All Replies on What is the shortest cutoff you save?

  • Advertise with us
View CryptKeeper's profile

What is the shortest cutoff you save?

by CryptKeeper
posted 07-14-2010 11:33 PM

26 replies so far

View richgreer's profile


4541 posts in 3075 days

#1 posted 07-14-2010 11:41 PM

My cutoffs tend to accumulate. Eventually I have a lot more cutoffs than I will ever need. At that point I start culling out the shorter cutoffs until the pile is down to a manageable size. That means that my criteria changes depending on how much I need to get rid of.

My criteria also varies by the type of wood. I only keep large pieces of pine and plywood. My criteria for domestic hardwoods is not as strict and I keep virtually every scrap of expensive exotics. They can always be used as a small accent piece.

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

View Kindlingmaker's profile


2656 posts in 3527 days

#2 posted 07-14-2010 11:46 PM

Everything can be used for something, sometime… just got to have the space and organization!
(I don’t have either but still save everything anyway.)

-- Never board, always knotty, lots of growth rings

View Gregn's profile


1642 posts in 2984 days

#3 posted 07-14-2010 11:51 PM

I keep about all my cutoffs. The scrap barrels are free for the kids to use and you never know when you need a small piece for a glue block or something. But every once in a while you have to burn some of it cause it adds up fast.

-- I don't make mistakes, I have great learning lessons, Greg

View CryptKeeper's profile


132 posts in 2951 days

#4 posted 07-14-2010 11:56 PM

To this point it seems like I keep everything and every time I think about getting rid of some I end-up apologizing to a piece. If it is for nothing other than raising something off of the work bench.

-- Ron - Any day that I don't learn something new is a wasted day.

View Tim_456's profile


170 posts in 3596 days

#5 posted 07-15-2010 12:25 AM

I have two cut off piles. The first is the set of cut offs that are of significant size and/or wood quality to keep them around. The second pile is the cut offs that I know probably will never get used but I just don’t have the heart to toss ‘em. That’s the pile that the kids know they can steal from when making their own projects with their handsaws and glue.

View Sawdust2's profile


1466 posts in 4088 days

#6 posted 07-15-2010 12:37 AM

If it is as small as 2.5” I can make a pen out of it.
96 the small plywood.

-- No piece is cut too short. It was meant for a smaller project.

View tyskkvinna's profile


1310 posts in 2986 days

#7 posted 07-15-2010 01:01 AM

If it’s less than 6×12” and plywood/osb/mdf, I toss it.

If it’s hardwood, I won’t chuck it till it’s less than 1 square inch. And then sometimes it’s up to whether or not it’s “usable”. I’m a horrible example because of what I make. Miniatures use so much less wood than big things.

-- Lis - Michigan - -

View buckeyedudes's profile


155 posts in 3128 days

#8 posted 07-15-2010 03:45 AM

I don’t have any problem with accumulating any cut-offs in my workshop…....

P.S. Any one want to buy some? ; )

-- Before you louse it up, THIMK!

View eccentrictinkerer's profile


38 posts in 3029 days

#9 posted 07-15-2010 04:09 AM

Years ago, there was a tip in Popular Mechanics that suggested placing a good sized box next to your saw and throwing all your scrap into it.

When the box is full, burn it and start another box!

That being said, I keep everything! I’m overdue for a shop cleanup and hope to get rid of a bunch of stuff. The grandkids get first dibs and then it’s into the neighbor’s burn-pit. (I hope).

View Tim Dahn's profile

Tim Dahn

1567 posts in 3566 days

#10 posted 07-15-2010 04:11 AM

I save it all until we have a camp fire the back yard, the plywood and mdf get tossed in first. I try to save the hardwoods.

-- Good judgement comes from experience and experience comes from poor judgement.

View TheWoodsmith's profile


108 posts in 2921 days

#11 posted 07-15-2010 04:12 AM

if the piece is shorter than it is wide it hits the scrap heap for me. anything else still resembles a mini board and i cant let it go!

-- I know its around here somewhere...

View jusfine's profile


2422 posts in 2926 days

#12 posted 07-15-2010 04:22 AM

Recently gave away boxes to a neighbour woodworker, probably 3 of them 2’x2’x1.5’ with oak, walnut, cherry, maple, exotics, etc. and have some packaged up for another woodworker (just haven’t made it to the city to mail) who uses tiny pieces.

I used your ideas last time I asked, and laminated a top for one of my storage cabinets with strips of walnut, ash and oak.

Anything shorter than 10’ and less than 1” thick is generally not used in my shop, but with exotics, I also save short pieces for pens.

