All Replies on I've got an addiction and I need help

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View Oldtool's profile

I've got an addiction and I need help

by Oldtool
posted 08-11-2012 03:34 PM

44 replies so far

View Lee Barker's profile

Lee Barker

2172 posts in 3393 days

#1 posted 08-11-2012 03:53 PM

I can only speak from my own habit.

First, I never use the term “scrap.” You don’t save scraps of food, why would you save scraps of wood? So right away, your subliminal message to yourself is that you are saving something that should be thrown away.
Hence the debilitating internal conflict.

Second, for me, there is a size after which the piece has no value for me. But i don’t toss it, I save it. The intarsia guys do handsprings out the back door when I offer them all they want from that box. I don’t ask for anything in trade; it will come along anyway. So my box of what you call “scrap” is really a gift waiting to be given.

And yes, on occasion, I rummage through it and sometimes find stuff I can use, as is the case on my latest project post.



-- " his brain, which is as dry as the remainder biscuit after a voyage, he hath strange places cramm'd with observation, the which he vents in mangled forms." --Shakespeare, "As You Like It"

View Dallas's profile


3599 posts in 3030 days

#2 posted 08-11-2012 04:33 PM

Under 18”? Really? I seldom have anything longer than 12” and like Oldtool, I cherish ever last bit!

-- Improvise.... Adapt...... Overcome!

View KnickKnack's profile


1098 posts in 4109 days

#3 posted 08-11-2012 04:45 PM

I think Lee makes a great point there about the use of the word “scrap” – I call them “offcuts” – and keep them all. That small piece might make a great spline one day, or a small handle, or a key-chain, or an earring, or a detail, or….
Of course, they rarely do become these things, but they might.
Try throwing a whole bunch of them on the floor and just sitting with them for a while and see what pops into your head.

-- "Do not speak – unless it improves on silence." --- "Following the rules and protecting the regulations is binding oneself without rope."

View woodworker59's profile


560 posts in 2744 days

#4 posted 08-11-2012 04:48 PM

I can offer no help here, I feel your pain.. I am the same way.. there is more space used by pieces of wood that I may use someday than there is for projects in my shop.. every spare piece of wall has pieces laying against it or piled up on it.. plus I also have the rubbermaid barrels.. so I my friend can be of no assistance.. we can just commiserate together.. Maybe if we traded barrels, we could each find something to build with the others barrel.. just a thought… I have been thinking of making a patchwork floor in my shop using all the little pieces.. then it wouldn’t take up much space, I could just walk on it till I needed it.. You are not alone… Papa

-- Papa...

View whitebeast88's profile


4128 posts in 2733 days

#5 posted 08-11-2012 05:28 PM

heck i thought i was the only one with this addiction.a couple months back i cleaned my keepsakes out and kept about a dozen or so 1x’s and 2x’s of various lengths and made firewood of the rest.

-- Marty.Athens,AL

View longgone's profile


5688 posts in 3851 days

#6 posted 08-11-2012 05:40 PM

I do not throw any pieces away that are larger than sawdust.
Many small pieces are perfect candidates for making plugs on my drillpress and many other smaller pieces will someday have the opportunity to become box handles.

View CharlieM1958's profile


16284 posts in 4761 days

#7 posted 08-11-2012 05:55 PM

Heck, it hurts me to throw away sawdust because it’s potential wood filler!

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View a1Jim's profile


117746 posts in 4120 days

#8 posted 08-11-2012 06:03 PM

I have the same problem. I have a daughter in law that keeps threatening to take up intarsia so I save my left overs. If she doesn’t start soon I’ll have to rent a storage unit lol

View Gshepherd's profile


1727 posts in 2744 days

#9 posted 08-11-2012 06:19 PM

I can feel your pain….. To help solve some of this I started finding ways to utilize the smaller pieces by getting into pen making,stave turnings,small boxes…. There are a few young kids who like to make birdhouses and such so I will do a ramdom clean-up day and plane,straighten,sand day so the next time they come over they have some decent wood to work with…. I will even put 45’s on some edges so they can use for the tops… Like yourself I hate throwing anything away….. Lets face it you will probably never go through all of it so find another outlet for it….. Boy Scouts,Girl Scouts, ect…... You will sleep knowing it did not go to waste and who knows inspire another young woodworker…..

