Jason Glover

I know i should 'burn' these, but...

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I recently cut some 4/4 white oak to a uniform width and am left with a number of really long, thin strips (cutoffs), different thicknesses, say 1/4 to 3/4 wide, 6-10ft long. I can't bring myself to throw them out...

 

I could use them in my garden, as tomato stakes, surely...but...any other ideas? 

 

For some reason it feels like a crime to just let them go.

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I always save a few for stickers/spacers, and cut some into wedges/keys/splines.

 

Do you have use use for laminating them? I've actually got a project coming up where I'm just a little short on material, and am going to glue up similar types of scraps to make some panels a little bit wider.

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I'm just getting to the end of a new workbench project.  I made most of the drawers out of glue-ups of scraps.  Short cut offs sandwiched between the long thin stuff.  Some recycled stuff from the previous bench, complete with dog holes, in there too.  It's a mess of tear out when you run it through the planer with the grain direction all over the place.  If I cared it would have been drum sanded, but it's workbench drawers.  From a distance it looks pretty cool.

 

post-13721-0-12354400-1400108807_thumb.j

 

On the drawer fronts I picked out a cool piece of walnut that was "interesting".  Not figured enough to go into something really nice but too odd to be used in something plain.  After resawing I still needed another 6" or so of width so I decided to do some more scrap wood consumption, but this time make it look nice.  I pulled out every little scrap of stuff that was too nice to throw away but too small to ever get used in anything and threw it all together.

 

post-13721-0-86270900-1400108813_thumb.j

 

Not a very good picture there, it's just a screen grab from the video I was shooting.  There's a lot of pieces in there that have special meaning.  There's even some wood that my grandfather had as scraps in his basement.

 

I think it's a pretty cool look though.  I might do a coffee table like that with a stripe of scraps between two bookmatched boards.  It's just immensely time consuming to cut the scraps for it, if you want it to all look random rather than rows of blocks that are all the same width.  I've got enough leftover to do it anyway.

 

 

 

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I personally keep that kind of stuff for test cuts. Such as setting up stop blocks on the cross cut sled, and use those small pieces to see if i have it dialed in right. 

or, if you use plywood much, you could use them as a solid wood edge banding!

 

If I were you I would keep them things around.

 

~Matthew kanomata

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Also good for testing/setting Router bit profiles on the Router table, i do it about every time to check the height/profile on a scrap first.

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Edge banding for a plywood project?

 

Rog

 

+1 - A save a bunch of this stuff for exactly this reason.

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Every shop is obligated to keep way more scraps than it needs or will ever use.  You'll know when you're approaching maximum capacity when you begin asking yourself the question, "why the hell am I keeping this crap?"  And you know you've reached maximum capacity when you begin telling yourself without consideration, "you don't need this crap...throw it away."  In my early days I used to keep almost everything because I figured I'd use it for this or that.  About 95% just sat and took up space.

 

Now I've got designated buckets containing scraps of the more expensive and desirable species that I use often.  I keep most exotics, figured maples, walnut, and large scraps of cherry and QSWO.  The less expensive the lumber, the larger the scraps have to be if I'm going to keep them.  I'll keep a piece of ebony the size of a marble, but cherry or QSWO I usually just pitch unless it's a piece containing about a board foot or more.  I don't keep other species unless they're as big as a few board feet or more...hard and soft maple, red oak, flat sawn white oak, ash, poplar, etc.  I don't really work with those species much anyway, but sometimes I'll get free boards from my dealer and I'll keep them around for test cuts, jigs, etc.  After every project I'll cull out the smaller scraps and replace them with bigger scraps.  I've started boxing up exotics and figured woods and storing them in the shed.  I'll probably never use them but I can't convince myself to dispose of such expensive material.  I have no attachment to most common domestics.

 

If you're not tripping over scraps in your shop and you still have extra space to store them, store them.  But it's inevitable you'll reach a point where you'll laugh and roll your eyes at yourself that you still have them.  Maybe they'll come in handy at some point before that happens, maybe not.  Tomato stakes or a marshmallow roast are probably the most useful things you can do with a pile of oak scraps. :)

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Burn it or make stickers out of them.

If you feel compelled to keep them you could consider ripping them into thin veneers to edgeband as some people have suggested. I used to have a shop full of cutoffs like that. They kept me warm when I stoked up the patio fire on a cold autumn night last year.

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There are great suggestions. Stickers, spacers, probably the best ideas...but of course my fave response is "the more expensive the better the fire ". Actually got me out loud. I don't believe the strips would work as edge banding, since they are wavy, rough cut, and differently thick or sloped.

 

I could use the really thin ones to laminate a bow....but then i'd never finish this table...

 

 

Thanks, maybe i'll keep 2 or 3 of the best and burn the rest.

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Tomato stakes? In Texas, we use 2x4's and later in the season we brace these w/ 4x4's :D

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I will cut my thin strips down and use them as stir sticks for my finishes. I also keep a tub of hardwood scrap to use as kindling to start my camp fires.

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I will cut my thin strips down and use them as stir sticks for my finishes. I also keep a tub of hardwood scrap to use as kindling to start my camp fires.

I have used scraps like this to check how the finish will take... and to check other finishes.  Particularly if the customer tells me I'll be sleeping on the sofa if I use a particular color again.

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Off cuts stay until the project is finished, since they're invaluable for testing finishing schedules. After that, it's time for a fire.

The fact that you've started this thread by stating that you know you should burn them is a good sign. Fight the urge to look at your scrap and say "This could be..."

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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I once wove some 1/8"+ x 2" x 36" cutoffs (kind of latice style) just to see if I could. Left it hang around the shop for about a year or so to see if any ideas occurred to me. None did.

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I use offcuts for my wood burning stove. In my mind, I am still getting my money's worth - if the scraps are too small to build furniture, at least I can get some return in home heating!

I do save all scraps until the project is finished. Inevitably, I will need an extra test cut, have a small repair to do, want to test finish, make a plug, etc, etc, etc. After the project is complete, it's off to the kindling pile for anything less that about 1 bf.

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After the project is complete, it's off to the kindling pile for anything less that about 1 bf.

 

How did you decide on that particular size as the cut off point for scraps (no pun intended)?

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Follow up - i continue to collect long, narrow, sloping strips from ripping these white oak boards. (building a table, so there are a lot)

 

There are other cutoffs too, and i went through approximately 50% of them practicing with my brand new Domino. Better to learn on scrap than my project. 

 

Meanwhile, i did use a couple of pieces of the 'sloping' strips to make the table legs level (ahem, squaring issue somewhere along the way)....it's a trestle type table, so important to have the tops of the trestles level. 

 

Thanks again for all the advice. I might even get the stones to post this project to the forum...

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How did you decide on that particular size as the cut off point for scraps (no pun intended)?

Just an approximate size that I find useful for jigs, set up pieces, secondary wood, cutting boards, picture frame cleats, splines, etc.

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For my hobby shop, projects are generally small and I am ALWAYS needing a small strip of some kind of wood for an accent or something.  Vertical pieces of 4" PVC in various lengths makes good storage.  You CAN put parameters on yourself that when that tube gets full, you cull and burn.  Yesterday, I cut some mahogany and had some 'scraps' left over.  NO WAY I'd burn this...I'll find something where it will fit.  Granted the shop is a little more cluttered but I always have the piece I need AND I'm not driven/controlled/made crazy by any OCD tendencies. SAVE THE STRIPS!!....SAVE THE STRIPS!!

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