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SCRAPS! SCRAPS! and MORE SCRAPS!

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Blog entry by Bruce posted 04-06-2008 03:53 PM 843 reads 0 times favorited 9 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I am, however slowly it might be, coming to the realization that I make wood scraps. I know, you are probably thinking, “So what, we all do.” Well, that’s just my point. I make mostly wood scraps. Thinking of all the projects I’ve built there are more wood scraps than actual projects. I know I’ve disposed of 5 or 6 – 55 gal. trash cans full of wood scraps that I didn’t think I could possibly make anything out of. That’s a conservative estimate. There are 3 more overflowing, 55 gal. trash cans in my shop right now of stuff I THINK I can make something out of. I know a lot of you folks have disposed of, or may be harbouruing, aiding and abetting, your own share of scraps. So, I just wanted to clarify that I make wood scraps and, it seems as a by product, a project or two might grow out of the stuff I turn into scraps. It is not intentional that I make scraps. It is actually my intent to build the project. Just so I don’t get accused of being wasteful, I do try to get as much out of a piece of lumber as I can. This sometimes increases the time I spend on a project trying to figure out how to cut a board resulting in the least amount of waste. So maybe we, or at least I, should be called a scrapmaker instead of a woodworker. Maybe if I slide those trash cans around my workshop enough, the bottoms will wear through (being pastic) and I will be forced to dispose of them. Did I mention I have a woodburning fireplace? Oh, that reminds me, there are two large cardboard boxes full of “kindling” next to the fireplace. I guess I am writing this to force myself to think about what to do with the pieces I think I can make sopmething out of. Hmmmmm…....

-- I think of Jack Nicholson as the Joker in Batman when he says "Where does he get those wonderful toys" and ask WHERE DO U GUYS GET ALL THAT WONDERFUL WOOD?



9 comments so far

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27251 posts in 2459 days


#1 posted 04-06-2008 04:49 PM

Hi Bruce,

I think most of us tend to share this commonality. We simply don’t want to discard these seemingly insignificant pieces because “they are simply a project waiting to happen” but invariably we have trouble getting around to the project and end up with a stash of off cuts that becomes unmanageable. I don’t have a good answer but since I converted by fireplaces to gas I don’t have the option of burning them and I just can’t bring myself to toss them.

But, I have successfully defended them from the sometimes misplaced sense of order that my wife has. She simply sees them as (GASP) trash and would toss them in a heartbeat if I didn’t vigilantly guard them.

Maybe I could rent her out to you and other woodworkers who have the same problem with trying to get a handle on their off cuts. But, of course, you would have to give her free reign to take over cleaning the shop. I guarantee you it would be neat but you couldn’t get to anything. (I know from experience) :)

Good luck and if you come up with a solution let me know.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View Dan Pleska's profile

Dan Pleska

138 posts in 2598 days


#2 posted 04-06-2008 05:24 PM

Hi Bruce,

I share your pain. I think that all woodworkers have a similar problem. I’ve figured how to get rid of most of my scraps. Since my 1 acre lot has a lot of trees that are constantly shedding limbs, I invested in a small DR Chipper. It will chip limbs up to about 3”, so my long scraps are added to my limb pile and end up as mulch. My short scraps are sometimes added (a little bit at a time) to the weekly trash. Since the trash is put in a small dumpster that is mechanically loaded at the edge of the road, one can get by with a little more. When I have more small scraps than the trash can handle, I take a couple of cans full to a friend that has a rural farm and we have a bonfire a make “Smores.” Having said that, I hope all of the LJ’s don’t ship me all of their scraps.

-- Dan, West Virginia, http://www.danpleskaCreations.com

View dennis mitchell's profile

dennis mitchell

3994 posts in 2952 days


#3 posted 04-06-2008 07:23 PM

One of these days I’m going to glue all my scraps together and build a butcher block building to store more scraps in.

View Blake's profile

Blake

3437 posts in 2512 days


#4 posted 04-06-2008 08:06 PM

Send them to me.

Actually a couple times a year I enjoy a very expensive and “exotic” bonfire with my scraps. Brings back memories of projects (or lessons learned from failed projects) as I through each piece into the fire.

-- Happy woodworking! http://www.openarmsphotography.com

View tenontim's profile

tenontim

2131 posts in 2382 days


#5 posted 04-06-2008 08:21 PM

Right on, Dennis. I figure 20% over for all projects, so I have scraps. Right now we have a burn ban, but I usually burn a 55 gallon barrel full at least once a month. I keep all the larger scraps, thinking I’ll do something with them. When they get in the way, out they go. The only thing worse than the scraps, is all of the sawdust that I have to dispose of.

View Dadoo's profile

Dadoo

1764 posts in 2628 days


#6 posted 04-06-2008 09:12 PM

Hi, my name’s Dadoo and I’m a Scrap Monger. (sigh)

Actually I’ve hit my scrap bin a multitude of times for that small piece that would fit that certain project, but every summer, I take my scrapbin camping! Or in the case of large amounts of scrap…we have a bonfire! Bras and panties optional.

-- Bob Vila would be so proud of you!

View HallTree's profile

HallTree

5661 posts in 2405 days


#7 posted 04-07-2008 06:48 AM

Years ago I saw a photo, in a woodworking magazine, of a small workshop that was made from scrap 2×4’s stacked on top of each other.

-- "Hold on to instruction, do not let it go; guard it well, for it is your life" Solomon

View HallTree's profile

HallTree

5661 posts in 2405 days


#8 posted 04-07-2008 06:57 AM

Last Sept. I moved into a senior community that has a woodworking shop that is used by 10 or 12 guys. I started saving my scrap wood, some exotic woods, in a cardbard box. Yea, I know, your right, I should of put my name on it with a ‘Save’ sign. The box is now empty.

-- "Hold on to instruction, do not let it go; guard it well, for it is your life" Solomon

View Betsy's profile

Betsy

2914 posts in 2533 days


#9 posted 04-07-2008 03:04 PM

You can make miniature boxes with tiny scraps—- kind of a fun side hobby. You can also make small toys—-.

I must admit to having a hard time throwing wood away.

-- Like a bad penny, I keep coming back!

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