A millwork shop that has used some of my bigger equipment over the years throws out (burns) ash, oak and cherry often 24 or 30” long, 8” wide and 1-4” thick. That’s a waste!

I try to stop in and buy a pile for a few bucks, but usually am a day late…

-- Randy "You are judged as much by the questions you ask as the answers you give..."

View CryptKeeper's profile


132 posts in 2951 days

#13 posted 07-15-2010 04:25 AM

I didn’t really think about turning I have never tried my hand at it but wife has been pestering me for lathe. I think I’ll scrap most of the plywood and get her a mini-lathe and let her have some fun.

Thanks to everyone,

-- Ron - Any day that I don't learn something new is a wasted day.

View spclPatrolGroup's profile


233 posts in 2895 days

#14 posted 07-15-2010 05:18 PM

I save everything, assuming it’s not pine. Sometimes if I get bored I go out to the garage and experiment with finishes, then if it turns out well, I write on the back what I did, I have little blocks like this scattered everywhere. I refer to my scrap bin as the “box of shame” as I can dig through it and find pieces I complexly screwed up on.

View Tim_456's profile


170 posts in 3596 days

#15 posted 07-15-2010 11:02 PM

It looks like several people burn their plywood scraps. Is that something that is environmentally sound given the glues and things that are included in the plywood?

View TJ65's profile


1378 posts in 3050 days

#16 posted 07-16-2010 11:40 AM

You know, I really dont know the minimum size I keep but they are really small – off cuts from scrollsawing. Only proper wood nothing of MDF etc. I am planning to use them one day… thinking of making earings or something. Haven’t really got around to it yet tho!!!!!!!! :-)

-- Theresa,

View Sarit's profile


549 posts in 3140 days

#17 posted 07-16-2010 01:32 PM

1/16”—I use them as shims.

View Triumph1's profile


890 posts in 3080 days

#18 posted 07-16-2010 02:15 PM

I keep them all until they are sawdust. You never know when you will need a 1/2” x 1/2” X 1” piece of rosewood:-)

-- Jeff , Wisconsin Please...can I stay in the basement a little longer, please!

View Gregn's profile


1642 posts in 2984 days

#19 posted 07-16-2010 04:48 PM

Theresa, I’ll bet you have some interesting pieces for making necklaces as well.

-- I don't make mistakes, I have great learning lessons, Greg

View Rick  Dennington's profile

Rick Dennington

5864 posts in 3195 days

#20 posted 07-16-2010 08:31 PM

Greetings Cryptkeeper,

I don’t save any of my cut-offs…..... especially if the pockets are hanging out….that looks ugly…..

-- " At my age, happy hour is a crap and a nap".....

View dmoore's profile


177 posts in 3314 days

#21 posted 07-19-2010 08:20 AM

I want to toss everything but tend to keep it all I just cant toss a good piece of wood.

-- Duane, Ohio

View CryptKeeper's profile


132 posts in 2951 days

#22 posted 07-19-2010 09:16 PM

I’m still laughing!

Have a great one,

-- Ron - Any day that I don't learn something new is a wasted day.

View Jim's profile


54 posts in 3254 days

#23 posted 07-19-2010 11:34 PM

For solid wood, if it’s wood worthy of turning into a pen (figured or expensive), I’ll usually just slice up anything less that 12” into pen blanks, otherwise it’s kindling. 24” or longer I save, between 12 & 24 depends on if I can envision a future project (small box, bandsaw box, etc).

For plywood, I pitch any ply with end grain less that about 18”. I also pitch ply less than 5” in width (with grain).


-- Jim, Now in Nashville, TN

View NateX's profile


98 posts in 2997 days

#24 posted 07-20-2010 01:51 AM

Don’t waste the hardwood, I save the cut outs from dovetails and tiny slivers of wood for the smoker!

View rance's profile


4258 posts in 3161 days

#25 posted 07-20-2010 03:12 AM

I have a buddy that gives me his offcuts from time to time. It is very much appreciated. I have come to the point(mentally) that I’m able to throw away pine scraps less than 6” long, plywood less than 4”, but exotics I keep down to 2” long. I don’t build many large cabinets, just mostly small boxes & such.

If you think you need to burn some, may I suggest you box them up and find someone who’ll put them to good use? Many kids and some adults could make something from them. There’s a ‘Lis’ in every town. You just have to find them. You might spend a bit of time with the kids identifying some of the species.

-- Backer boards, stop blocks, build oversized, and never buy a hand plane--

View matt garcia's profile

matt garcia

1892 posts in 3672 days

#26 posted 07-20-2010 03:41 AM

Cut offs are great sources of scrap for test cuts. I save just about all of mine.

-- Matt Garcia Wannabe Period Furniture Maker, Houston TX

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics