Am I a "hoarder"? What do you do with your scraps?

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Forum topic by jusfine posted 07-03-2010 01:39 AM 2088 views 0 times favorited 33 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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2422 posts in 3343 days

07-03-2010 01:39 AM

Topic tags/keywords: question

When do the people come to my shop and label me a “hoarder”?

I can’t seem to throw anything away… am I alone?
Was cleaning in the shop today (took a long weekend) and found a riduculous amount of small offcuts, strips, and mostly unusable chunks of hardwoods, plywood and mdf.

I probably have at least 90 strips of mostly oak, walnut, and ash which range from 1/2” thick x 1” to 1 1/2” x 1” by 3 to 7 feet long. Edge and glue them all together, a multicolored strip panel?

Do you throw them out or burn them?

I always think if I do that, I will need just such a piece next time and don’t want to be wasteful.

Perhaps too much coffee today…?

-- Randy "You are judged as much by the questions you ask as the answers you give..."

33 replies so far

View wseand's profile


2796 posts in 3458 days

#1 posted 07-03-2010 01:52 AM

Don’t keep much scraps, I can’t stand clutter, Burn them. Anything bigger than 4”x8” maybe kept if it was expensive. I make very little small items so don’t really have a use for them. I think I maybe alone on this one Randy.

View OttoH's profile


891 posts in 3427 days

#2 posted 07-03-2010 01:56 AM

Officially I am not a hoarder because I have a trash box that I put all of my scraps into, I just never take the trash box out on trash day. I think I need to get a bigger box though it is getting kind of full.

-- I am responsible for how I respond to everything in my life - - Deadwood SD

View Broglea's profile


687 posts in 3507 days

#3 posted 07-03-2010 01:57 AM

I hoard them until the summer time. Then I tell my four sons “Its time to go camping”. Once at the camp site, we use the scraps to start the fire. Its just about time to go camping again.

View Russ's profile


142 posts in 3615 days

#4 posted 07-03-2010 02:12 AM

My plan with scraps: first i try to make something then throw into a tub where they become fire starters if I can’t find another use for them. In Alaska a wood fire will take the chill of the house on rainy days.

-- Happiness is being covered in sawdust

View JohnB's profile


17 posts in 3310 days

#5 posted 07-03-2010 02:34 AM

I hold onto pieces. I have two bins, one for large scraps and one for small scraps. They are both for tossing, but like OttoH I haven’t taken it out to the trash. As soon as they overflow, though… hmmm, maybe a fire later this summer… I do use the pieces sometimes, like for mixing stain or varnish, or for clamp blocks, or test pieces, wedges…

-- John, Belfair, Washington

View closetguy's profile


744 posts in 4309 days

#6 posted 07-03-2010 02:45 AM


-- I don't make mistakes, only design

View hObOmOnk's profile


1381 posts in 4544 days

#7 posted 07-03-2010 02:55 AM

I work with other artisans and we exchange or hand-down/up materials where appropriate.
Since I do a lot of rustic work with twigs and branches, I create scrap that can serve others, such as carvers and turners. Some of my scraps, like hickory and maple, wind up in the bbq smoker.

-- 温故知新

View docholladay's profile


1287 posts in 3475 days

#8 posted 07-03-2010 03:15 AM

I just recently came up with a sort of a plan for how to deal with this stuff. Here is what I do:

1) Never throw anything away.
2) When I can no longer get into my shop because of the clutter, build a new shop.

Just kidding. Actually, I did come up with a plan that seems to work for me because I couldn’t seem to to separate myself from those small pieces.

1) Determine a minimum size which a piece must be before you will keep it. My minimum is that the piece must be at least 1 1/2 inches square (I could still use it in a face frame or something like that as long as it is long enough) and at least 12 inches long. You will have to decide for yourself what minimum size to keep.
2) I built a bin that has cubbies of varying depths. If a piece of wood is not at least as long as one of those cubbies is deep, then it is too short to keep. That way, I don’t have to think about it.
3) If one of the bins happens to be full, I cannot save a new piece unless I throw something away. That way, if the new scrap happens to be a nice piece of an exotic hardwood, then I will get rid of a much less interesting piece to make room for it.
4) Finally, I have a large garbage can that I put the throw aways in. Then we built a fire pit in our back yard and I let my kids (future members of pyromaniacs anonymous) build fires with them to get rid of them. They invite their buddies over and have hot dog roasts.

