Are You Scrap Savvy?

Woodworkers are no strangers to burgeoning scrap bins. What's your favorite way to thin this heard??

Woodworkers are no strangers to burgeoning scrap bins. What's your favorite way to thin this herd?

If you’re a regular eZine reader, I’m sure you’re familiar with our rather dubious but always proudly delivered “April Fool’s” edition. We staffers look forward to putting that together every year, even if some of you wish we didn’t! Last time around, I poked fun at what I’ll call our collective penchant for hoarding scraps—and I’m definitely including myself in that roast. Maybe you missed my announcement for a new support group for “stick” savers, so here’s a link:

I hate to throw those little offcuts away, just as much as you probably do. And, these days, I’ll wager my next paycheck (thankfully I’m still getting one…) that we’re all keeping a bigger pile of them around the shop than ever before. The corollary problem to keeping too many bits and pieces, however, is not using enough of them. I suffer from this one, too. My pile under the miter saw just keeps on growing.

So, here’s the question for you: How are you turning scraps into useful projects?

Lay it on me—I could sure use some creative ideas to “thin the heard,” and I can’t be the only one out there. Fill us in on the many and various ways you are getting more mileage out of your scraps. Are you turning your own chop sticks? Tell us about them. Are you taking your tidbits to new heights by embellishing with intarsia? How about fun puzzles, duck calls, jewelry boxes, and so forth? Are miniatures your thing? Give it up folks, ‘cause Christmas is just a couple calendar flips away. Maybe you can help all of us shop elves actually get ahead of the game this year…hey, miracles can happen, even in a recession!

Either I start digging deeper into the scrap bin, or I’m going to have to organize it…and that’s about the only job that would force me out of the shop on a Saturday morning.

Come on scrap wizards, speak up!

Catch you in the shop,

Chris Marshall, Field Editor

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About Chris Marshall

Chris Marshall has been writing for Woodworker's Journal as a contributing editor and field editor since 2001. Prior to that, he spent five years developing home improvement and woodworking books. He's written five of them and has served as a contributing writer on many more. A wood and tool junkie since childhood, Chris thoroughly enjoys building projects and reviewing woodworking tools for the Journal. When he's not assembling new machinery, sawing parts, taking photos or crunching text for an upcoming story, he enjoys spending time with his family and a houseful of pets at their home in rural Ohio.

8 thoughts on “Are You Scrap Savvy?

  1. My 6 year old daughter likes to use the scraps for her own projects. Of course, it normally only entails painting and nailing a few things together, but she has a blast and I figure it is building a foundation. When I have better wood, though, I look at smaller projects, or uses to add a slight flair to something larger, such as drawer pulls.

    Then again, there is the 1x5x10 walnut feather board I found in a $0.50/pound cull bin…

  2. I love to laminate my scrap wood so that I can use it for other scroll saw projects. It gives things a unique look. I’ll also shrink some patterns to a smaller size and use the scrap wood to make minatures.

  3. For scrollsawers, there is no such thing as scrap! it’s all project wood, because you can take a 1/2″ by 1/2″ x 1/2″ cube and make something of it!

  4. Drawer pulls, shims, scroll saw stock–all great ideas! Now if we could all just figure out the best way to store all of our precious scraps!

    Thanks for sharing the ideas, everyone.


  5. Wooden toys keep my scrap bin under control. These are donated to inner city kids at Christmas & best of all doesn’t clutter up the house with woodworking projects.


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