On saving those off-cuts..

  • Advertise with us

« back to Coffee Lounge forum

Forum topic by poopiekat posted 11-30-2008 06:54 PM 1554 views 0 times favorited 17 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View poopiekat's profile


4355 posts in 3735 days

11-30-2008 06:54 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question

An issue that is slowly driving me crazy…
I’ve got barrels and boxes full of lumber offcuts..short and wide, long and skinny, and sheetgoods offcuts, rectangular or long rippings big and small…a real mishmosh of sizes, species and materials, and I hate to cut these scraps up and burn them, and I’m going to try my hand at a few segmented lathe turnings soon, so even small pieces can be of value..
So what do other Lumberjocks do to manage your scraps and offcuts? Is there a good way to store them out of the way, yet accessible at a glance when you need a piece for the project you’re working on? Is it just good sense to discard/recycle unwanted offcuts and trimmings or is it good economic sense to retain all of them?

-- Einstein: "The intuitive mind is a sacred gift, and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift." I'm Poopiekat!!

17 replies so far

View Douglas Bordner's profile

Douglas Bordner

4024 posts in 4065 days

#1 posted 11-30-2008 07:41 PM

I’ll be no help at all!
I finally decided to draw the line at pieces less than 4 inches of long grain unless they were exotics or highly figured. But I have two 5 gallon buckets, one kitchen trash container, a Rubbermaid under bed-type storage container and about eight other little cubbies or boxes around the garage.

Sheet goods I only keep if they are big enough for box bottoms or jigs.

-- "Bordnerizing" perfectly good lumber for over a decade.

View John Ormsby's profile

John Ormsby

1285 posts in 3738 days

#2 posted 11-30-2008 09:32 PM

You can try to donate your scraps to a local woodworking club or school. These groups are always looking for scraps.

-- Oldworld, Fair Oaks, Ca

View jim1953's profile


2735 posts in 3843 days

#3 posted 11-30-2008 10:10 PM

I keep all my scraps you never no when you may need one thats how built my last project

-- Jim, Kentucky

View Russel's profile


2199 posts in 3940 days

#4 posted 11-30-2008 11:37 PM

I also keep all my scraps until I have nowhere to put anymore (I’m a bit of a pack-rat). Then I call one of my brothers and donate to their firewood collection. I used to worry that I might throw out that perfect piece of scrap, but I’ve come to learn that I have not missed a single scrap. This knowledge combined with the knowledge that I’ll make plenty more scrap allows me to sleep at night after I’ve dumped, er donated my scrap to my brother’s fire pile.

-- Working at Woodworking

View Roper's profile


1389 posts in 3714 days

#5 posted 12-01-2008 02:24 AM

if you turn wood then this isn’t really a question you should save all scrape to turn in to something nice. i mean come on a 1 by1 is the perfect size for pens.

-- Roper - Master of sawdust-

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27250 posts in 3823 days

#6 posted 12-01-2008 05:02 AM

It never fails when I toss a scrap piece I wish I had it back shortly thereafter. So, like Doug, I can’t be any real help since I tend to keep all of my offcuts, both hardwood and plywood. I just stack them up in my lumber rack and in front of my plywood bin. This also gets me yelled at to for “keeping all this trash”. :)

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

View RAH's profile


414 posts in 3878 days

#7 posted 12-01-2008 05:29 AM

I am a pack rat and save all of them. I had some cut offs today 3/4” x 1” x 2” long they could be feet for a box or wooden hinges just can’t through them away.

-- Ron Central, CA

View lew's profile


12062 posts in 3756 days

#8 posted 12-01-2008 05:32 AM

If they don’t fit thru the 1 1/2” shop vac hose- they’re keepers!

-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

View snowdog's profile


1164 posts in 3983 days

#9 posted 12-01-2008 04:34 PM

Keep a can and anything over what fits is fire wood/kindling. You can always get more wood , it is hard to get more space.

-- "so much to learn and so little time"..

