my intro to wood working #4: thats not scrap

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Blog entry by romansfivefive posted 03-14-2008 04:10 AM 1256 reads 0 times favorited 3 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 3: old too soon, smart too late Part 4 of my intro to wood working series Part 5: measure twice, cut once... or twice... maybe more »

Bieng friends with a cabinet maker is a toy maker’s scrap gold mine. I am able to scrounge enough pieces of wood from his scrap pile to keep me busy. My friend is always impressed with what I am able to fashion out of pieces that are unusable to him. What is interesting to me is that even though I need only small pieces of wood, I end up with a scrap pile too. At the end of every project there is always something that is too small to use. The other day my kids used my scrap to glue together some sculptures that were used to decorate thier doll house.

It reminded me of a neighbour I had a while ago. This colourful character maintained an collection of stuff in his backyard that could easily have hidden the lost city of Atlantis. One day I was eyeing a heap of wood pieces that I imagined using for a bonfire. I asked him what he was going to do with that “scrap wood”.

He rubbed his chin and asked me ” do you have a use for it?”
I jumped on it, thinking he was going to let me have it “I sure do!” I said
“well then, it isn’t scrap it. Is it?” e
I guess he “let me have it”, but I ended up buying the wood.

If you have a use for it, it isn’t scrap. My friend finds cabinets and furniture in a pile of lumber. I find trucks and dragons in my friend’s scrap pile. My kids find sculptures in my scrap pile and I am sure there is someone somewhere that could use the stuff that we can’t imagine using. I don’t think we can ever be truly aware of how others are going to value the gifts in our posession. It is becoming clearer to me that the scraps we toss because they are worthless to us might be so valuable that they seem like a gift to someone with that specific need. So maybe there isn’t such a thing as scrap. Maybe there are just gifts that haven’t been shared yet. I can think of other areas of my life that might benefit from my scrap philosophy. The effort it takes for a smile, kind word or thoughtful gesture might not add up to much in my life at that moment, but they might mean the world to someone else. I think I am going to be more concious of keeping my scrap box empty, because if I can find others that can use the abundance in my life, then there isn’t really any scrap… Is there?

-- The CNC machine can either produce the work of art you imagined, or very decorative firewood.

3 comments so far

View cajunpen's profile


14578 posts in 5310 days

#1 posted 03-14-2008 08:44 AM

I have a couple of cabinet maker friends too and just love raiding their scrap piles. Always come home with a bunch of little pieces that I end up using for something, even if it’s just using it to setup the saw or router table.

-- Bill - "Suit yourself and let the rest be pleased."

View Rich_S's profile


53 posts in 5109 days

#2 posted 03-15-2008 08:51 AM

Great blog entry. I don’t believe that there is really a piece of scrap lumber. Each piece is simply waiting, hoping to be given the opportunity to express its fullest potential through the caring, crafting hands of a creative person. Some of the most wonderful projects come from these outcasts and freaks of the forest and factories.

-- Rich, Madison WI

View Dominic Vanacora's profile

Dominic Vanacora

508 posts in 5114 days

#3 posted 03-16-2008 02:22 AM

You may make a key holder, I’ll make an earing.

-- Dominic, Trinity, Florida...Lets be safe out there.

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