When to throw it away

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Forum topic by dmorgantx posted 01-18-2010 06:31 AM 1738 views 0 times favorited 21 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View dmorgantx's profile


70 posts in 3559 days

01-18-2010 06:31 AM

OK- so I was inspired by sIKE (based on his project for organizing small cut-offs, scraps etc). So my question is- what metrics do people use to determine ‘keep it or toss it’?

Obviously there are going to be qualifications here- what type of projects you do, what type of material, etc. But I’d like everyone else’s thoughts. I feel like my garage is being invaded by the remains of previous works!

So my ‘criteria’- almost everything I do involves plyword or 1x trim material. I tend to keep any piece maybe bigger than 4” sq.

I’d be really interested to know if sIKE (or others who have built similar projects) actually get better ‘utilization’ out of their scrap material- or are you just adding to it while spending time, money, etc to make ‘another’ storage unit? Anyone feel like they’ve had a lot of success dealing with this in one way or another, or having a set criteria or logic they follow?

Thanks for your thought!

21 replies so far

View Kindlingmaker's profile


2658 posts in 4003 days

#1 posted 01-18-2010 02:29 PM

Another LJ sometime back answered this question… “If it does not get sucked off the floor with the vac then I save it” or something like that.

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

View Russel's profile


2199 posts in 4415 days

#2 posted 01-18-2010 02:37 PM

At some point in time, you just gotta let go. I hate to throw any scrap away, believing that there will always be a use for it somewhere. And, since I turn pens, it pretty easy to look at a small piece and say, “that’ll make a nice pen.” But, I’ve got more pen blanks than I can use for quite some time now, and some scraps have collected so much dust that I can’t remember why I kept them.

So, I’m starting to transfer some scraps to the burn pile so that I can make room for more.

To answer your question, you throw it away when you’ve got nowhere to put it.

-- Working at Woodworking

View GMman's profile


3902 posts in 4174 days

#3 posted 01-18-2010 03:04 PM

Well skidiiot is throwing his toos away he maybe saving the wood??

View verc's profile


22 posts in 3533 days

#4 posted 01-18-2010 07:49 PM

It seems like just after I throw a little piece of scrap away I find a place I could have used it. I tend to accumulate a bunch of trianglular shapes and thin strips.

-- John, UP of Michigan

View SnowyRiver's profile


51458 posts in 3957 days

#5 posted 01-18-2010 08:08 PM

I tend to be more lenient with rare wood like non domestic varieties, or varieties that are reclaimed. I also tend to keep pieces that are more square or rectangular rather than long sticks. Sometimes though I walk into the shop and say its time to clear it out and start cutting up scraps for kindling. Any long sticks get sent to the garden shed for staking plants in the spring.

-- Wayne - Plymouth MN

View richgreer's profile


4541 posts in 3551 days

#6 posted 01-18-2010 08:15 PM

I have a trash barrow that I throw all the real little, useless scraps into. I empty that whenever it gets full. Larger scraps accumulate in the corner of the shop and I am always pawing through them to find the scrap I need. However, eventually, this scrap pile gets too big and starts to impede my ability to walk around the shop. That is when I go through it and discard about half. I work with quite a few exotics and always bias toward throwing away the cheap wood and keeping the exotics.

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

View PaulfromVictor's profile


228 posts in 3822 days

#7 posted 01-18-2010 11:21 PM

I have 4 separate wood areas strategically located.

1. Full length boards
2. cut offs bin for 2-5’ decent boards, some dowel stock, and some thin strips
3. a small box (box was a case of paper) for small cutoffs 6-18” and odd pieces that may prove useful.
4. Burn box – Bark edges, small cutoffs scrap pieces that were uses for test cuts, etc. I often dig into this for test cut pieces or backer boards. Despite there being some uses for this stuff at some point you need to let go. It becomes campfire wood.

The higher the retail cost of the wood, the less likely it is to make it to #4.

View stefang's profile


16712 posts in 3810 days

#8 posted 01-19-2010 08:21 PM

I find it difficult to throw any wood away. I think I need help.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View Kindlingmaker's profile


2658 posts in 4003 days

#9 posted 01-19-2010 09:19 PM

stefang, After work last night I stopped by a friends house and loaded all his going to the trash can little wood pieces and hualed all of them home… If you find help please post it because I think I need it to, but in the mean time I will be sorting my new heap of scraps…

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

View Rustic's profile


3256 posts in 4072 days

#10 posted 01-19-2010 09:51 PM

My name is Rick and I am a wood hoarder. LOL I am in the same boat We need a group called Wood Hoarders Annonymous

--, Rick Kruse, Grand Rapids, MI

View MrsN's profile


987 posts in 4002 days

#11 posted 01-19-2010 10:21 PM

I make jewelry and other small projects. My throw away pile is stuff smaller then a penny, you never know what might be useful.

View sIKE's profile


1271 posts in 4230 days

#12 posted 01-19-2010 10:29 PM

Well, PaulfromVictor has basically the same system I have. I always think, I am going to try something new one day (say Stringing) and that long skinny piece would be either good to practice with (domestic) or after I have practiced that piece will be good for a project (exotic). And like richgreer lean ore to keeping the exotics than the domestics.

I have a bin behind my tablesaw under my outfeed table that I throw my not for keep scraps and I go back to that box for backer boards and such….but still have to much small stuff. I am thinking about a couple of weekends of small stuff projects to use some of it up and to get it out of my hair…

-- //FC - Round Rock, TX - "Experience is what you get just after you need it"

View miles125's profile


2180 posts in 4482 days

#13 posted 01-19-2010 10:29 PM

If you’ve moved it out of your way more than 5 times in the last 2 years you can safely take the S off of “scrap”.

-- "The way to make a small fortune in woodworking- start with a large one"

View Mary Anne's profile

Mary Anne

1058 posts in 3685 days

#14 posted 01-19-2010 10:31 PM

You’re supposed to throw wood away?!! ;) The only thing that helped clear my scrap pile was an ice storm that caused a four-day power outage and temperatures way below freezing. I had to burn some scrap to keep warm! Fortunately, the scrap that went to the fireplace was construction grade lumber from a room addition I am working on.

View stefang's profile


16712 posts in 3810 days

#15 posted 01-20-2010 11:48 AM

To all you fellow hoarder, I saw a great way to use those little scraps. I got the cheese plane shown below, or “ost høvel” translated to Norwegian. The handle is made up of small squares about 3/4” on each side. It is Juniper. with the end grain showing. I think looks a lot like burl. Sorry about the blurry pic. I don’t have macro on my camera.


-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

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