-- What we do in life will Echo through Eternity........

View Gary's profile


9402 posts in 3975 days

#10 posted 08-11-2012 06:32 PM

For me, it’s the type of wood. Those that are plentiful go quicly. It’s the exotics, and domestic that I have to order that I cant toss

-- Gary, DeKalb Texas only 4 miles from the mill

View Manitario's profile


2787 posts in 3425 days

#11 posted 08-11-2012 06:34 PM

I scrap-hoard until I run out of room in my shop for “real” lumber. Then I have a massive purge. It also helps that we have a woodstove in our house; a lot of smaller pieces get re-purposed as kindling.

-- Sometimes the creative process requires foul language. -- Charles Neil

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


18709 posts in 4218 days

#12 posted 08-11-2012 07:16 PM

The only cure is to make some small projects! Be careful to use pieces that will not generate smaller pieces to save ;-)

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View Ripthorn's profile


1459 posts in 3527 days

#13 posted 08-11-2012 07:53 PM

I just had to go through my pile today. For me it works kind of like this:

2×4’s, softwood, blah-hardwood: anything smaller than about 4” square goes

Decent domestic and exotic hardwoods (maple, cherry, paduak): anything smaller than about 2-3” square goes

highly figured domestics, expensive exotics (ebony, curly maple, rosewoods): keep anything larger than 1×2”

Also, there are some pieces that are just so oddly shaped that they go even if they are larger.

-- Brian T. - Exact science is not an exact science

View lunn's profile


215 posts in 2851 days

#14 posted 08-11-2012 07:55 PM

Some i burn or give away for kindling, the better pieces i box up and give to kids. They love em. Nothing so small they may swollow. If i didn’t purge i’d have no place to work.

-- What started as a hobbie is now a full time JOB!

View Oldtool's profile


2793 posts in 2733 days

#15 posted 08-11-2012 10:35 PM

After reading the responses, it has become obvious many, or should I most, of you have the same problems I do, and cannot provide me the assistance to help me break this habit.
I think I’ll just take TopamaxSurvivor’s suggestion and make projects that create even smaller cutoffs to save. At least then I’ll make more room in the shop.

Thanks all for responding. Happy woodworking all …....

-- "I am a firm believer in the people. If given the truth, they can be depended upon to meet any national crisis. The point is to bring them the real facts." - Abraham Lincoln

View Raymond Thomas's profile

Raymond Thomas

189 posts in 2761 days

#16 posted 08-12-2012 12:30 AM

Glue them up and make a segmented bowl, vase, pens, magical wands, etc…

There are no scraps, there is only potential. Even sawdust can be rolled up with dampened newpaper and made into kindling logs.

-- Raymond, Charlotte, NC -------- Demonstrate the difference!

View cathyb's profile


839 posts in 3787 days

#17 posted 08-12-2012 01:56 AM

My wood cost too much to toss. However there are plenty of uses for smaller pieces of wood, just a few include: a 200 piece set of wooden blocks, wooden toys, drawer pulls, dividers for jewelry boxes, serving platers, cutting boards, splines for boxes, and so many things made of laminates. Take those pieces and glue them all together. Of course, it would make good sense to first have them all a consistent size. I use laminates in my lamps ( in fact, I first starting making lamps to use up my smaller pieces of wood), in boxes, in benches. The options are really endless. Here are a couple of examples of The sides of this box were made from two 3/8 thick pieces of wood glued together to form a laminate.

This bench is made of cherry, mahogany, walnut and koa cutoffs. They look fabulous together. I’m glad I didn’t toss any of those pieces.
You get the idea.

-- cathyb, Hawaii,

View LockesWS's profile


17 posts in 2660 days

#18 posted 08-12-2012 02:14 AM

Like most of you I save every piece, but as my wife calls it a pack rat. I do throw away smalls pieces that when getting ready to cut I lose that warm and fuzzy feeling. Most of what I do I use the scroll saw so a 1” wide and 4” long piece can easily become a keychain or a pair of earrings.

