Plywood Scrap Sorter

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Project by Elizabeth posted 08-19-2014 06:16 PM 3297 views 9 times favorited 9 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I have a white shelving unit in my shop and the bottom two shelves are covered with little scraps of plywood that I have salvaged from either my own projects or the craft center’s free scrap pile at the local university. I decided I would like to have my shelves back for storing other things, so when the plan for this Scrap Sorter came along in an e-newsletter from Wood Magazine, I decided to give it a try.

The idea of this sorter is that each cubby is a different depth. The top one is 6”, then 8” is below it, then 10” and so on down to 14”. Additionally, there are two longer cubbies with openings on the top of the sorter. One is the entire height of the unit (about 34 inches if I recall correctly) and the other ends up with a sort of stepped effect thanks to butting up against the smaller cubbies. You can sort your scraps by seeing which cubby it fits into best and putting it there, and then if you know you need a piece that is, say, 10-12 inches, you know which cubby to go for to find it.

I was able to build nearly the whole thing from scrap pieces itself. I did end up buying a half sheet of plywood from someone at a garage sale because I didn’t have scrap pieces large enough to make the two side panels. The screws came from an estate sale, a big box for a dollar. The most expensive part was the wheels – $3 each at Harbor Freight.

The plan as written doesn’t give dimensions for the screw placements, so I had to work that out based on the part dimensions. It actually missed out showing screws at all on one of the vertical pieces, but the article states that they used no glue (nor did I). The plan also calls for poplar wood banding around the edges, but I decided to skip that, and adjusted the plywood dimensions accordingly.

A right angle clamp is very useful for assembly of this unit. I assembled the L-shape smaller cubby pieces first, then arranged all of the innards on their side and attached them together, then put one of the side pieces on top and attached it, then flipped the thing over and did the back, bottom and other side.

If anyone else would like to try this out, the plan is available from along with plans for a wall mounted lumber rack and large plywood sheet storage.

9 comments so far

View DocSavage45's profile


9069 posts in 4088 days

#1 posted 08-19-2014 06:28 PM


Nice build, Nice clean lines! Should serve you well.

One thought I have is try using some lap joints to add strength in future projects to add strength to the carcass.

-- Cau Haus Designs, Thomas J. Tieffenbacher

View Elizabeth's profile


823 posts in 4389 days

#2 posted 08-19-2014 06:45 PM

Yeah, really I should have done the whole thing with pocket holes or something, but my joinery experience is, well, pretty much what you see here, and I was under a time constraint – on the day I finished the assembly I also gave birth! I did, however, attach the casters to the bottoms of the side walls as well as to the base; I figured that would be stronger than having all the load taken on the base as called for in the plan.

View DocSavage45's profile


9069 posts in 4088 days

#3 posted 08-19-2014 06:50 PM

Whoa! LOL! Congratulations!

A new lumberJock! LOL!

-- Cau Haus Designs, Thomas J. Tieffenbacher

View Elizabeth's profile


823 posts in 4389 days

#4 posted 08-19-2014 06:54 PM

Thanks! Hah, I challenge any of the male Jocks to do THAT!

View hjt's profile


906 posts in 4383 days

#5 posted 08-19-2014 07:18 PM

Nicely done. Very smart idea. Which I could think of things like that. You did a great job. Wonder how long it will take to filler up??

-- Harold

View tyvekboy's profile


2132 posts in 4258 days

#6 posted 08-19-2014 07:44 PM

Good job. You should see my scrap bin. I call it the SAD (separation anxiety disorder) bin.

Congratulation on the new baby. How about a picture of that project?

-- Tyvekboy -- Marietta, GA ………….. one can never be too organized

View DocSavage45's profile


9069 posts in 4088 days

#7 posted 08-19-2014 08:08 PM


Ya got that right! Go Elizabeth go! Boy? Girl? That’s gonna take time away from woodworking. LOL!

-- Cau Haus Designs, Thomas J. Tieffenbacher

View Mr M's Woodshop's profile

Mr M's Woodshop

426 posts in 4312 days

#8 posted 08-19-2014 08:30 PM

Great project. I’ve had a very similar sorter for several years now … and it’s overflowing. Good job on yours. As long as you don’t use it as a ladder, the joinery is fine: quick, easy, and strong enough.

And you completed it while you were very pregnant? Whoa. That’s taking nesting to a whole new level.

-- Henry Mowry, Santa Clarita, CA,

View whitebeast88's profile


4128 posts in 3435 days

#9 posted 08-19-2014 08:36 PM

congrats on the new baby.i don’t think i’ll take you up on your challenge:)

the cart looks very good,should be very handy for you.thanks for sharing!!!

-- Marty.Athens,AL

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