What is the shortest cutoff you save?

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Forum topic by CryptKeeper posted 07-14-2010 11:33 PM 2413 views 0 times favorited 26 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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132 posts in 4235 days

07-14-2010 11:33 PM

Topic tags/keywords: cutoffs scraps

Over the past 6 to 8 weeks I have been cleaning up my shop and pulling things out of storage. Last night I was surprised when I realized that I filled a 31 gal Rubbermaid tote with pieces of wood 8 inches or less in length (the widths also varied) and there are scraps of plywood in there as well – there is no telling how old some of this is but in years gone past a lot of this would have found it’s way to my fireplace.

Anyway, now I am curious, what everyone else’s criteria is for saving cutoffs?

-- Ron - Any day that I don't learn something new is a wasted day.

26 replies so far

View richgreer's profile


4541 posts in 4359 days

#1 posted 07-14-2010 11:41 PM

My cutoffs tend to accumulate. Eventually I have a lot more cutoffs than I will ever need. At that point I start culling out the shorter cutoffs until the pile is down to a manageable size. That means that my criteria changes depending on how much I need to get rid of.

My criteria also varies by the type of wood. I only keep large pieces of pine and plywood. My criteria for domestic hardwoods is not as strict and I keep virtually every scrap of expensive exotics. They can always be used as a small accent piece.

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

View Kindlingmaker's profile


2659 posts in 4811 days

#2 posted 07-14-2010 11:46 PM

Everything can be used for something, sometime… just got to have the space and organization!
(I don’t have either but still save everything anyway.)

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

View Gregn's profile


1642 posts in 4268 days

#3 posted 07-14-2010 11:51 PM

I keep about all my cutoffs. The scrap barrels are free for the kids to use and you never know when you need a small piece for a glue block or something. But every once in a while you have to burn some of it cause it adds up fast.

-- I don't make mistakes, I have great learning lessons, Greg

View CryptKeeper's profile


132 posts in 4235 days

#4 posted 07-14-2010 11:56 PM

To this point it seems like I keep everything and every time I think about getting rid of some I end-up apologizing to a piece. If it is for nothing other than raising something off of the work bench.

-- Ron - Any day that I don't learn something new is a wasted day.

View Tim_456's profile


173 posts in 4880 days

#5 posted 07-15-2010 12:25 AM

I have two cut off piles. The first is the set of cut offs that are of significant size and/or wood quality to keep them around. The second pile is the cut offs that I know probably will never get used but I just don’t have the heart to toss ‘em. That’s the pile that the kids know they can steal from when making their own projects with their handsaws and glue.

View Sawdust2's profile


1466 posts in 5372 days

#6 posted 07-15-2010 12:37 AM

If it is as small as 2.5” I can make a pen out of it.
96 the small plywood.

-- No piece is cut too short. It was meant for a smaller project.

View tyskkvinna's profile


1310 posts in 4271 days

#7 posted 07-15-2010 01:01 AM

If it’s less than 6×12” and plywood/osb/mdf, I toss it.

If it’s hardwood, I won’t chuck it till it’s less than 1 square inch. And then sometimes it’s up to whether or not it’s “usable”. I’m a horrible example because of what I make. Miniatures use so much less wood than big things.

-- Lis - Michigan - -

View buckeyedudes's profile


155 posts in 4413 days

#8 posted 07-15-2010 03:45 AM

I don’t have any problem with accumulating any cut-offs in my workshop…....

P.S. Any one want to buy some? ; )

-- Before you louse it up, THIMK!

View eccentrictinkerer's profile


39 posts in 4313 days

#9 posted 07-15-2010 04:09 AM

Years ago, there was a tip in Popular Mechanics that suggested placing a good sized box next to your saw and throwing all your scrap into it.

When the box is full, burn it and start another box!

That being said, I keep everything! I’m overdue for a shop cleanup and hope to get rid of a bunch of stuff. The grandkids get first dibs and then it’s into the neighbor’s burn-pit. (I hope).

-- Sent from my Commodore 64

View Tim Dahn's profile

Tim Dahn

1628 posts in 4850 days

#10 posted 07-15-2010 04:11 AM

I save it all until we have a camp fire the back yard, the plywood and mdf get tossed in first. I try to save the hardwoods.

-- Good judgement comes from experience and experience comes from poor judgement.

View TheWoodsmith's profile


108 posts in 4205 days

#11 posted 07-15-2010 04:12 AM

if the piece is shorter than it is wide it hits the scrap heap for me. anything else still resembles a mini board and i cant let it go!

-- I know its around here somewhere...

View jusfine's profile


2422 posts in 4211 days

#12 posted 07-15-2010 04:22 AM

Recently gave away boxes to a neighbour woodworker, probably 3 of them 2’x2’x1.5’ with oak, walnut, cherry, maple, exotics, etc. and have some packaged up for another woodworker (just haven’t made it to the city to mail) who uses tiny pieces.

I used your ideas last time I asked, and laminated a top for one of my storage cabinets with strips of walnut, ash and oak.

Anything shorter than 10’ and less than 1” thick is generally not used in my shop, but with exotics, I also save short pieces for pens.

A millwork shop that has used some of my bigger equipment over the years throws out (burns) ash, oak and cherry often 24 or 30” long, 8” wide and 1-4” thick. That’s a waste!

I try to stop in and buy a pile for a few bucks, but usually am a day late…

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

View CryptKeeper's profile


132 posts in 4235 days

#13 posted 07-15-2010 04:25 AM

I didn’t really think about turning I have never tried my hand at it but wife has been pestering me for lathe. I think I’ll scrap most of the plywood and get her a mini-lathe and let her have some fun.

Thanks to everyone,

-- Ron - Any day that I don't learn something new is a wasted day.

View spclPatrolGroup's profile


233 posts in 4179 days

#14 posted 07-15-2010 05:18 PM

I save everything, assuming it’s not pine. Sometimes if I get bored I go out to the garage and experiment with finishes, then if it turns out well, I write on the back what I did, I have little blocks like this scattered everywhere. I refer to my scrap bin as the “box of shame” as I can dig through it and find pieces I complexly screwed up on.

View Tim_456's profile


173 posts in 4880 days

#15 posted 07-15-2010 11:02 PM

It looks like several people burn their plywood scraps. Is that something that is environmentally sound given the glues and things that are included in the plywood?

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