-- The things I make may be for others, but how I make them is for me.   - Tony Konovaloff

View derosa's profile


1597 posts in 3378 days

#19 posted 08-12-2012 02:51 AM

I actually keep the garbage can right next to the table saw, anything smaller then 12” automatically drops in there as does anything narrower then 2”. Although I will frequently reach into the trash can if I need a small shim, a shaving, test pieces for cut depths and just last night I raided it for a pair of stripe cutting boards to build up an actual stockpile of boards. between the small sizes I toss in and the pieces I constantly pull out it takes a while to fill it but once full it does go to the garbage.

-- A posse ad esse

View GnarlyErik's profile


325 posts in 2677 days

#20 posted 08-12-2012 03:15 AM

I save most scraps too – and I still call them ‘scraps’. I keep mine sorted in their own containers (small desk sized waste cans) generally by size and wood type., i.e., soft or hard woods. I am forever finding a need for my bits and pieces. Maybe I need some blocking to help clamp or shim an irregular shape – just grab a suitable chunk, make some saw or chisel cuts, and presto – the perfect shaped block and I don’t have to cut something off a larger piece. Once I’ve used custom pieces most of them go on to the trash can.

I make custom shaped sanding blocks, wedges, cleats, drawer slides, etc., etc. I use a lot of the thicker softwood pieces to make block sets and bath tub toys for the grand kids. Up to a certain age they love those. Once in a great while I do a house cleaning, and using a critical eye, go ahead and trash some of it in order to keep it under control.

-- "Never let your dogma be run over by your karma!"

View thedude50's profile


3610 posts in 3020 days

#21 posted 08-12-2012 03:30 AM

My rule keeps the shop clean but has a pain attached to it . My rule is I only keep something i can safely use. IF IT IS PLUG MATERIAL IT GOES IN A FIVE GALLON BUCKET FOR PLUGS . If it is a board and i cant safely cut it it is trash or fire wood. I also have a limit on the space I save cutoffs. I collect lots of wood and i dump the bin every 6 months if it wasn’t used by then it was not worth the space it took up in the shop. I know its the hard part but when i dump the bin I FILL THE RACK that relieves the pain.

-- Please check out my new stores and

View AndyDuframe's profile


48 posts in 4133 days

#22 posted 08-12-2012 03:40 AM

One trick I learned to help make “scrap” boards more useful is to mark the length on the board. This makes it easy to glance over what I have (from a distance) and see if anything there is the right size for the project at hand. Otherwise I have to measure the scraps every time I go hunting for a piece (which I usually don’t), which explains why my scrap piles often turned into mountains.


View MontanaBob's profile


871 posts in 3226 days

#23 posted 08-12-2012 03:50 AM

This is to funny…..I was out in the shop this morning, doing a little cleaning, and thought I would throw out some of the many scrap pieces I keep in a coupe of boxes….Some pine and redwood pieces actually made it to the trash…the rest are sitting there waiting for the project…..whatever that may be..At least I’ve got the pieces sorted…once more..( Some of those scraps turned into a coat rack for the camper today)...I think I’ll dig through them tomorrow and see what some of those scrap pieces want to be…I never did get the shop cleaned..

View oldnovice's profile


7505 posts in 3910 days

#24 posted 08-12-2012 04:28 AM

My wife wants me to have an intervention to get over my cut off addiction.

I have made so many projects out of scrap pieces that it is difficult to throw any thing away because hiding in that piece is something waiting to get out …. I just have to find it!

-- "I never met a board I didn't like!"

View Tomj's profile


204 posts in 2924 days

#25 posted 08-12-2012 05:48 AM

Softwood smaller than 12” and especially if has any knots gets thrown away, basically if it doesn’t fit on my softwood section of my lumber racks it’s thrown away unless I’m lacking in small softwood peices. Any hardwood gets saved that I can use but I’m saving for more tools right now so I can’t afford to throw perfectly clean hardwood away. Once I have my hardwood section built up I will keep that section full as much as I can and throw wood away if it’s taking up to much space and when I say throw wood away that doesn’t always mean the garbage it depends.

View Pete_Jud's profile


424 posts in 4295 days

#26 posted 08-12-2012 08:27 AM

I broke the habit with out going through the 12 step process. The wood stove in the shop eats some, the smoker by the BBQ gets some as well. Found that it was getting too hard to work around all the plastic milk crates holding it. Now only save the larger pieces.

-- Life is to short to own an ugly boat.