-- Hey, woodworking ain't brain surgery. Just do something and keep trying till you get it. Doc

View AaronK's profile


1508 posts in 3881 days

#9 posted 07-03-2010 03:47 AM

ugh. don’t ask…

well – when i was first starting out, scraps were precious. now that I have a critical mass of cutoffs and smaller scrap pieces, i find that there is really no use for tiny stuff and have gathered it all, planning to burn it the next time i cook out.

View Wiley's profile


71 posts in 3448 days

#10 posted 07-03-2010 03:53 AM

Well, since I mostly work on small projects and I do a lot of inlay, nothing counts as a scrap to me until it’s smaller than 2”x2”x1/4”. Once it is smaller than that, it goes in the scrap bin for eventual burning if I ever get a wood burning stove. If the bin fills up before that happens, I would probably put it on freecycle. But it takes a very long time to fill a scrap bin when your scraps are that small.

-- "When you lose the power to laugh, you lose the power to think straight" - Inherit the Wind

View littlecope's profile


3072 posts in 3919 days

#11 posted 07-03-2010 04:01 AM

I save empty 50 lb. Onion bags from work… Have one hanging in the corner…
When it’s full, it gets shipped out to be burned…

-- Mike in Concord, NH---Unpleasant tasks are simply worthy challenges to improve skills.

View sras's profile


5108 posts in 3546 days

#12 posted 07-03-2010 04:19 AM

Depends on the type of wood. OSB and used plywood goes in the bucket if less than 1ft square. Framing lumber neds to be longer than 1 ft. Common hardwoods stay if they are longer than 6-8 inches. Exotics get saved all the way down to a couple inches. Veneers need to be a couple inches square or bigger.

When my inventory gets to be a problem, I sort and toss the border line pieces.

We went camping for the first time in 8 monhts and I had seven 5 gallon buckets of scrap. Made for great fire starter.

If I get too much scrap that is small and high quality, I am thinking about posting a box of it on e-bay for shipping cost only. Either that or find a LJ to make use of it.

-- Steve - Impatience is Expensive

View GlenGuarino's profile


166 posts in 3431 days

#13 posted 07-03-2010 04:59 AM

I to have a strong feeling of guilt whenever I have to throw away some wood. I was a shop teacher for many years so I made getting the most out of each and every board a science. I still have the same habits with my own work.

I often use the small left over material from my furniture to make mirrors. I give away some material to students and friends.

I try to keep several boxes in my shed each one holding a different wood. When I have enough in any one box I design a object to make with them.

I also cut thin scraps into uniform strips for bending or inlay.

Small scraps, I use for models , samples, wedges, plugs, loose tenons, splines, chop sticks, etc. The rest of the small scraps I burn in my fire place

Warning- cutting small pieces of wood can be very dangerous unless you take the time to build jigs to hold the work.


View tyskkvinna's profile


1310 posts in 3403 days

#14 posted 07-03-2010 05:16 AM

I do a lot of work with tiny pieces (I make dollhouses!) but even I have limits. Every once in a while I go through my scrap bin and junk what is unreasonable to keep – usually pieces that are weirdly shaped so that they become ridiculously tiny once made into anything remotely square.

btw if you decide you want to get rid of those thing strips – they are the PERFECT size for my dollhouse… would be happy to trade. ;)

-- Lis - Michigan - -

View Wolffarmer's profile


407 posts in 3655 days

#15 posted 07-03-2010 06:11 AM

Family reunion in two weeks. At that I am the “official” fireman. I run a hot dog roast. Been doing that for almost 15 years. The city kids get a real kick out of it. Along with the usual firewood, ( this is southern Idaho, pine ) I have several boxes of bits and pieces to burn. If i can get them past a cousin that is a pro wood worker. Those are just the smaller hunks. The others get moved about on the top of my 4×8 foot work bench.

-- That was not wormy wood when I started working on it.

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