I've got an addiction and I need help

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Forum topic by Oldtool posted 08-11-2012 03:34 PM 2304 views 0 times favorited 44 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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3215 posts in 3268 days

08-11-2012 03:34 PM

Topic tags/keywords: scrap cutoffs humor

OK, I admit it, I’ve got an addiction and I know I need help. I’ve searched the LJs site for assistance and to no avail. Therefore I’m turning to you guys to see if I’m alone in this habit.
I just came from a shop cleanup, and I basically didn’t throw away any wood. I’m addicted to scraps. I can’t help myself. Every piece I look at looks to me like potential for some future project.
I have cherry pieces as small as, or smaller than a candy bar, which I see as possible future peg material. I even have 2” to 3” cutoffs from 2 X 4s that I can’t part with. My 40 gallon Tupperware garbage is full to the brim with pieces and small cutoffs. Heck, I even have small pieces of oak baseboard, in the range of 3” to 12” long, in the event I’ll someday need it.
When I realized I have two garbage cans of scrap pieces, and a pile of small boars in the corner of the shop, I realized I need help.
So I need some help, when does wood become scrap? When is enough -enough?

Please help me, I’m addicted. Thank you.

-- "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

44 replies so far

View Lee Barker's profile

Lee Barker

2172 posts in 3928 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 3565 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


1099 posts in 4644 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 3279 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 3268 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 4386 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


16292 posts in 5296 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


118162 posts in 4655 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 3279 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


9419 posts in 4510 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


2818 posts in 3961 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


20801 posts in 4753 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 4063 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 3386 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


3215 posts in 3268 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

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