View bondogaposis's profile


5561 posts in 2894 days

#27 posted 08-12-2012 12:17 PM

When I heated my shop with wood I had far less problems w/ scraps. The colder it got the less scraps I had laying around. They’d build up during the summer and by spring they’d be gone. Now it is a year round problem for me. My solution is to throw them in a box and keep them around for a few months and if I haven’t found a use for them then they go to my girlfriends house, where she heats with wood. I can’t bring myself to just put them in the trash.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View kop's profile


16 posts in 2670 days

#28 posted 08-12-2012 02:29 PM

Step One, We admitted that we were powerless over scraps of wood and our lives have become unmanageable.
lol lol

-- Kindlyoldpoop

View OnlyJustME's profile


1562 posts in 2919 days

#29 posted 08-12-2012 02:58 PM

The only “scraps” i get come from cutting plywoods since with all the glue in it you shouldn’t burn it. The hardwood “cutoffs” go to the small wood bin/container. I will sand them up and cut them to usable shapes for building blocks and give them to my kid to play with. Once i get pieces below 1” or weird shapes close to that size they will be fire starting material.
I think you need to find smaller projects to make use of them as previously stated. Expand your woodworking so to speak. . . . . . . if the projects get smaller is it really expanding? lol

-- In the end, when your life flashes before your eyes, will you like what you see?

View Oldtool's profile


2793 posts in 2733 days

#30 posted 08-12-2012 03:36 PM

Thanks guys, lots of good suggestions. I’ll mull them over as I clean the shop periodically, will most probably continue to keep all cut offs, and may learn to live with my addiction.

Thanks all, happy woodworking

-- "I am a firm believer in the people. If given the truth, they can be depended upon to meet any national crisis. The point is to bring them the real facts." - Abraham Lincoln

View MrRon's profile


5772 posts in 3786 days

#31 posted 08-12-2012 04:40 PM

You must belong to the same WA (Woodworkers Annonomous) that I do. I have tons of scraps I can’t bear to toss. I’ve tried to organize it as to size and wood type, but I have pails of small scraps and I don’t know what is at the bottom of the can. Although I build furniture and do small construction jobs, a large amount of my projects are building scale model trains, so very small pieces of wood are very useful to me. Five years ago, I got a scrap load of wood from a cabinet shop. I have enough wood to last me a lifetime.

I guess the real reason we save scraps is the high cost of wood when we have to buy it. It’s too expensive to toss.

After reading through all the replies, I have come to the realization that organization of my scraps needs to be my #1 priority.

View Craftsman on the lake's profile

Craftsman on the lake

3044 posts in 3980 days

#32 posted 08-12-2012 04:58 PM

I’m going camping tomorrow. My scrap barrel is going with me. Bonfire!

The cure is to never cut your wood. Always use it full sized. That way you never have a scrap.

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

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


18709 posts in 4218 days

#33 posted 08-12-2012 05:41 PM

Why not make a set of building blocks for kids and donate it to a charity rather than toss them or burn just to get rid of it?

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View thedude50's profile


3610 posts in 3020 days

#34 posted 08-13-2012 01:22 AM

Ya I think Topa is on to something. I thought about this thread for a long time then went to the shop. My clean up works. I only have one box and one bucket of scraps. However for you I have come up with a solution. It will require a bit of work But I think you should take up segmented turning. Those guys use up tons of tiny pieces. I think you could use up your scraps pretty quick that way. Then you will be buying new lumber and you can get back to some regular woodworking. Until your scrap bin is full again then it is time to make another vessel or a bowl. I do hope my idea for you will work. And since I know you don’t do anything half way You can use this as an excuse to buy that new eight thousand dollar Powermatic lathe that rocks.

-- Please check out my new stores and

View Oldtool's profile


2793 posts in 2733 days

#35 posted 08-13-2012 01:50 AM

Segmented turning, hum, might work. I was attempting to turn earlier today, a wood carvers mallet. Not going so well, need plenty of practice and need to improve my skills before I can dish out eight big ones for a better lathe.
I like the blocks for children, that would be easy to do and include my 13 year old grandson for some quality time.
I never burn my wood, no fireplace or outdoor fire pit. So that’s out of the equation.
I’ll keep reviewing suggestions and maybe use all in one way or another.
Some of my cutoffs are large enough to make smoking planks for the gas grill. I was thinking about this last time in the grocery store, where they were selling two cedar 1/8” planks 6” X 9” for $12.00 for cooking salmon. Now thats expensive wood.
Thanks all for the responses.