View LeeinEdmonton's profile


254 posts in 3582 days

#10 posted 12-02-2008 04:53 AM

Lemme make a suggestion. How about wooden toys for inner city kids at Christmas ? You might be surprised at the satisfaction you can get from diverting hardwood cutoffs to something productive. Burning them is showing very little respect for wood. Click on my projects. There is a mix of toys there & all of them go this month. If that isn’t challenging enough….look at toy plans keeping in mind they are authored by a toymaker & time is of the essence. Look at the toy & determine how much more detail that you & your imagination can add to the basic design especially when it is an animated pull toy. The horizon is the limit.


-- Lee

View poopiekat's profile


4355 posts in 3735 days

#11 posted 12-04-2008 03:47 AM

Thanks for all your thoughtful replies! I kinda like the 1 1/2” shop vac hose idea!! This really did start to become an issue once I got my lathe, and started musing about segmented turnings. It really did start to encourage me to save everything! That includes MDF, particle board, lexan, phenolic, and even shorts of pegboard for heavens sake. Though donating is good too! We do a lot of camping in the summer, and I did save unworkable ends and rippings for the campfire, but seeing it burn made me wish to spend more vacation time in the shop, and less in the outdoors!! As I said, it is slowly driving me crazy!!

-- Einstein: "The intuitive mind is a sacred gift, and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift." I'm Poopiekat!!

View jeffthewoodwacker's profile


603 posts in 3805 days

#12 posted 12-04-2008 03:57 AM

I built a bunch of bins for short pieces and short them by wood type. Long pieces are shorted in a large wood rack in the barn. I belong to a wood turning club and we use all the short pieces to teach youngsters how to spindle turn, make pens and Christmas ornaments. The boy scout troop we work with turned 500 icicle ornaments and sold them for $1 each as a fund raiser—who ever said that scrap was worthless!

-- Those that say it can't be done should not interrupt those who are doing it.

View GaryK's profile


10262 posts in 3989 days

#13 posted 12-04-2008 04:06 AM

I have a 5 gallon bucket I keep my small stuff in. It’s the first place I go when I need something like that.
If I have a new addition and there’s no room I decide to chuck it or add it to the bucket. If there’s no more room I’ll look for the most useless piece and chuck that to make room.

I really don’t have any “cheap” wood. (Just look at my projects) So throwing something in the fireplace means it’s a crappy piece.

I don’t have any softwoods to speak of, it’s all hardwoods.

-- Gary - Never pass up the opportunity to make a mistake look like you planned it that way - Tyler, TX

View scottb's profile


3648 posts in 4328 days

#14 posted 12-04-2008 04:13 AM

I try not to keep any pine less than 1 BF, but I’m finding myself keeping every piece of hardwood, even the 3/4 inch cube offcuts from pen blanks—- if they seem likely candiates for glueing up into a larger project. Then I try to sort on shelves by species. a couple of maples, 1 of oak, and another of all the random exotics that I don’t have enough of.

This winter it’s going to be hard not to burn stuff.

-- I am always doing what I cannot do yet, in order to learn how to do it. - Van Gogh -- --

View Nighthawk's profile


556 posts in 2357 days

#15 posted 01-16-2012 12:41 PM

Theres scrape… and then there’s scrape… I have off cuts that could be used… and off cuts most likely not…

I have told the other half, if it is in the bin ”most likely that it won’t get used” it is fair game for burning and kindling or what ever she wants it for etc… But if it is in the ”most likely” bin no touchy touch… If she sees a bit in the most likely that she wants or may meet her requirements she asks to make sure it is not for a project down the track.

I do have a tendancy to look through all off cuts bins if I am looking for a bit of something… especially when I don’t know what I am looking for till I find it.

Winter will be upon us soon here in NZ which means I will be able to get rid of a bit…

The trick is to work how to tell if it falls under ”most likely” or ”most likely not”...

-- Rome wasn't built in a day... but I wasn't on that job? ...

showing 1 through 15 of 17 replies

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