me never to return…

-- Please like and subscribe to my YouTube Channel

View Craftsman on the lake's profile

Craftsman on the lake

2796 posts in 3487 days

#10 posted 03-27-2012 03:52 PM

I know what you mean. At first you can’t get rid of it then later on as you build up a lifetime supply of scraps you begin to realize that you shouldn’t keep more scraps than you have lifespan to use them.

I made a sad and interesting scrap wood story that I posted in a forum topic a short while ago.

-- The smell of wood, coffee in the cup, the wife let's me do my thing, the lake is peaceful.

View Tom Regnier's profile

Tom Regnier

186 posts in 2596 days

#11 posted 03-27-2012 04:10 PM


View DocSavage45's profile


8635 posts in 2892 days

#12 posted 03-27-2012 04:27 PM

Every year I say “got to get rid of that.” Then wonder why it is so hard to get aroud to make things. It’s buried alive! I envy Hal, cause his crap scrap is probably 10 times as pretty? More is just more. Was going to toss it, and “the city didn’t renew the trash compay’s contract!” 20 dollars a pickup load is different than 180 dollars plus deposit for a dumpster.

Oh yeah we have had draught here in MN so no burning. Really!

Anothe gem Stumpy!

-- Cau Haus Designs, Thomas J. Tieffenbacher

View greg48's profile


604 posts in 2807 days

#13 posted 03-27-2012 07:31 PM

I confess Stumpy, I have a small problem myself. However, I have a small shop so it becomes a large problem quickly. I wonder if there is a 12 step program for us??

-- Greg, No. Cal. - "Gaudete in Domino Semper"

View ArtistryinWood's profile


107 posts in 3737 days

#14 posted 03-27-2012 11:44 PM

You could always make some of these

Or these

I’m making lots of these
So there :-P

-- It seem's to me i could live my life, a lot better than i think i am. Andrew, Midland, Ont.

View Rob_n_Wood's profile


109 posts in 3398 days

#15 posted 03-28-2012 04:49 AM

Stumpy how come the things you ponder are the very thoughts we are having are your reading our minds
It seems the more I throw out the more there is. I tried to trick the wood pile once and not throw anything
out, that only made things worse. I think I need professional help or least a good bon Fire

-- "I predict future happiness for Americans if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them." Thomas Jefferson

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