-- "I am a firm believer in the people. If given the truth, they can be depended upon to meet any national crisis. The point is to bring them the real facts." - Abraham Lincoln

View Dallas's profile


3599 posts in 3030 days

#36 posted 08-13-2012 01:55 AM

Oldtool…. I make my own cedar planks and have for a long time! LOL.

Cedar Plank Salmon

-- Improvise.... Adapt...... Overcome!

View Oldtool's profile


2793 posts in 2733 days

#37 posted 08-13-2012 02:09 AM

Ever use other woods?, like cherry?

-- "I am a firm believer in the people. If given the truth, they can be depended upon to meet any national crisis. The point is to bring them the real facts." - Abraham Lincoln

View Dallas's profile


3599 posts in 3030 days

#38 posted 08-13-2012 02:27 AM

Haven’t tried cherry but I have used Mesquite, Oak and a couple of others. If you try Pecan be careful, too much heat will make a bitter taste in the meat.

-- Improvise.... Adapt...... Overcome!

View thedude50's profile


3610 posts in 3020 days

#39 posted 08-14-2012 12:59 AM

I here apple is the best for bbq any thing including fish something about is burns cooler than other woods.

-- Please check out my new stores and

View Dallas's profile


3599 posts in 3030 days

#40 posted 08-14-2012 01:38 AM

Dude, This isn’t about using the wood for smoking actually. Although I do like apple, pear and persimmon for smoking wood.
This piece of the thread is about making planks about 3/8” thick, laying the meat on top of it and using indirect heat letting it infuse the meat with flavor.

I think with plank cooking I still prefer Texas Dark Cedar, but others like Alaskan Yellow, Western Red, Western White, Eastern Red, etc. Each type of wood infuses a different flavor into the meat as it’s cooking, some very subtle, some strong enough to eat the chrome off a ‘65 Mustang bumper.
I tried English walnut once, boy was that a waste of $20 worth of lamb!

-- Improvise.... Adapt...... Overcome!

View grizzman's profile


7836 posts in 3846 days

#41 posted 08-14-2012 01:53 AM

i have the exact same problem, right now i have three of the largest tubs you can get from wal mart, there all full, i then start to pile it in the corner, next to mt miter saw, its now in avalanche mode, and now that my recent apprentice is gone, i need to clean that up, but my shop and every space around my shop is filled with wood, i wish i had some wood workers close to me that would take a lot, but to no avail…so i shall work my way through this, and when i pass from this earth, i hope some wood workers will come and take it so it dont end up going to the termites…or just sit and rot, so…find room for it if you can, and keep on truckin on..

-- GRIZZMAN ...[''''']

View Richard's profile


1931 posts in 3233 days

#42 posted 08-14-2012 02:00 AM

I was just doing some work the other day where I needed to support some larger pieces while drilling to prevent blowout and went to my scrap/cutoff pile and got just the right ones to place under the main part to do this and then I threw them away. I just can’t throw them away until they so small or cut up to use anymore.
So I suppose I am of no help to you at all. :)

View rum's profile


148 posts in 3128 days

#43 posted 08-14-2012 05:28 AM

I’ve been playing a game called “fancy or firewood”. My off-cut heap has gotten to be many bins worth, so its definitely time to start culling the herd. Basically I’ve been pulling a bin out and going through it, if I can make something nice enough to pawn off on some poor unsuspecting sucker as “fancy” it gets done. If can’t make anything out of it, its firewood (ok so maybe I sort the bins down a little and those really nice pieces get another chance..). In the meantime I have a moratorium on new projects/wood until it gets down to a reasonable level. Have actually had pretty good luck so far with only a few backslides… (free walnut? you can’t turn down free walnut.. well you can but only on the lathe :D).

View doordude's profile


1085 posts in 3525 days

#44 posted 08-17-2012 04:16 AM

once you’ve built a box or cabinet, then the “left overs” go to my turning area to be turned into something.
nothing is wasted. then there is kindling…

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