Strategies for Surplus

Chris Marshall photo

I have a bunch of short lumber cutoffs stored in the attic of my shed. They moved with us to our current home in Virginia from our previous place in Ohio. That was 12 years ago, and the pile in the shed hasn’t diminished by much. Why? Well, when I start a project, I’ll usually estimate what I need for total board footage, shop for it all and try not to end up with much excess. I’m not a packrat, but by the same token, I also don’t scour the cutoffs to see if what’s up there could be put to better use. I suppose it’s due to a reluctance to climb up into that dark, hot attic as well as a lack of an accurate inventory of what I have. Out of sight, out of mind, right? So, I’m wondering: what strategies do you use to make sure you are winnowing down the cutoffs you save? Is your lumber cache lean and mean, and how do you keep it that way to prevent surplus or underused “dead zones” like mine? Thanks in advance for your thoughts!

Chris Marshall, Woodworker’s Journal

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